On-Campus Housing and Dorm Rules

Find out the regulations to university-owned housing, including rules on pets, visitors, smoking, alcohol and quiet hours.

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Living on campus can be a great way to make new friends and learn to be on your own. But with freedom comes responsibility, including following the housing rules and regulations laid out by the university.

First-year dorm life comes with the convenience of not having to make monthly rent payments or having to forage for food. You bond with students going through the same experiences as you.

Common dorm rules at university include policies on alcohol, pets, roommates and other topics.

To maximize your college experience, it would be very beneficial to have an understanding of the university policies on everything from pets to parties.

General Dorm Rules

Common dorm rules at university include policies on alcohol, pets, roommates and other topics.

When it comes to alcohol, first, only students of legal drinking age can drink. Alcohol is usually banned in any public space. The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) defines public spaces very specifically, going so far as to say they include any room with an open door. Make sure you consume alcoholic beverages according to the rules of your campus.

Additionally, many dorms and on-campus housing halls are alcohol-free. Whether the college has a dry campus or the dorms are substance-free, you need to understand the alcohol policies fully to avoid any disciplinary action.

Fire hazards like candles, incense, and cigarettes are all no-no's in the dorms. Some dorms still allow smoking in certain areas or on certain floors, but they are becoming rare as state regulations clamp down on smoking.

Although the majority of colleges don't allow pets of any kind, a few of them do. California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA for example, allows cats, but not dogs or rabbits.

University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana students can keep "companion animals" such as dogs, cats and rabbits, as well as fish. Before packing Fido in his travel carrier, be sure to check with your college's pet policy to make sure your furry friend is truly welcome.

Special Housing Rules

In addition to the basic guidelines, some universities may have special housing rules for different cases.

Substance-free dorms or floors are exclusively for students who do not drink or do drugs. Additionally, students who have been drinking or taking drugs are not allowed in substance-free areas.

Other special housing may be set aside for students with disabilities, honors students or international students. Students with a common backgrounds or majors might also have their own housing.

Enforcing the Dorm Rules

The rules are strictly enforced at colleges and universities, especially ones that have problems with partying students. From RAs write-ups to random inspections, the university has the final say when it comes to housing rules and the consequences can range from a slap on the wrist to expulsion.

Know your dorm’s rules and policies and you’ll have a great freshman year.

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