At the University of California, Los Angeles, most first and second-year students live in the dorms in an area commonly referred to as “The Hill” (and yes, you must walk up a hill to get there). Unlike other schools that offer one type of dorm, UCLA offers multiple “tiers” and each one has different perks and different prices. Even within these tiers, each building is unique and offers its own benefits. UCLA housing is often difficult to understand, so if you choose to dorm your first year, look up each option, speak to some students and learn which dorm type is best for you.
Classic residence halls make up the lowest tier. One benefit is that they are the cheapest dorm UCLA has to offer, especially if you live in a triple. (Side note: The vast majority of dorms at UCLA are triples and they are significantly cheaper than doubles. It is quite difficult to get a double, so be prepared to have at least two roommates if you will live here.) Classics are known for being small and having no air conditioning or private bathrooms. However, they are also known as the most social dorms and are seen as a great way to meet people. Almost everyone in the classic dorms knows everyone else on their floor.
Not all buildings with classics are created equal, however. Sproul Hall, the closest classic building to campus, houses mostly sophomores. Dykstra is also close to campus and is often seen as the best residence hall for first-year or transfer students. Bonus: It has a great view of the ocean. Rieber Hall is also popular among students of all grades, but it is located further up the hill (although it is located near some of the best food). Hedrick Hall is the furthest up the hill and is known for being loud and fun, and mostly full of first-year students. It is fantastic for making friends, but not for studying in your lounge.
Deluxe residence halls are a step up from the classics. They are slightly more expensive, but you get the benefits of having AC and much larger rooms. Deluxes are the most popular room type at UCLA and are rarely offered to freshmen. They are known for being social but still offer a great study environment.
Sproul Cove and Sproul Landing are the closest deluxe buildings to campus. They are almost exclusive to sophomores. They are known for having a great community and being close to BPlate, the healthiest dining hall on campus. The other deluxe buildings are Holly and Gardenia, and they are farther from campus but don’t involve walking up too many stairs. Unlike Sproul, these buildings house mostly transfer students and only some sophomores.
3. Plaza — Shared Bath
The plazas are the cheapest dorm type to not be considered a true “residence hall.” In these buildings, two rooms share a shower, toilet and two sinks. Since each room typically has three students, the bathroom can tend to get busy. These rooms are large, have AC and are somewhat social, although they are less social than residence halls.
Rieber Terrace and Rieber Vista are perhaps the most popular buildings for this room type. They are further up the hill, but they are home to Rendezvous, the best Mexican food on campus. They are known for being more social than the shared plaza rooms in Sunset Village. There are also shared plaza rooms in Hedrick Summit, which is located next to Hedrick Hall. Like Hedrick Hall, Summit also houses mostly freshmen, because very few sophomores who choose their plazas want to make that hike up the hill.
4. Plaza — Private Bath
While a private bathroom sounds nice, plazas have their pros and cons. Pros: These rooms have AC, are typically close to campus and are great for studying. Cons: These dorms are not very social, tend to be smaller than rooms with shared bathrooms and you can’t use the bathroom if your roommate is showering. People generally choose plazas because they want privacy. This is nice if you have a close friend group, but not if you really want to meet people in your hall.
Most people who choose plazas choose De Neve, the closest buildings to campus. Each De Neve plaza building is named after a tree and they are named in alphabetical order, from Acacia to Fir (excluding Holly and Gardenia). They are also located near De Neve Dining Hall, home to the greasiest food on the hill. Other plazas are in Sunset Village, which is located near the mailing center on campus. Sunset Village is known for well-kept lawns and the Sunset Recreation Center.
Suites are the most expensive housing option at UCLA. While they lack AC, they do have a private living room and bathroom shared between two rooms (so typically about six people per suite). They are known for offering great privacy. Also, while you will become very close with your suitemates, you may not meet other people in your building.
While both Saxon and Hitch Suites are located far from campus, Saxon is somewhat closer and therefor is more popular with sophomores. First-year students who choose to live in suites typically live further up the hill. Both buildings are smaller than most other buildings and have fewer residents.
All of UCLA’s housing options offer their own pros and cons. If you choose to attend UCLA, do your research and know which option is right for you. Take many factors into account, especially price, distance from the hill, AC availability and community. Ultimately, your dorm experience is what you make of it. Be sure to reach out to people in your hall, make friends and have the ultimate experience at one of the greatest schools in the country.