The Truth About Living in Upperclassmen Housing

January 12, 2024
Jodie De Jesus

During the semi-chaotic, lowkey stressful process known as Room Draw that occurs towards the end of every spring semester, students (usually in groups) enter a lottery-like system to determine in what order they’ll pick their new rooms. Although first-years and sophomores are guaranteed dorms within their respective residential colleges, this is not necessarily the case for juniors and seniors. Once Princeton students approach their third year, they’re given the option to enter their residential college lottery—of which there are only a certain amount of spots allotted for juniors and seniors—and/or enter the upperclassmen lottery and live in parts of campus that are specifically designated for just upperclassmen. (Note: Most draw groups do end up entering both lotteries to see all their options!) 

Well, despite our love for our New College West home, my group was sadly unable to snag one of those junior spots in our res college draw, so we ended up drawing rooms in upperclassmen housing instead. Currently, I’m living with one of my best friends in 1901-Laughlin Hall, a dorm located in the northwest part of campus, among several buildings infamous for being not the most updated.

I’ll be honest—I was worried. I had heard the stories and rumors about living in this stretch of old buildings… cockroaches, lots of noise. Pretty much nothing you’re looking for in an ideal living space and a stark contrast to many of the air-conditioned, elevator-equipped newer dorms. But I decided to remain positive and open to all that my new dorm had to offer.  

I soon discovered that this network of dorms was not without its own charms. After living in it for nearly four months now, I can honestly say that its bad reputation is at least in part over-exaggerated. Sure, you see your decent amount of bugs and experience a fair share of noise on the weekends, but here are some pros (or at least things to take into consideration):

  1. People aren’t lying when they say the summer heat only lasts for the first two or so weeks of the fall semester. After that, the heat really wasn’t that much of a bother. Just be sure to pack a fan or two, and I’d recommend trying to go for a room on one of the lower floors to help, too.
  2. You can live with your friends from other residential colleges! One major reason that students actually choose to draw into upperclassmen dorms is because they can finally room with friends who belong to different res colleges, which isn’t possible for the first two years.  
  3. You’re much closer to Nassau Street and many of the classrooms. This is a game changer for many students, particularly those whose original res colleges were far (sorry Forbes, NCW, and Yeh). It practically cuts the walking distance in half, so you can sleep in for a little longer in the mornings instead of rushing uphill to class! (Bonus: they are also equidistant from Dillon Gym and the U-Store, both of which students tend to frequent, as well.)
  4. Speaking of comparisons to other res colleges, the architecture of these buildings is also a huge selling point. If you’re looking for that classic collegiate gothic style that Princeton is often known for, this is the place to be!
  5. Lastly, in a similar vein to #2, because it only houses juniors and seniors, you’ll be surrounded by familiar faces. We love all first-years and sophomores, but it’s nice to have a little slice of campus for just our fellow upperclassmen.

So if you do end up living in the older upperclassmen dorms, bring your fans and bug spray—but also enjoy it! The vibes in this part of campus are honestly unmatched, and you’re sure to bond with your friends and fellow upperclassmen that live there.