So you’ve committed to DePaul, now what? It’s time to decide: 1) are you living in the dorms? 2) which one? 3) with who?! It’s the topic on everyone’s mind—ROOMMATES! I am sure that you have heard both horror stories and love stories on this very topic. And I am here to advocate for going random. Going random in the age of Facebook groups ?? Who does that!? I know that it’s not very common to do this anymore and I probably sound like a dinosaur but here’s why…
Now if you are going random, you are leaving it all up to fate. You cannot blame yourself if the situation does not work out like you might do if you had chosen your “friend.” Either way, you can, of course, remedy the situation with a housing transfer if you really needed to, but I would be less willing to do this if I felt like it was partly my fault.
Now here’s something else to keep in mind, you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate! I definitely would not consider my roommate freshman year my best friend, or even a good friend really, but we still had a great room-lationship (and she helped me get a job, which I still work at four years later—thanks, Molly!). When you aren’t best friends with your roomie, it makes it easier to put yourself out there and meet a lot of new people during your first year, which is incredibly important.
So I encourage you to save your energy and don’t make a Facebook post. Instead, wait to meet people in real life and roll the dice with a random roommate!
Being from another state has pushed me to be more independent and reliant on myself. Rather than being able to call my parents to come check out an apartment I am interested in, I have to be attentive and responsible and decide for myself whether it seems like a safe place to live and a good fit. Instead of going home when I get sick or have had a hard week like some of my friends are able to do, I do not have that option. Being completely on my own has pushed me to succeed on my own without falling back on anyone else, and I am proud of the accomplishments I have achieved while living here in Chicago.
Another thing that going to school in another state has taught me is to treasure the time I have with my family and friends at home. When I fly home for Thanksgiving in a couple weeks, I will not have been home for eight whole months! Since this is the case, when I do have a few days at home I make sure that I take full advantage of them. Rather than spending any time watching Netflix in my room, I’m usually hanging out with my grandma, going on lunch dates with friends I rarely see, or catching up with my five siblings. I don’t waste a single moment because I understand how precious this time truly is.
Although it is difficult when one of my roommates meets her family downtown for dinner and I’m missing my family, or my other roommate calls her parents to bring her something she forgot at home and I crave that convenience, I do not regret my decision to go to school in another state. I would not be the person I have become if I had not pushed myself to do this, and there is truly no place I would rather be than living and learning in Chicago. My experience at DePaul is simply not something I would have been able to have at any school in Ohio where I am from.
Q: What’s the quarter system like?
A: The quarter system is fast, but I love it! It gives you a chance to take way more classes and if you don’t like a class very much, it is over in just ten weeks. But it can be difficult because midterms and finals definitely sneak up on you. As long as you are organized and proactive in completing your reading and assignments, you will do great!
Q: How do you stay on top of your academics?
A: Break up large assignments into smaller tasks, so you don’t feel totally overwhelmed. Force yourself to write drafts of essays before they are actually due. Ex. Midterm Paper is due in two weeks, but MY first draft is due in one week. Reward yourself! Ex. If I finish this chapter, I will watch a 20-minute show on Netflix (but don’t forget to return to your work!!)
Q: What are professors like? How are they different from teachers in high school?
A: Professors, in my experience, are always eager to help! But they won’t necessarily check in with you as often as high school teachers might. I recommend looking at the syllabus to see if they have listed specific office hours, so you can meet with them individually. Be proactive and seek help and professors will respect that you are trying to succeed.
Q: What happens if you are absent?
A: If you are sick and cannot make it to class, email your teacher. It is best to stay in good communication to show that you care and want to be on top of your schoolwork. Additionally, try and get a doctor’s note. You should bring your doctor’s note to Dean of Students so that you can get an excused absence.
Q: How do you meet people?
A: You can meet people in so many different ways: get involved with a club, go to DePaul sponsored events (DePaul Activities Board has tons of many events), try out group fitness classes at the Ray Meyer Center, attend DePaul sporting events, talk to people in your classes, hangout in the common areas of your dorm, eat at the Student Center, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!
Q: What’s the best part about DePaul?
A: The best part about DePaul is being in the middle of the best city in the United States! There is always something fun to do and with your Ventra pass included in the price of tuition, there’s no excuse not to explore the city.
It was my second day of freshman year. Classes had not yet begun and I ventured out of my dorm alone to attend Sunday Night Student Mass at St. Vincent DePaul Parish . I remember sitting in the pew by myself for the first time. I had always gone to church with my parents, but now it was time for me to independently live out my faith as an adult.
After mass ended, a student announced that any freshmen interested in attending a first-year student retreat should meet at the back of the church. I had attended a few retreats in high school and enjoyed them, so I decided to stay. And boy am I glad that I did! There was a small group of students gathered to learn more information and I introduced myself to one of the girls standing there.
“I’m Olivia,” I said nervously. “No way, I’m Olivia too!” she smiled. I laughed and I asked her if she was going to go on the retreat. She nodded and so we both signed up. We continued to talk as we walked out of church together, finding out that we both wanted to be high school English teachers too. A few weeks later we were reunited on the retreat and became inseparable ever since!
Flash-forward to today and we are still best friends. We lived together for two years (sophomore year in Centennial Hall and junior year in Sheffield Square ) and have more similarities than we can count. But we also have our differences and we use these to challenge each other to become even better people. The only thing better than being friends with Olivia is being able to introduce ourselves as “Olivia and Olivia” wherever we go because we are almost always together.
It’s crazy to think that I would have never met Olivia if I didn’t put myself out there in attending mass alone that second day of freshman year. Sometimes you want to do things that others you know may not want to do and in doing that you can meet new people that you have something (or in my case, almost everything) in common with. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and try new things, alone or otherwise!
It's crazy to think it's college application season already, isn't it? I cannot believe that I applied to DePaul four years ago! So much has changed, but my love for DePaul has not.
Both my mom and my oldest sister graduated from DePaul, but that does not mean that it was the school that I always thought I would be attending. To be honest, I originally imagined myself at a school much further from my hometown of La Grange, IL. However, health complications that came up during my high school career made that choice a bit unrealistic, so I applied to a few universities much closer to home: Loyola, Marquette, Michigan State, Indiana, and of course DePaul.
After that visit, I started thinking more and more about DePaul. I knew that I wanted to major in Secondary English Education and DePaul would be the perfect link to Chicago Public Schools, giving me a much more diverse experience than my own high school gave me. That is the beauty of attending a city school—you are surrounded by amazing, worldly opportunities rather than being isolated in a small college town. There is absolutely never a dull moment! Whether you are interested in art, music, sports, comedy, or food, there is something for you to do each and every day with the U-Pass at your fingertips.
After my first quarter at DePaul, I knew I made the right decision. Not only was I living in one of the best cities in the world, but I was also surrounded by people who wanted to make a difference. If you don’t already know, DePaul is a Vincentian community that prides itself on its commitment to service and social justice by asking the question: “What Must Be Done? ” This was not something that swayed me in my decision to apply because I was not fully aware of its meaning, but it certainly made me feel a lot more fulfilled when I arrived and embraced the mission of the University.
So, what must be done? Your application to DePaul University of course! You’ll never know if you don’t apply!
The entire college application process is definitely a stressful experience that brings with it a mix of different emotions. Despite the highs and lows that accompany this time in your academic career, the best piece of advice I can give to any high school senior is to forget all the doubts you have and simply apply to any and all schools that interest you.
When I was searching for colleges and universities I was easily overwhelmed with things like acceptance rates and test scores, so much so it led me to not apply to schools that I was interested in. I’ve realized that the college admission process is so much more than what your grade point average is or how well you did on one test. Instead of calculating the chances you have of getting into your dream school, skip the doubt and apply to as many schools as you can.
A major reason why I applied to DePaul was because I knew they had an incredible Public Relations/Advertising program. However, I also had to think about the possibility that I would change my major or career path sometime throughout college. DePaul offers so many different areas of study that I knew I could find something I loved even if I did end up going in a completely different direction.
Often times at DePaul you hear people saying “the city is our classroom” and the phrase could not be more true. It’s one thing to learn out of a textbook, but it’s an entirely different experience getting to test your knowledge out in the real world. The fact that DePaul is situated in one of the best cities in the world is another reason that led me to apply. Chicago offers thousands of jobs and internships across the city, and DePaul is the best resource to help students land their dream position.
I also loved the fact that DePaul is a university founded on Vincentian values, so much so that the school was named after St. Vincent de Paul himself. I was thrilled that DePaul could offer me an amazing college education, but it’s the things DePaul offers outside education that truly led me to apply here. From community service organizations to student government, Greek life, professional development and recreational sports, there is literally something for everyone here at DePaul.
DePaul has been a dream school for myself and thousands of other students across the globe. Good luck to all high school seniors with the college application process, and I encourage each of you to apply to be a blue demon!
Getting your own apartment is one of the most grown-up things that happen during your college years. I know everyone wants to grow up, get away from their parents and do things themselves, but having your own place is a lot more responsibility than I ever thought I could handle.
If you thought you missed your mom’s home cooked meals when you were in the dorms, you were very wrong. Coming home after a long day of classes and having to figure out what you want to eat is one of the most stressful things. Of course, the possibilities are endless compared to the stu food, but who has the time to make food? You’ll most likely end up popping some frozen food in the oven or make some pasta. Also, don’t forget you have to go grocery shopping about every week. Where’s the best place to buy groceries ? What groceries do you need? What won’t go bad fast? Which brand is the best? Is $2.49 too much for strawberries?
I usually don’t mind cleaning, but there is so much more to clean and so many other housekeeping things that need to be done than I thought. Dust accumulates dramatically in my apartment and sweeping and mopping have become an everyday ritual. There are always dishes to be washed and put away, bathrooms that need cleaning, and tons of laundry to be done. I finally understand how much my mom does to keep our house put together.
The good thing is that I have finally become super aware of the value of a dollar (my parents have waited 20 years for this day). Having the amount of rent in mind along with having to pay bills for utilities has made well aware of the amount of money I have to put away for necessities.
Although an apartment is an absurd amount of work, it becomes a place that you can make your (and your roommates’) own. You can add the little things that make it cozy enough for a place you and your friends can kick it. My first apartment is making me realize how fast I’m growing up and is definitely preparing me for more adult responsibilities I will have in the future.
Let’s be real, living in a dorm room isn’t the most glamorous thing any of us have done. Between the drab walls and furniture, and sharing a small space with a complete stranger, moving into the dorms can be a bit daunting. Despite the fact that it may not be the most ideal living situation, dorm life lets you meet tons of new people from all corners of DePaul. Here are some of the must-have dorm room essentials that will help you survive the year.
Seating storage: When you’re living in a dorm you need to take advantage of storage wherever you can get it. Seating storage is a great way to add another sitting area to a small dorm room while also getting a small space to store your things. This is the exact seat I had when I lived in the dorms.
Closet storage: Again, I can’t stress how important storage is. I was mildly horrified when I walked into my dorm room and saw how small the closet was. But fear not, the way you use the space is far more important. From shoe organizers to hanging shelves, closet storage will seriously save your life while you live in a dorm.
Microwavable mug: Not going to lie, this is an item everybody should have, whether you live in a dorm room or not. A big, microwave-safe mug (like this one) is seriously a genius invention. You can use it for the essential college meals, like microwave mac and cheese, but it can also be used in an attempt to actually cooking a real meal. You can make things like steamed vegetables, mug cakes, and even omelets!
Miscellaneous dorm room essentials: Throughout the year you’ll find yourself needing the most random things for your room. Among those are TONS of command hooks, velvet hangers, a mini tool kit, a first aid kit, and a Brita water filter.
Happy dorm living!
Upon moving in, I quickly realized the benefits, and drawbacks, from renting an apartment off-campus. What I like thus far is definitely having the luxury of your own bedroom. The room itself is about the size of the four-person dorm I roomed in freshman year, so to say the privacy and space is appreciated would be an understatement. The living room is the size of the entire room of the two-person apartment of Centennial I was in last year. These comparisons are not meant to downsize DePaul’s living accommodations, but more so to brag about how lucky we were to find this huge apartment. Living off-campus, you also get the sense of having more independence and less supervision - whether that supervision came in the form of checking into your building or having cameras on you wherever you go. However, where there are pros there are cons.
The first thing to note is the location. Yes, Lakeview is a very nice neighborhood and not far north, but it still does not compare to living on campus where I would leave five minutes prior to when my class starts in Lincoln Park or having the Ray and CTA trains conveniently located minutes away. Another downside is the monthly expenses you have to set up and pay for. Cable, Internet, heating, AC, electricity, water, laundry, and printers are all provided on the room and board expenses. As of now, we only have Wi-Fi in our apartment. No TV channels, pay $1.25 a load for laundry, and the electricity bill. For our place, water and heat are covered but the heat it is not controlled inside the units and is in the form of steam that comes from radiators. We also have no AC.
I realized I did not want to live at DePaul forever, and getting an apartment off-campus was ultimately the only option for me unless I commuted from home. I’m not advising as to which form of housing you should go for, but to look into the expenses for both.
Every year at DePaul my belongings seem to multiply. Freshman year everything was able to fit in my Dad’s Jeep. Moving out Senior year – let’s just say it took some strategic thinking and a few car loads. If you choose to live on campus all four years you’ll likely go from a compact residence hall room to an apartment with your own living room and kitchen. Many of the items I've accumulated such as pots and artwork I'll use into adulthood - but I had a lot of clothes that I wasn't in need of anymore. Here's a few spots near the Lincoln Park campus to donate your used items and give back to the community:
Salvation Army: 2270 N Clybourn Ave
This location is easy to get in and out of if you have a car. There’s a separate end of the parking lot to direct drop offs, making the donation process super easy. According to CNN, 82% of Salvation Army’s total donations go to aid. In addition to helping low income families gain access to clothing and home goods at a discounted price, the money these families will spend on buying your used clothes will help provide many people with jobs.
Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop: 814 W Diversey Pkwy
If you’re looking to donate to a cause that’s locally based, consider the Mt. Sinai Hospital Resale Shop. Located off the Diversey Brown Line stop this drop off is located about a block and a half from the train. According to the resale shop’s website, “100 percent of the proceeds from the Resale Shop support Sinai. In past years, the proceeds have funded laser instruments for several hospital departments; six incubators for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit; video towers for the hospital's state-of-the-art surgery department; and a Nurses' Call Unit for Sinai Children's Hospital's inpatient unit”. When dropping off your used items at this location, you’ll know that your donation is part of something greater!
Demon SWAP: On Campus!
The SWAP in Demon SWAP stands for, “surplus with a purpose”. This donation collection in each residence hall during finals week turns the Student Center into an upcycling store on June 15th. All of the proceeds go to the Vincentian Assistance Fund that assists DePaul students facing emergency situations. In summer 2015 Demon SWAP broke a new record by donating $3,155 to the fund. If you’re looking to help fellow students and see 100% of proceeds donated, Demon SWAP is your donation spot!
In light of the big and exciting new changes approaching
quickly in my life, I can’t help but reflect on the decisions I’ve made to get
to where I am. Not only has DePaul prepared me academically for my next steps,
but has also encouraged me to take ownership over my life – by renting an
apartment, engaging in my community and working in the city I feel more
prepared for post-grad life than I ever though I would! Here are a few things
I’m SO glad I did during my time at DePaul, which I may not have done otherwise
at another university.
Opened up a credit card
It seems terrifying, but opening up a
credit card was one of the best decisions I made during college. Building
credit is really important when you’re looking for an apartment, a car and sometimes
even a job! I was able to nail down my first post-college apartment without
help from my parents because of my good credit and references. Discover is
great for a student card!
Lived off campus
Living in my own apartment during college
taught me the importance of knowing how to cook, clean and get along with
people in small places. I learned how to grocery shop on a budget, compare
internet providers and slowly acquired furniture to take to my next home.
Found a church
I have never been a very religious person,
but one of my first missions when I moved to Chicago was to find a church
community. By becoming a member at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ, I made
some of my closest friends, networked with professionals in the area and built
relationships with people I can rely on. I had a supportive environment to
escape to when school was getting me down – I will miss St. Paul’s when I move
Worked A LOT of different jobs
During the last four years I worked at
Chicago’s Skydeck, a small frozen yogurt shop, a cupcake bakery, in the DePaul music admissions office, as a Chicago Quarter Mentor, as a blogger and as a
babysitter – yikes! Having all these jobs taught me a lot about working with
the public, and it’s nice to know that if teaching doesn’t work out (unlikely),
I’ve got a resume full of other things I’m good at!
Not only has DePaul given me the resources to
be a phenomenal teacher, but has also provided me with the skills necessary to
transition smoothly into adult life. (I’m realizing this now more than ever
before!) I’ve been very fortunate to learn and grow in this amazing city – I know I’ll be back sooner or later!
Congratulations accepted students! Decisions for the DePaul School of Music have finally been sent out and we all are anxiously waiting to
see who decides to join our community in the fall. Choosing a college and
enrolling is extremely exciting – but it can also be overwhelming! As an
employee of the music admissions office, I thought I’d give you few tips to ease
your transition into DePaul (plus some reasons why you should choose us!)
1. Do your research
before making a decision.
What is the mission of the college? What academic resources
will you have access to? What kinds of clubs are available? Will there be
internship opportunities? What are the perks of being a student at DePaul?
Where is the campus? What are the facilities like? What are the college’s
strengths and weaknesses? Can you study abroad?
Check out these amazing DePaul resources: The Writing Center, Career Center, Ray Meyer Fitness Center, University Counseling, DePaul Central, Financial Fitness Program, Study Abroad Program
2. Music students
only: Relax, You’re guaranteed on-campus housing!
All incoming undergraduate music students are guaranteed on-campus housing. What does
this mean? As long as you get your housing paperwork in on time, you will not be turned away or put on a
wait list. Keep in mind that you are not required to live on campus – though we
do suggest it for your first year at DePaul! Field trips, free food and new friends? who wouldn't want to live on campus.
3. Sit in on classes,
take a tour and pick a current student’s brain.
The Music School is currently offering 1:30pm info sessions and tours Monday-Friday, but we are more than happy to arrange custom visits to
show you why DePaul is the place to be! Want to see a music theory class, intro
to music education or orchestra rehearsal? How about a tour of our new and
improved practice rooms? Call or email the music admissions office to set up a
4. Join the Official
DePaul University Class of 2020 Facebook page.
You’ll be able to ask questions and get to know other
admitted students! DePaul organizations often post useful information about
housing, orientation and exciting events designed just for you. Also “like” the
DePaul School of Music page for updates about current students, construction
and fun facts!
Choosing a university can be really challenging with high
attendance costs and (potentially) leaving home for the first time. I hope that
you will consider DePaul for your next educational journey! As always, you can
contact the music admissions office with any questions or concerns – you might
even get me on the phone! DePaul is a great place to be, and I think you will
There are about a million websites with overly-detailed packing lists for living in a dorm (here
is one), but you really don’t need to bring much more than the basics (here
). Try to take the less-is-more approach so you won’t overwhelm yourself or your roommates when it comes time to move.
The following items are 10 things I wish someone would have told me to pack before moving on campus, as I ended up buying all of them at some point during the year. While you might not use them every day, I can guarantee you will need them at some point. Save yourself time and effort and be prepared from the start!
Get a small lamp to fit place on your desk. It’s a great thing to have when your roommates are sleeping and you don’t want to turn on the overhead light.
I loved having an HDMI cord to connect my laptop to my TV whenever I wanted to watch Netflix. Everyone else on my floor loved it too, because people would ask to borrow it every day. I should’ve started charging for it, actually...
There are outlets in your room already, but a surge protector is a nice way to keep yourself from tripping over cords hooked up to various outlets around the room. Speaking from experience here.
Small trash can
While DePaul is kind enough to provide every room with both a trash can and recycling bin, it’s nice to have your own to put right next to your desk.
I loved having one of these to put my coats and backpack on. An easy way to ensure that your floor is not full of various items of clothing and bags.
Hanging shoe organizer
Sure, you could scatter your shoes all over your area of the closet, or you could conveniently organize them in a shoe hanger.
A lint roller was one of the first things I purchased after moving in. Using a roll of tape to get all of the lint off of my black dress was a traumatic experience. Learn from my failure.
A sharp knife
I personally cooked a lot while living in the dorms, and there is NOTHING worse than cutting vegetables with a butter knife. A sharp knife is super handy if you’re going to cook anything - and you should cook!
This is pretty self-explanatory, but a can opener is always useful.
Basic cleaning supplies
You certainly do not need to bring every cleaning product available at the store, but Clorox wipes and Lysol are both good ideas.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list. Start with the basics, add some of these, and wait until you move in to purchase too much more. Luckily, there are dozens of different stores in Chicago that can help you find anything you might have missed or something you might need later in the year.
Packing for college is both exciting and overwhelming. Personally, figuring out what to bring was a daunting task (as I am a novice hoarder). Before entering college I knew that I really wanted to downsize by only bringing the essentials instead of cluttering my entire dorm
with tiny thrift store knickknacks. Here are some general things you should never
Your ENTIRE closet - I know you might think you’re going to need that specific blue shirt for something someday, but I promise you it will just stay on the same hanger for the entire school year. From my experience, I usually end up wearing the same outfits over again or even multiple times if it isn’t dirty because who has time for laundry? Not I. A lot of dorms do not have big closets so you heavy shoppers out there might have to make somewhat of a sacrifice. If you want to make less trips from your car to dorm room on move in day, make sure to hold off on every item in your shoe collection.
Ironing board - I can’t even remember the logic I used for bringing an ironing board to school, but it definitely was a flawed one. Nobody got time for that. If anything bring a small steamer to get the wrinkles out of your clothes or better yet just use the steam from the shower. It works, people, it really works.
Coffee maker/Hot plate - You will be an RA’s worst nightmare. Although instant coffee would be extremely convenient, it is potentially dangerous to you and everyone in the building. I got my poor coffee maker taken away the first week because I neglected to thoroughly read what DePaul suggest we leave at home.
Check out this link
if you’re curious about what is not allowed in DePaul dorms!
Freshman year I had the fortune of living in University Hall
. To this day, I’ll stay loyal to UHall. The memories I made as a result of living in the building will last a while.
My freshman housing experience was the foundation of the next three fantastic years at DePaul.
Life in UHall
was pretty active. Being surrounded by tons of other college students meant there was always something going on at home, always someone to talk to, always someone who wanted to do something with you, and yet there was always space to get away from the (good) commotion.
Life in UHall (for me) was all about building relationships. Looking back on freshman year, my main accomplishment was meeting the people that I today call my best friends. Life in UHall was about getting to know the people living around me.
Life in UHall was different than other residence halls. Sure, the culture of reach residence hall at DePaul is established by the very people that live in that hall. But, the floor plan of the hall has a lot to do with establishing that culture. The culture that I felt my freshman year was one of students who wanted to get involved and be active members of the DePaul community. Gradually through freshman year, peopling living on my floor and in the hall were getting neat opportunities that better connected them to DePaul. They were getting on campus jobs, positions in organizations, and were looking for more ways to enrich their college experience. That culture lead to today where I see the people I lived with freshman year and realize the amazing things they have done as a result of getting involved.
Life in UHall was something that I’ll never forget. I couldn’t be happier with my living experience, and I think a lot of it had to do simply with the attitude I went in with. One way to make the most of living in the halls as a freshman is about going out and meeting the people on your floor. It’s about sacrificing some privacy for that connection with other people.
I teared up a bit going through pictures for this post.
Apartment hunting can be a major drag, especially when you are on a time crunch. Unlike most of my buds that I made freshman year at DePaul, I decided that I would move straight into an apartment during the summer instead of going home. Why would I move out of Chicago when I had yet to experience the glory of lake side jogs, farmers markets
, street shows, free baseball games, and movies in the park?! The idea of going back home to suburbia was out of the question.
I’ll gladly skip ahead to the “Happily Ever After” of apartment shopping and spare you the drama. I found an apartment without having to sell a vital organ!!!! WOOPIE! By “apartment” I mean a dusty, but spacious, area with walls above a bar in Wrigleyville
. This place was a no brainer because it is only a 15 minute commute to Lincoln Park
campus and a prime area for people watching and pizza munching. We did have a mouse problem once, but that is taken care of (RIP Brian).
Rent is fairly cheap and living off campus is refreshing in the sense that it gives me some physical and mental distance from school. By not having to follow the rules that come with dorm life, I feel a stronger sense of independence and freedom. Also, the freedom of having an apartment allowed me and my roommates to buy a kitten!!
Although quiet hours are relatively nonexistent, I must say that I miss a lot of things about living in the dorms. The convenience of dorming made it easier to hang out with friends because they live a few halls down, instead of having to take the el
like I do now. I also miss being able to do my laundry in the same building. Now, because it is winter, I have to trek down the ice covered stairs to get to the basement of the building next door to throw my clothes in a washer that works half the time. I’M NOT BITTER. Now that I am not on campus anymore, I am not nearly as motivated to go to the gym. I tried doing an at home workout once though (I’m lying).
All in all, both dorm life and apartment living are all things to adjust to. Elements like grocery shopping, remembering to pay rent and utilities, cleaning the entire apartment are all new variables that I have to fit into my life. Am I an adult yet? I’ll keep you updated on my progress.
DePaul has tons of options for any student that may be considering living on
campus. Though a commuter, I have made many friends by visiting dorms of people
I knew. I’ve been to Belden, Seton, Clifton, Munroe, U-Hall, and University Center
. It has become kind of a game for my friends and I to try to get me into
all the residence at least once before I graduate.
Aside from the friends, both
the loop campus and Lincoln Park offer a variety of scenery and activities off
campus. From the movie theater on Webster
to the variety of restaurants on Halsted
and Lincoln DePaul students can get a great experience no matter what time it
Conveniently located by the Red
and Brown line
, students can travel throughout
the city with ease. Chicago provides a great learning experience for students
outside of the classroom and I would highly recommend anyone considering living
on campus to do it.
I only lived in the residence halls
my freshman year. Of the many things that I remember from my experience, many of them happened in the common areas of the residence hall I lived in.
In all of the residence halls there is at least one kitchen
, with many of them having kitchens on each floor. Even if you are not a fantastic cook, it is really fun to cook or even hang out with people that are cooking. My friends and I tried many times to start traditions such as having pancakes every Sunday in the kitchen, etc. Also, almost every week, we would make cookies and share them with the rest of the residents, who were consistently going in and out of the common area.
There also is a leisure area in each residence hall. The resident advisors
usually post up here during the week and on weekends, having events for the residents. It is also very lively on weekend nights, as people hang out or meet up to watch sports and movies.
The study rooms in the residence halls are also great places to meet people and study. I found the study lounges to be great because there was usually a good amount of people that had similar classes to you so you could work together when you were studying for exams. The residence halls also have printers so you can print your homework without having to break your buck on ink.
My residence hall was a traditional residence hall. This means that instead of having private bathrooms, there is only one male and one female bathroom per floor. The way they are set up is that one third of the bathroom is solely sinks. Almost every single night my friends and I would spend an excessive amount of time (sometimes over an hour) sitting in the sink area talking and waiting for people to swoop in. It really was a social time. I think I brushed my teeth better that year than any other time in my life.
Living in a community such as a residence hall is something that you will probably only experience once in your life. I recommend every student to do it once. It is well worth it and you will meet friends you will have for a lifetime.
For most likely the first time in your life, it’s time to decide where you personally want to live. Daunting? Yes. Exciting? Of course. Expensive? Sadly, yes.
I had no idea where I wanted to room my freshman year at DePaul. It’s hard to know what the dorms actually look like from raw floor plans and some dimensions. Based on a recommendation from my advisor, I ended up living on the Honors Floor in Seton Hall
. Living on the Honors Floor was one of the best decisions I made my freshman year. If you’ve been accepted into the Honors Program
and are considering rooming on the floor, I would highly recommend it.
As an honors student, your classes are capped at around 20 students. You will most likely get to know your classmates very well throughout your 10 weeks in class. Because of this, it is really nice to be just around the corner from classmates for homework advice. It’s easy to collaborate on projects and be in the loop about Honors Program events.
If you’re not in the Honors Program, I would still recommend Seton Hall. Seton has the biggest rooms and the biggest closets. Last year, I didn’t have to worry about what shoes to bring or what clothes to pack; I had the luxury of being able to bring my entire closet.
My walk in closet at Seton Hall was so large, that I would often use the space to talk on the phone. It was a dream come true. I hope that someday in my life when I’m a working professional I will have a closet like I did my freshman year of college. I never thought I’d type that sentence when I was in high school.
Additionally, having high ceilings really opens up the rooms in Seton as well. I could stand up on my lofted bed and still not be able to reach the ceiling to give you an idea of how tall my room was.
If this is your second year at DePaul, I would highly recommend that you go on the apartment search. It can save you a few thousand dollars by not living in the dorms. Grab a few close friends you can see yourself living with, and hit up websites such as Craigslist, Padmapper, and Domu. It’s important to be wary of false advertisements and always make sure to see the space in person before signing any documents or giving money. I found my current apartment via Craigslist. While this may seem super sketchy, if you’re safe and smart, there are definitely some good spaces on Craigslist.
My number one tip for apartment hunters is to respond quickly and act fast. Apartments go really fast in the city, especially around this time of year. Being on top of new postings and listings will only work to your advantage.
Living on your own in an apartment with your name on the lease teaches you a lot about living in the real world. While apartment life has been no means been a perfect experience (i.e. water heater/fireplace leaks, broken washing machines, pipes freezing, and loud neighbors), it’s been completely rewarding.
Good luck as you search for a place to squat for the next year of your life. Remember it’s not about where you are, but what you make of it!
When I officially decided I was going to attend DePaul, I knew that I needed to figure out where I was going to live. I wanted to live on campus because I grew up pretty far away in Ohio. My knowledge of Chicago and the amount of people I knew coming into DePaul were both slim, so I wanted to live in a dorm because I knew it would help me make friends and help my adjustment to DePaul be the best it could be.
When I had visited DePaul, they did not show all the dorm buildings. The housing website
online was really helpful when I was ranking my housing choices because it showed pictures, dimensions, and features of all the dorm halls. I ended up being placed in Munroe Hall. That was the dorm hall that we slept in during orientation, so I was happy that I was already a little familiar with the layout. Plus, it did not have community bathrooms
, which I knew I did not want.
Move-in day was a little overwhelming but I loved being able to decorate my room, meet my roommate and suitemates, and get to know other people on my floor. The dorm rooms in Munroe
are situated around the outside of each floor in a rectangle with the elevators in the middle, so it was easy to become familiar with everyone who lived on the floor.
I loved living in Munroe my freshman year. I made a lot of friends that I know I will be friends with for a long time. The dorm hall was pretty close to all the buildings on campus so I never felt isolated, and the rooms and bathrooms were fairly spacious.
I recommend living on-campus during freshman year because it is so easy to meet a lot of great people and establish a community setting. I love my apartment now, but I still sometimes miss the comradery that existed on my floor last year. My residence hall experience my freshman year was a great one and helped make that year memorable.
When I was registering for housing the summer prior to moving to Chicago and starting my illustrious tenure here at DePaul, I had no idea what I was doing. I had done no research about any of the residence halls other than figuring out the cost of each and the general bathroom situation. With that minimal prep in mind, I slotted in University Hall
as my first choice. It seemed centrally located and had suite-style rooms, so I went for it. I was lucky enough to be placed there and I’m very happy I was.
I cannot overstate how much I dug having to share my bathroom with only three other people. I’ve probably thought about this too much, but I think that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their bathroom. How much time they spend in their can be indicative of the quality of their personal hygiene, and how often they clean it can tell you if they’re a conscientious person or not. These are important things to know when you’re first moving in with someone you’ve never lived with before. My biggest piece of advice to all of you moving into residence halls anywhere, and this may seem like a no-brainer to many, is to figure out how clean you’re going to keep that room. It may seem awkward to try to have that conversation right off the bat but if you’re able to have that conversation about how often (and in what manner) you want to clean the room, it’ll save you the headache of getting into an argument about it later on.
The other thing to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to be best friends with your roommate. In some cases, it’s even better if you’re not. It’s more about your living styles being compatible. Over the past several years of living in the residence halls and in various apartments, I’ve discovered that some of my best friends work well with me as a roommate and others don’t. Doesn’t mean you can’t be friends; you just know you have different ideas about what a clean saucepan is. You’ll figure out what your ideal roommate is. It’s all about trial and error.
I have very fond memories of living in University Hall. Looking back now, I encourage you to enjoy the convenience of having all of your friends right at your fingertips. Hanging out with people gets a little more difficult once you all live several stops away from each other on the CTA
so take advantage of being able to crash in each others’ rooms at all hours. It’s the best. UHall for life!
Tyler’s Hot Track of the Week:
This week’s hot track comes from Eels. His album Hombre Lobo: 12 Songs of Desire is rad to say the least. Give it a good, hard listen. Enclosed is one of my preferred tracks from that joint.
Before college there were a few things that came to my mind when I pictured my future school: big lecture halls with nice desks, nature and beautiful architecture around the campus, decent cafeteria food, and a really nice freshman dorm. Except for being in a big lecture hall (yeah...the biggest music academic class I was in probably had 25 people!), all my other wishes for a school came true. Living in a nice dorm my freshman year and a great on-campus townhome my sophomore year definitely had a very positive effect on my overall college experience.
Something I love about DePaul campus housing
is its amount of options. Although on-campus housing is not guaranteed, especially to students after their freshman year, there are plenty of selections from which to choose. When I made the decision to attend DePaul, I immediately started researching the dorm options that I could apply for. I knew that I wanted to live in a newer dorm that was close to the School of Music
and in the center of the campus. I knew that I did not want to live in a dorm with communal bathrooms, and I did not want to share a room with more than one other person. I went through the search and was placed in University Hall.
For those who don’t know what University Hall
is like (affectionately deemed “U-Hall”, which can create confusion due to the U-Haul storage building being a block away!), let me paint a picture for you: sitting in the center of the campus and separated from the DePaul Richardson Library by the “Quad”, U-Hall is four floors of greatness. Each floor has the same layout, with rooms nestled in pairs and a bathroom shared between the four people in those rooms. The bedrooms are spacious with a modern feel. I was particularly lucky to live on the top floor in a corner room, so I had twice the amount of windows to let the sunshine through when I woke up!
My roommate and I each had a bed, desk, chair, bookshelf, and closet, and we shared an end table. Our bathroom had a very large shower and a separate room for the toilet with two sinks in between the shower and the water closet. My dorm was very quiet and was kept pretty clean. I spent multiple times in our dorm study lounge on our floor when I needed space to study. U-Hall had plenty of laundry machines in the basement and a tv/entertainment room with a keyboard (which I definitely used to practice for my group piano class!) and a handful of computers. It was a great dorm. I spent some Spring nights in the Quad
right outside my dorm, laying in the grass. I could then simply get up and walk a few feet back to the dorm lobby. I also loved the location of my dorm in relation to the rest of the campus: it was a 10-minute walk to the School of Music and a 3-minute walk to the Student Center (where our cafeteria and mail room is).
By the time I began to think about sophomore year, I knew that I wanted to have a different environment with a little more freedom. I didn’t want to make the big move to living off-campus, but I wanted to feel slightly closer to adulthood than I had been before. Because of this, I chose to live in Sanctuary Townhomes
with 4 of my other music major friends. We were placed with two other girls, totaling 7 of us in one townhome. Although there were so many of us, I felt like I really only had a couple roommates because we had three entire floors to ourselves. Our townhome overlooked a lovely, small quad with picnic benches and trees that Sanctuary residents often enjoyed. Upon entering our townhome, there was a door that led to our family/living room, which was extremely spacious. We had two couches in there, a sofa chair, two bookshelves, and a dining table. Beyond that room was our kitchen, which contained two refrigerators, another dining table, a dishwasher, sink, microwave, and plenty of counter space and drawers.
The second floor had two double bedrooms and two full bathrooms and a laundry room for all of us to use. And the third floor- my home- had a single bedroom and a double bedroom with one full bathroom for those three residents to share. I had the single bedroom, which was pretty tiny, but I decorated it and cherished it so incredibly much! It was the first time in my life that I had had a room to myself, and I have now discovered that once you go for a single room, you can’t go back. On top of the 7 of us having our own laundry, and plenty of furniture and space, my two roommates and I on the top floor had the most amazing bath tub. And I am not even exaggerating- this tub was huge, with counter space surrounding it. Such a beautiful creation! We also had a shower and closet in our bathroom, and the whole bathroom had a wonderful tile in it. I really loved that townhome!
The only thing that I disliked about living in the dorms was having to swipe my DePaul ID to “check in” every time I came in or had guests. However, I understand that it is for students’ safety, which I know is very important for college students in such a big city. Even with that understandable and small hassle, I had an extremely positive experience living on DePaul’s campus both of my lowerclassmen years. After sophomore year, I felt ready to move off campus, and taking that “big leap” wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. I even found a house that is still practically on campus, so that helped a lot!
Year two already?! Seriously, where did the time go? Now that I’m a big, bad sophomore, I’ve got A LOT more on my plate this year. Despite the stress and the difficulty of finding time to sleep, I wouldn’t want it any other way!
Well I’ll probably spend my next few blog posts shamelessly plugging various DePaul student groups, I think it’s important to give a shout out to all the high schoolers out there! Whether you’re itching to get out of high school or you’re already feeling nostalgic, remember to take a few moments of the year to appreciate where you’re at.
A lot of things in high school prepared me for life in college, and I think it’s important to not take this time of your life for granted. I mean, your textbooks are free...I didn’t understand how beautiful this concept was until it was too late. Cherish your free textbooks, hold them close at night.
That being said, college is of course, quite awesome. This year I have embarked on a new journey: independent living. And man, is it an interesting one. I’m currently living off the Belmont Red Line stop on the edge of Lakeview and Wriglyville with my two roommates (S/O to Emily and Marcus!)
With a monthly rent payment and bills with my name on it, I think it’s safe to say that I am officially living the life of a poor college student. Although I’ve eaten my fair share of Ramen in the past month, I do have to say that my new status doesn’t upset me. I think that being a poor college student is a right of passage as a young adult. And being able to say that I am renting my own apartment in Chicago makes every night of Ramen worth it.
Independent living forces you to learn a lot of life lessons in a short period of time. But for the life lessons you need advice on, it’s great to call up the parental units. I’ve called my parents at any odd hour to ask them any questions regarding: when mushrooms go bad, what temperature is appropriate to turn the heat on, advice for heckling a landlord, how to get rid of bacon grease, thawing meat in a jiff, ya know, typical subjects that parents have a wealth of knowledge on.
I’m sure I’ll have some great blogs about independent living this upcoming year. Be sure to stay tuned for the mishaps, successes, laughs, and more life lessons! I can guarantee you that there will be all of the above.
We posted 10 tips to help you prepare for life at DePaul. Here are 10 more to quench your thirst for DePaul knowledge.
2. Curious about what awaits you at DePaul? Take a break from getting ready and explore #IAmDePaul
on Instagram. Soon you'll be having experiences just like these students.
3. Put (773) 325-7233 in your phone. That's how you call public safety escorts and, during mid-terms and finals, the Vinnie Van
! This off-campus shuttle that helps you get home safely after a long night in the library.
5. Make your space your own. Check out these decorating ideas
for your residence hall room, apartment or bedroom back home.
6. Meet "Vinnie."
Do you know more than these students about our patron saint?
9. Win DePaul swag. Visit the bookstore
on either campus on Monday, September 8 between 6-8 p.m. for refreshments, discounts, personal help with your textbooks, and a chance to win prizes.
10. Pick up your U-Pass from ID Services
. The U-Pass gives you unlimited rides on CTA buses and the "L" train during the academic term—which means unlimited access to everything Chicago has to offer.
You’re officially ready to start fall quarter at DePaul. But if you have a question once you get to campus, be sure to visit the Welcome Tables in Lincoln Park or the Loop. You also can follow @DPUWelcomeWeek
on Twitter to keep up to date on all the goings-on around campus. And don’t forget, you can find all these tips and more by following DePaul University
See you on campus!
Countdown to Classes: 10 Tips to Get You Ready for DePaul
Summer may be coming to an end, but that means new adventures at DePaul are right around the corner. There’s a lot to learn, so to get you started, we’ve compiled 10 tips to help you prepare for life in college, life as a Blue Demon and life in Chicago.
- At DePaul, DIBS doesn’t mean “I saw it first.” Get to know your DePaul mascot, and get ready for some furry high fives.
- Stay in touch with New Student and Family Engagement (NSFE). They have lots of programs and tips to help you (and your family) get acclimated! Follow them on Twitter at @DePaulNSFE.
- Download iDePaul. iDePaul keeps your course schedule, maps, library info, campus events and more in the palm of your hand. It's available for iPhone, Android, and yes, even Blackberry.
- Fall in love with Chicago. Start by checking out these 25 Chicago sights and attractions.
- Reserve your Blue Demon tickets. DePaul sporting events are FREE to you as a student. Make sure you get good seats!
- Know where to find your morning cup of joe. And if it needs to be a latte and a blue-and-red frosted donut, go to Brownstones! Follow the cyber café in the Lincoln Park Student Center on Twitter at @DePaul_bstones.
- If you'll be living on campus, leave your lava lamp at home. Do you know what you should bring? Find everything you need to know on the Fall Move-In page of Housing Services' website.
- Learn from other students. For instance, Zoe Krey has some great tips to help you get ready for DePaul. Is she right about your parents?
- Organize your finances: Bank account, checkbook, credit or debit card, budget and calendar of payment due dates. If you don't already have a bank, check out DePaul's on-campus banking partner, PNC. They have a mobile app called Student Wallet designed for you!
- The cow didn't do it. Read the real history of the Great Chicago Fire (not to be confused with Chicago's awesome soccer team).
Learn more great tips and see what others have to say by following DePaul University
on Facebook, where we’re counting down to class with these tips and more for the next 20 days. And if you want to see even more from DePaul, you can check out #IAmDePaul
on Instagram, where our students document their lives on campus and in Chicago.
As you soak in the rays and enjoy your last summer before the beginning of your new life, your parents may or may not start to nag you about finding out what books you need. Or perhaps who your roommate is. And also the date you should move in. And if you need to increase your meal plan. And if you should get the towel hook with three hooks or four. And how many picture frames should you buy. And do you want to bring that chair in the basement that no one uses…you get the point.
While the summer before college can be very fun and somewhat nostalgic, there are some things to plan out before coming to DePaul in the fall!
Roommate decisions are mailed out with plenty of time to contact your roommate and make the necessary living arrangements. Pretty standard questions to ask are questions like:
- What appliances should we bring? (I.e. fridge, microwave, etc.)
- Shall we have a futon or chairs to accommodate our guests
- The carpets are very bland so do we want a rug?
- Should we color coordinate or just let fate decide?
Don’t worry about setting room rules with your future roomie or anything like that. RAs take care of all that fun stuff the week you move in. Getting to know your roommate through casual conversation before you move in can also be helpful in making your first encounter a little less awkward. My roommate and I met before we moved in and planned everything out so moving in was a cinch! I’m going to miss her this summer!
As for getting books and scheduling your classes, tell your parents that this cannot be done until orientation. At orientation this summer, you will play thousands of ice breakers. Regardless of the activity at orientation, you will more importantly register for classes. The earlier your summer orientation the better; classes fill up on a first come, first serve basis. If your orientation is later in the summer, don’t panic however! You have so many options your first quarter at DePaul that there isn’t even a chance that you won’t get some classes that you want.
When school is a few weeks in the distant future, normally professors will e-mail you a syllabus or a quick introduction to the class and themselves. On the syllabus the necessary books will be listed. I like to buy my books before class starts just so I don’t have to worry about the bookstore running out or shipping nightmares, but that’s just kind of a personal preference type thing. Make sure that your campus connect e-mail is up to date in order to receive this very important information!!!
Overall, just enjoy your summer! Odds are your parents are worried more than you are. Or, if they are like my parents, they will not acknowledge the fact that you are moving out because of the denial they feel. Regardless, just realize that everything will work out in the end! Be patient and figure everything out as it comes up!
Living in the dorms definitely has its perks. The residence halls put together events for the students and they usually include free food so you cant go wrong with that. Some friends and I decided to join in and go see The Wizard of Oz on Broadway. BUT FIRST, my amazing residence director, Tracy, got us all Chipotle. After becoming uncomfortably full, the University Hall gang went over to the Cadillac Palace to visit Dorothy and Toto. We had prime seats in the balcony.
m trying to tell you guys is that living in the dorms provides students with opportunities others will not receive. There will constantly be posters and signs throughout the buildings alerting students of upcoming (and mostly free) events. The RAs do an amazing job of trying to make everybody feel a part of the DePaul community. I think living in a dorm is just a part of the typical college experience. Although DePaul is considered a commuter school, it is safe to say that I am very happy that I chose living in the dorms my freshman year. I have met the best group of people and even my future roommates. Although some of the safety procedures (like checking in guests) might seem tedious after a while, it is all done to protect you and make you feel safe in your temporary home.
If you decide to live in the dorms as a freshman try to soak up all the events and opportunities while they last. College is supposed to be the best 4+ years of our lives, so take every opportunity DePaul provides and go beyond your comfort zone.
Last weekend I had the privilege of going to see The Wizard of Oz on Broadway with my residence hall FOR FREE! I am the champion at taking advantage of free events. Generally, the residence halls will host a few events per quarter for residents to go to. In the past we have had opportunities to grab tickets to free events such as Broadway tickets to the musical Chicago, Chicago Bulls tickets, an outing to an apple orchard, and we just had an opportunity to get Cubs vs. Sox tickets last week (Shout out to our Residence Director Amanda for arranging these awesome events! Seton Hall is the bomb).
These events are always fun because normally my whole floor participates, and the Wizard of Oz was no exception. In my opinion, the play was geared towards families with young kids rather than college students (no surprise there) but I definitely am one to enjoy the corniness of family humor. Our seats were pretty much nosebleed status seats and I think I need glasses so I definitely couldn't see any distinct features, but the play overall was pretty good.
A lot of crazy technology and screens were used and I thought the tornado scene in the beginning was pretty awesome. A video of twirling madness and farm junk swirled through the air as a smoke machine helped to also set the mood. The best part of the play was Toto!!!! Played by a real life dog named Nigel, the dog was so obedient throughout the whole play and ran on command and jumped on command and possible even barked on command (that might have been pre recorded but it's Broadway so I'll assume no.) Nigel is so famous and he doesn't even know it. That dog is going places just you wait.
The Wizard of Oz was shown at the Cadillac Palace right off of the Lake Red Line stop. About an 18-minute trip away from campus! I've been to this theatre before and it's so beautiful inside. With chandeliers and ornate walls, Palace is the perfect word for its name. Additionally, the Cadillac Palace is across the street from the best restaurant in the world called Petterinos. Although I didnt get a change to grab a nice (not to mention expensive) dinner there, if you're ever in the city and want dinner and a show, Petterinos and then the Cadillac Palace is the route to go. Overall, I'm so glad I got the opportunity to go to the Wizard of Oz and cant wait for our next great Seton outing!
I hope finals and your last days of school are going well! Especially for those seniors! It'
s crazy how much will happen during this next year, but always remember to enjoy the moment and every once in a while to think back to where your journey began : )
Looking for apartments makes you really feel like an adult. You have a budget. There are contracts, tons of paperwork, research, negotiations, and credit reports. It feels like you are being thrown into a Financial Fitness Course with people that have already taken the course before. It is a lot of work and can be difficult at times but worth it in the end. The relief you get when you sign the contract and get the acceptance is an awesome feeling.
My guardian savior for apartment hunting is an app/website called Zillow. With this website, you can search nearly every apartment in the city, filtering your results to fit your criteria. It consolidates almost every listing, from Craigslist to private realtors.
My sophomore and junior year I lived off campus, even though I would hardly consider either apartment off campus. Both times I lived less than two blocks from campus in Lincoln Park. For students that live on campus their freshman year, I would recommend living in the Lincoln Park area to get accustomed to living off campus, while still staying involved in extracurricular activities on campus.
As my senior year is coming quickly, I have decided to move to an area outside of Lincoln Park. This is the time when leases begin to become available and agents begin showing apartments. I am looking at Lakeview, Uptown, and Wrigleyville. Wherever I end up, I am sure that it will be a place that I will grow to love!
I'd like to think that I have a somewhat objective take on a few of the (mostly) freshman residence halls. I'll go ahead and say that I did live in U-Hall my freshman year and I'd go back to living in U-Hall 313 any day if I could, I still see value in the other freshman residence halls on campus. For the past two years I've been a Facilities Assistant for Housing Services for the West Side of campus. This has allowed me to spend a good amount of time in Cliffton-Fullerton, Belden-Racine, Munroe, and U-Hall. I also spent a good amount of time in Seton my freshman year because my closest friends lived in Seton.
It's no lie that each hall has a unique character, and the feel of each hall changes every year with a new group of residents. What I'm trying to say is that the people you live with make all the difference. All of the freshman residence halls on campus have pretty much the same amenities, and really who needs super nice amenities as a freshman in college. It's fun to have a time in your life where personal space is somewhat limited and you have the chance to live around so many other people. My favorite part of living on campus was coming home to a building where I knew without a doubt that something fun was going on.
Here's a little thought about each resident hall that I can talk about confidently:
Munroe: The rooms are pretty close together which is awesome because people are social and I always see a lot of people in the lounges. If you're down to sacrifice some personal space for a really great experience I'd say go for it. The 6th floor (east side) has crazy cool views of the city. I highly doubt you can request that though.
U-Hall: Like I said, without a doubt, U-Hall is the place to be. Each floor is somewhat separated in to a north and south wing, with about 20 rooms on both side (2 people per room). The bathrooms are nice (you share with three ther people), as long as you don't mind cleaning your own bathroom. You'll have to clean your own bathroom unless you live in Seton or Corcoran. Cleaning the bathroom sucked so much that we just didn't do it.
Cliffton: It's one of the newer halls, and it's a little more spacious. It's got some of the best study lounges and views of the city. I've probably spent the least time in Cliffon so I don't have a ton of advice about Cliffton. I will say that when I've seen the largest TVs of any halls (the TVs that residents bring) in Cliffton.
Belden- Racine: It's really close to the new theater school, which means there are a good amount of theater students living there. So yeah. But really, my freshman year crush lived in Belden and she had a real cozy space. Maybe it was her decoration, but it was nice. Also, she had a really nice big desk. Bigger than the desks in U-Hall for sure. Cliffton has nice big desks too, again because it's one of the newer halls.
Seton: Anyone that has ever lived in Seton will probably tell you it's the best hall on campus, but so will anyone who has ever lived in U-Hall. Seriously thought Seton is cool. It's one of the closest freshman halls to the "L" (so is Corcoran). It's also about to be right across from a Whole Foods (in 2015). Seton is community style which means it's somewhat more social than some of the suite style halls. My good friends that lived in Seton freshman year spent on average one hour every night in the bathrooms brushing their teeth and such. It's a cool place to be. Also the ceiling are the tallest you will get as a freshman and the closet space takes the #1 on campus.
I had some of the greatest moments of college in the residence halls. So, whether you get in to your first choice hall or not, I hope you'll realize that it doesn't matter all that much. What matters is that you explore the hall outside of your room and get to know the people you live with. Get to know them real well because they might end up being some of your best college friends.