Living in Coed vs. Single-Sex Dorms

Coed dorms allow male and female students to get to know one another.
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When you apply to college, you are faced with many decisions. One of the most important decisions is what kind of housing to choose. Some universities have many options for living arrangements, such as individual or roommate living arrangements, or on- or off-campus housing. Those who choose to live on campus may also need to decide whether to live in a coed or a single-sex dorm. Both coed and single-sex dorms have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

1 Advantages of Coed Dorms

More than 90 percent of college dorms are coed. Coed dorms are the dorms of choice in many colleges and universities because of the many advantages they offer. Many students prefer coed dorms because they offer the opportunity to meet members of the opposite sex. In addition, some students prefer to live in the same dorm as a boyfriend or girlfriend or a close friend of the opposite sex. Further, some female students feel more secure having male friends live near them because they feel that it may deter potential intruders.

2 Disadvantages of Coed Dorms

Coed dorms have the reputation of being party houses. While this is not true of all coed dorms, the Catholic University of America announced in 2011 that it will begin to phase out its coed dorms because they encourage binge drinking and sex. Many students find living near the opposite sex stressful because they must take steps to be modest, such as by being fully dressed in the hallways, even when they're just going to the restroom. They may also dislike living near the opposite sex because the pressure to look good and act appropriately is on at all times rather than just when they are out among the opposite sex in public.

3 Advantages of Single-Sex Dorms

Single-sex dorms offer advantages to some students as well. For example, it's easier to limit overnight visits from the opposite sex, which is important for some students who have moral convictions against premarital sex. Some students also find it easier to form bonds and friendships with other students once the pressure to compete for the attention of the opposite sex is removed. In addition, it may be easier for some students to concentrate on their studies and to feel more relaxed without the presence of the opposite sex.

4 Disadvantages of Single-Sex Dorms

Single-sex dorms have disadvantages for many students. Many of these dorms have restrictive rules about allowing visitors of the opposite sex, for example. In addition, single-sex dorms may attract more serious students who are more focused on their studies than their social lives, which may not be a good fit for many students who are interested in being part of the whole college experience, including dating and going to parties.

Natalie Smith is a technical writing professor specializing in medical writing localization and food writing. Her work has been published in technical journals, on several prominent cooking and nutrition websites, as well as books and conference proceedings. Smith has won two international research awards for her scholarship in intercultural medical writing, and holds a PhD in technical communication and rhetoric.