Community colleges should have dorms


Harper College should consider implementing dorms. (Photo by Khushi Gandhi.)

I moved to the U.S from India in March 2020 during the peak of the pandemic. It was a whole new experience for me, and my world felt like it was turning upside down. I was scared of coming into a different country that I knew nothing about. But being a social butterfly, I was also thrilled by the fact that I would get to meet a lot of new people. 

I was excited because I was going to start my senior year of high school in a new country. But alas, the pandemic had other plans for me. In-person school was shifted to zoom classes, and all I was able to see were black screens. 

I motivated myself by staying connected with my friends in India, and the feeling of loneliness somehow passed by me. However, I would say it was one of the most difficult transitions of my life, which I’m still trying to figure out. 

Senior year sped by, and it was soon time to apply to universities. Unfortunately, I wasn’t accepted in the universities I had applied to due to a low credit score that didn’t match up with the credit system in the U.S. Hence, I ended up attending Harper College.

I was excited to join college, as I was expecting to meet new people and finally make some friends. But I soon realized that being in a community college is different than being in a university.

Students come to community college just to take their classes and go back home. Even if they have time, they prefer studying in their comfortable bed instead of studying at the college library. 

Meanwhile, some other friends of mine who came to the U.S as international students had made a bunch of friends at their universities. I was surprised, and when I asked them the reason, I was told, “We live in dorms, so we just talk with other students staying with us, and our group expands that way.”

This was the moment when I wished I went to a university, or better yet, I wished community colleges provided dorms, so students can meet and get involved with each other, more than they do as commuters.  

Harper College should consider providing dorm facilities, as this would play a major role in getting students connected with each other and the campus community.

Having dorms in a community college would encourage students to talk with each other more, give them a sense of belonging and boost their confidence. It would also help many international students who have nowhere to live and have to figure out their accommodations all by themselves in a new country. 

If community colleges implement dorm facilities, international students would feel more comfortable and secure. They already have to juggle finding their place on campus, adapting to a new culture and handling their homesick feelings, among other stressors. 

They do not need one more thing to worry about, which is also one of the most important things for them: housing facilities! 

Providing housing facilities is not only beneficial for the students, but also for the colleges as they would get a greater diversity to the student body and the overall revenue of the college would increase. Dorms would also provide a richer and fuller experience to the students, which would lead to an increase in enrollment. 

Another positive of having dorms in community colleges would be that students transferring to a four-year university would get an opportunity to experience the dorm system. Sometimes, students might feel lonely and different when they transfer to a four-year university because they lack the experience of living in dorms, and it might take them more time to adjust to the new environment.

However, if the students are already familiar with the dorm experience, their transition to living in dorms at a different school would be easier. The feeling of living on campus without being dependent on anyone like your friends and family is also an important factor that the students should experience. 

Additionally, many students would appreciate campus housing because it would minimize their commute time and allow them to have a more flexible schedule. 

Housing facilities at community colleges have their share of challenges — they require more food options or extended hours of cafeterias, as well as an increase in security. 

But it is really necessary for students to get an experience of living in dorms and have a sense of community. All community colleges should start considering the thought of having housing facilities on campus or near the campus.