How to Pick a Dorm at Hillsdale

Written by Katrin Surkan

Hillsdale College has eight women’s dorms and five men’s dorms. Each dorm has developed a culture that consistently creates a home for its residents across classes. Not sure how to pick a dorm? Read on about Hillsdale College’s dorms to find out!

Women’s Dorms

Olds: Olds girls are the social freshmen. If you’re looking for community and togetherness, Olds is known for its collection of all the mom-friends in one place. With only one common entrance and exit from the building, anyone in the lobby can run into everyone coming in and going out, creating a sense of familiarity with all 88 girls (80 freshmen + 8 residential assistants, or RAs) in the dorm. Olds’ kitchen has more soup pots than sauté pans.

McIntyre: McIntyre girls work hard and play hard. Most freshmen involved in sports teams find themselves here with their teammates, creating a dorm culture of hard work; athletes cram studies in between classes and practice while non-athletes find themselves with space and time to focus on their work. As a result, McIntyre girls know how to unwind and have fun whenever they can! Because it’s the largest of the women’s dorms (133 freshmen + 9 RAs), McIntyre has only recently begun growing a distinct culture and community beyond the divided groups of sports teams and the non-athlete girls. Mac girls think they don’t have the time to wash their dishes.

New Dorm: As the only freshmen/upperclassmen mixed women’s dorm, New Dorm has a spirited culture of togetherness based on the communal experience of womanhood; they are the most driven dorm. Given their relative distance from the Hill (the center block of campus with most of the classrooms and the dining hall) and their in-house coffee shop, Penny’s, New Dorm girls tend to be self-sufficient. They wash more cereal bowls than pots.

Koon: Koon’s central location appeals to efficient women who know where they want to go in life and have an affinity for movie nights and warm dorm spaces. It draws women who like to have people over that they have intentionally invited without the hubbub of the rest of campus. Koon’s residents wash more platters than plates.

Waterman: The second smallest women’s dorm, Waterman has a tight-knit community of fifteen (13 students + 2 RAs) that hold weekly afternoon teas. It’s usually filled with women focused on their studies, generally earning the highest average GPA of the women’s dorms. Waterman girls seek the warm and homey feeling of a small dorm. They wash more teacups than silverware.

Dow House: Dow, also known as Paul House, holds only a handful of girls (11 students + 2 RAs), and it tends to welcome an entire friend group that shifts peripherally every year. With its Victorian appearance and two parlors, Dow attracts the women who aspire to live in a house one day where they can welcome friends with tea while curled up under a handmade blanket. They wash more muffin tins than cups.

Mauck: Mauck welcomes introverted upperclassmen women who love studying in their beautiful Solarium and appreciate the warmth of a house-like feeling in a dorm large enough to give room for personal space. Mauck girls quietly enjoy a vintage-style residence in the center of campus without much hubbub from the Hill (the one block with most classroom and administrative buildings). Their smaller kitchen reflects the frequent invitations and home cooked meals that occur there, struggling to hold all the plates, pots, and mixing bowls that flow between the dishwasher and cupboards.

Benzing: Benzing draws the quieter women who seek to study in peace and tend to live life as though it’s a piece of classical music. The 61 residents (56 students + 5 RAs) enjoy the friendliness of the variety of girls in the dorm without feeling a pressure to closely befriend everyone. Their kitchen sink holds more plates than mixing bowls.

Men’s Dorms

The Suites: Across three long floors, the Suites boast the only independent apartment-style living on campus for groups of four students per unit (90 residents + 6 RAs). Each suite acquires its own culture, usually requested by groups of four friends who may set a different tone than the suite across the hall. These guys take advantage of their proximity to the sports complex to follow their own workout schedules in their spare time. They seek few friends beyond their own groups but have no fears of or qualms about the other sex.

Galloway: Thanks to the weekly Thursday night Feast, a celebration of youth and testosterone, the 75 Galloway guys tend to be some of the gentlest on campus who socialize by day and study hard by night. Generally, the cross country, track, and baseball teams all request this dorm for multiple years. Galloway residents either play for sports teams or hesitate to work out. They don’t have enough time to make lots of female friends but often find themselves in mixed-gender friend groups.

Simpson: Known for their dorm pride and energy, Simpson has the greatest proportion of freshmen to upperclassmen men. It accumulates a broad spectrum of guys who occasionally gather pool noodles to adventure on Simpson Raids from one hall to another. As the largest dorm (158 students + 16 RAs), Simpson’s community shifts every year as freshmen filter in and then transition to a more culture-specific dorm. They are unafraid of the other sex and tend to build the most connections.

Whitley: Niedfeldt but quieter. As the smallest men’s dorm housing only 48 students, Whitley guys tend to be nerdy. They feel no need to go out and socialize but work hard and dedicate themselves fully to their passions, which they often either find or establish early on. Though slightly scared of women, they remain thoroughly loyal to those they do befriend.

Niedfeldt: Whitley but more energetic. Niedfeldt currently houses 50 men with 5 RAs and a student house director. Though they were once known as “Nerdfelt,” they are now surprisingly social everywhere on campus. In recent years, the dorm has blossomed into a tight-knit, intellectual community of guys, unafraid to tease anyone and everyone.

We have a new residence that will be finished (and named) in time for Fall 2023! It will house 54 women with five single rooms, every room with ensuite bathrooms. The deans look forward to planning the RA team to grow this newest residence’s culture.

Students who choose their dorm every year continue their dorm’s traditions and add their own flair, bringing the culture to life for its inhabitants. Where would you want to live?

Katrin Surkan, ’25, has roots on the east coast but can almost always be found traveling. When not writing, reading, or chatting with someone new, she’s likely looking for a dog to pet or singing at the top of her lungs between classes with a cappuccino in hand.

Published in January 2023