How To Get A Single Dorm Room In College — Because Sometimes You Just Need Your Space

I always lived off-campus during my college years for a variety of reasons, most of which revolved around my generalized anxiety disorder. If you are anything like me (a.k.a not much of a “people person”), only without the option of living away from school, you might be wondering how to get a single dorm room in college. Luckily, it's not as uncommon a request as it used to be — but you better act fast.

First off, not every school has single or private rooms in their residential housing, so the first thing you should do is check to make sure that the option is actually available. My alma mater, for instance, only has double room suites and apartments, and only offers single rooms to resident assistants. But even if your school does have single rooms available, sometimes they’re not offered to freshmen, which means you might have to tough it out in a double for a year. The other thing to note is that single rooms are probably going to be a good deal more expensive than sharing a room — depending on your area, you might be able to rent a studio apartment or share one for the same price.

And don’t worry about missing out on “that dorm experience” with a single room — you’ll still have a whole floor and hall to interact with whenever you want. Here are a few ways to snag a dorm all to yourself.

1. Make sure your school offers single rooms

This is something you probably should have checked on a while ago, but if you’re looking to transfer, or if you’re taking a gap year, this might be a good deciding factor if you can’t decide between colleges. Picking the right school for you isn’t just about academics after all, it’s also about location and campus environment, which includes dorm life. If you absolutely know you’ll be miserable sharing a room with someone, you should definitely take into consideration how easy it will be for you to get a single room.

2. Apply for a single room early

After establishing that your campus actually has single rooms, you should apply for one as soon as humanly possible. Chances are, the residential halls have only a handful of singles, some of which are reserved for resident assistants, so they’ll get snatched up quickly. The earlier you apply and pay, the better your chances should be of securing that coveted single.

3. Explain if you have a special circumstance

Obviously, you can’t just make something up in order to try and get a single — that’s stupid and dishonest. But if you have a medically documented social anxiety disorder, for example, that can be grounds for granting you a single room. Or if you have severe allergies to perfumes or sprays a roommate might use, that might also get you a single. Talk to your housing department about any special issues, and see what they can do for you before applying.

4. Become a resident assistant

This is probably the most sure-fire way to get a single room in college. But as nice as it is to have a single all to yourself (and sometimes a whole apartment, depending on the school), being a resident assistant is serious business. You’re responsible for the well-being of dozens of students, so only take the job if you’re in it for more than just a little privacy.

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