Traditional-style residence halls are the best value with the best cleaning situation, the best bathroom availability and the best community.
Traditional-style or communal residences typically have two to three toilet and shower stalls and a handicapped bathroom for every resident on the floor to use. The floors are single-gendered, and residents only have one roommate. They are typically cheaper, have a cleaning staff for the bath and hall areas, almost no wait to use a toilet or shower and have increased interactions between floor residents.
At the University of South Carolina, all traditional-style residence halls are roughly $500 to $3,000 cheaper than other styles. Traditional-styles such as McBryde and South Tower range from $2,845 to $2,885 per semester. Suite-style living, as in Sims and Capstone, or apartment-style living, such as 650 Lincoln or Bates West, range from $3,350 to $5,925 per semester.
The National Association of College Stores reported that in the 2018-2019 school year, students spent an average of $415 on course materials, $419 on technology and $108 on supplies. Saving $500 on housing is worth it.
Not having to clean bathrooms is another enticing benefit to traditional-style living. The first sanitation crew comes in the morning to replace the garbage, paper towels and toilet paper. The second crew comes throughout the afternoon to spray down the showers, mop the floors, clean the toilets and vacuum the hall.
The only downside is they do not clean Saturday and Sunday. But, the bathroom typically stays clean over the weekend, and the toilet paper hardly ever runs out. Not having to fight with roommates over who needs to buy cleaning supplies or toilet paper saves stress for more important matters, such as exams and papers.
Bathroom availability is also a huge plus of traditional-style residences. I have lived in a traditional-style hall for over six months, and with about three stalls for toilets and showers, I have never had to wait to go or shower. There is no banging on the bathroom door, as in suite-style or apartment-style if a suitemate left the door locked or took too long. Communal residences really do make living with others easier.
The biggest advantage of choosing a traditional residence at the University of South Carolina is the close community it fosters.
“Communal living essentially forces you to socialize with people more which in the end can create a closer community compared to apartment style living (at least for the first year experience)," Vanessa Stevens, a resident mentor at South Tower, said in a GroupMe message.
This community is not just fostered within the floors themselves but the entire building and campus. In a survey of South Tower residents on Floor 10, nine out of 15 polled residents said they chose to live in a communal dorm such as South Tower for its proximity to campus.
There are three traditional-style dorms at USC: South Tower, McBryde and Bates House. South Tower and McBryde are right in the heart of campus, less than a minute's walk to Greene Street, Russell House and the Horseshoe. The majority of classes are within 10 minutes, and food is just as close.
Personally, living in a traditional residence has eased my transition into college and has allowed me to enjoy the enormous amounts of opportunities offered at USC. Living in a communal dorm is well worth it for the experience no other type of dorm can offer.