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Articles / Applying to College / What's the Poop on College Dorm Bathrooms?

June 15, 2010

What's the Poop on College Dorm Bathrooms?

Question: How bad is sharing bathrooms in the dorms?

For starters, it depends on whom you're sharing with .. Neatnik Nellie or Sloppy Sadie? Then there's your own comfort level ... can you handle a few unidentified hairs or errant squirts of Pepsodent in the sink or will that send you retching toward a toilet stall? And is the sanctity of that stall sufficiently private for you to do whatever you have to do in there?


In some dorm situations, you'll share a bathroom with just a few fellow students while, in others, an entire floor may convene in one facility. Moreover, some colleges have coed bathrooms ... or lenient policies that govern who walks through the door, regardless of what it says on the outside.

As a college student myself, I quickly made my peace with the one-bathroom-per-floor set-up, sharing with nearly 25 other women. (Yes, there were multiple sinks, showers, and stalls so we rarely waited.) But when I sampled the coed bathrooms on other campuses, I was definitely out of my comfort zone.

Here are some conversations about bathrooms from the College Confidential discussion forum that you might find informative ... or amusing:

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/865949-dorm-bathrooms.html

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-william-mary/868418-dorm-bathrooms.html

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-life/716614-community-bathrooms.html

http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/cornell-university/883256-mixed-gender-bathrooms.html

I always advise students to check out the dorm bathrooms during college visits, but do keep in mind that there can be a lot of differences among them, even on the same campus. Some can look like they belong in the Ritz-Carleton while others may seem more like a highway rest stop on a holiday weekend. And if you happen to be especially finicky about such things, you will find that you may just have to suck it up ... or hold it in ... until you move to an off-campus apartment.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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