1. Hill College House
I’m slightly biased, because this is where I lived freshman year, but I believe that Hill is one of the best places you can live during your first year at Penn. Hill is a first year (freshmen only) college house divided up into four quadrants, designated by color. I lived on the second floor in the blue quadrant, so my hall was titled, “Blue 2.” Each hall has its own lounge (with a flat screen!), bathroom and study space, drawing people out into the hallways to be social. Unless you stay in your room 24/7, you are guaranteed to have multiple interactions with your hall mates every single day, leading to close bonds that are just what a shy freshman like myself needed to meet new people. Not to mention, Hill was just renovated last year, so all of the facilities are new, including the dining hall on the bottom floor. Tbh, you don’t even have to leave Hill to do anything except go to class; it has a gym, study space, two outdoor terraces, and a club lounge with a kitchen, pool table and ping pong table.
2. The Quadrangle
Whenever Penn alumni think of their freshmen year, they think of the Quad. It’s iconic: the beautiful architecture, the squares of green space. The Quad is also a first-year college, meaning it houses only freshmen, and A LOT of them at that. The Quad is separated further into three college houses: Fisher Hassenfeld, Riepe, and Ware. Although they all have different names, they are all part of the area known as the Quad, which can be super confusing for incoming students. If you are looking for an incredibly busy, social dorm, the Quad is for you; however, if you go to bed early or like some peace and quiet throughout the day, you may want to consider a different college house.
3. New College House
New College House, or NCH, is the newest dorm on Penn’s campus. All of the rooms are suite style living, which means anywhere from two to six singles connected to living room. NCH has had incredibly high demand over the past two years, so consider yourself lucky if you get in! One of the only downsides is that it is a four-year house, so you will not be living with all freshmen. If you are looking for a more relaxing, private experience your first year, then NCH is perfect for you.
4. Kings Court and Kings Court English House (KCECH)
These next two college houses are so similar that I can describe them together. Kings Court and KCEH are both four-year houses located right next to each other. They are a little further away from the other dorms, lending to a quieter environment to bond with your hall mates. Students in these houses often get very close as well.
5. Gregory College House Only about 100 freshmen live in Gregory, in room styles ranging from singles (one person) to quads (four people). The quads are also suite style with four bedrooms, which is another unique housing situation most freshmen do not experience.
6. Stouffer College House
Stouffer is a relatively small college house; as a result, many of the students create long lasting friendships. Although only about 70 freshmen live in Stouffer, it is located right next to the Quad, meaning that residents are not too far away from lots of their classmates.
7. W.E.B. DuBois College House
DuBois is a unique dorm in regards to its dedication to African American culture. Students of any race can live in DuBois, which houses a small population of 160. The building contains primarily triples (three residents), but also has some quads, doubles and singles. Every year, the students put together a Souls of DuBois conference to honor the house’s namesake, civil rights activist William DuBois.
Good luck in your housing search and make sure to check out even more specifics on Penn’s housing website!
-Kaitlyn B, C'21