Is living in the dorms good or bad for GPA?
Story by Taylor Lenci
SALT LAKE CITY — Living in the University of Utah dorms is more than just processed food and social interactions. Aside from the fun of living in the dorms, studies show that living on campus can lead to better performance.
The University of Utah has grown rapidly within the last decade, due to growth in state as well as its high regard, affordability, and location. Students from all over the nation apply to the U with hopes of receiving a great college experience, and part of the experience includes living in the dorms. As enrollment and non-resident populations increase, the number of students living in the dorms increases each year.
In 2006, 27,420 students were enrolled at the U. In 2017, that number increased to 31,860, and 15 percent of those students live on campus. The U’s population is growing rapidly each year which results in more students living on campus. Though there has been no increase in capacity of the dorms, Chapel Glen has increased the amount of roommates per room.
The U markets the experience as one that allow students to surround themselves with peers who have similar interests and goals, which guides students to their ultimate academic success, says the Director of Student Living on the U’s website.
“The dorms were helpful in staying on track with academics,” said Leah Farrington, a sophomore at the U who lived in Chapel Glen her freshman year, “Chapel Glen is freshmen only so everyone was in the same boat and it was hard to not stay on track when everyone else was doing the same thing or something similar.”
According to the U’s academic guidelines, every student is required to complete a certain number of general education courses and students typically complete them their freshman year. Subsequently, many freshmen are in the same classes and can work together, which indicates a higher GPA for students who live on campus than those who do not.
San Diego State University’s Office of Residential Living reports that “Residential students averaged a 2.81 GPA while off-campus students averaged a 2.38. Residential students living in one of the many ‘learning communities’ averaged a 2.89.” Said the Director of Student Living at San Diego State University after having done a study on the relationship between GPA and living on campus.
Though data shows that there are significant academic benefits that come with living in the dorms, not all students agree. “It is very easy to get distracted in the dorms. Sometimes I end up in the library just to get away from all the the noise,” said Caroline Eckoff, a freshman at the U who currently lives in Chapel Glen.
Regan Crofts, also a freshman at Chapel Glen, moved out after a few short weeks. “I take my academics very seriously, especially because I’m on the track and field team and have little to no time,” she said. “The dorms were a constant distraction and I was never able to study, let alone sleep.” Students typically live in the dorms to receive the full college experience, but what most students do not realize is that part of the experience includes distractions all day, every day.
Some students are able to remain focused despite distractions such as loud noise and many opportunities for conversation, while others need complete peace and quiet.
Still, being on campus all the time is a great way for students to be as involved in their academics as possible. “My GPA increased while living in the dorms because I had a roommate who was studying the same major as me and we studied together all the time,” said Lauren Gnat, a sophomore at the U who lived in Sage Point her freshman year. “This year, I live off campus and I usually abandon my responsibilities as soon as I get home.”
Ultimately, living on campus motivates students to stay on track with their academic responsibilities, according to Lia Bigano, a writer for The Collegian. Students obtain a stronger drive to complete their studies since they are constantly in an academic setting. “The resident halls are closer to things like the library so a student is more likely to head there since it’s five minutes away as opposed to driving to campus but I think it’s more the shared experience with other students going through the same thing,” reported Chris Baylor, of western Wisconsin’s WEAU 13 News.
A BYU study showed that students living on campus have a higher GPA by an average of a tenth of a point when compared to students who live off campus. Many students who live off-campus dismiss their academic responsibilities as soon as they get home and decide to relax or go have fun after a long day of classes. Living in a learning environment encourages students to focus on their academic responsibilities.
Overall, data collected regarding housing during college shows that the majority of students who live on campus obtain a higher GPA than students who do not live on campus. Living on campus may not be beneficial in every environmental aspect, however students are thriving academically because of their tight-knit relationship to the campus at the U.