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Top 5 Dorms and Residence Halls at ISU

With a new school year approaching, you may be wondering about the dorms at ISU. Whether you are a freshman, or upcoming senior looking to switch into a dorm, here are the top five dorms at ISU.

5. Oak-Elm/Birch-Welch-Roberts

AKA the dorms that aren’t Co-ed at ISU. Oak-Elm is an all-girls dorm that is located right next to the tennis courts. BWR is an all-guys dorm and they are near the Barton-Lyon-Freeman dorms. These dorms are unique in a sense that you can interact with all guys and have a ‘Bros night out’ or you’re with all the girls in your floor and can find your newest ‘Girlfriend’ to go have fun with. Overall, BWR and Oak-Elm are great choices to live at Iowa State.

Pros: Access to nearby dining halls (Conversations and Seasons), near the tennis courts and the Lied Rec Center. Convos = good dining hall.

Cons: Females only housing for oak-elm, males only housing for BWR. Depending on the day, bus routes might not be recommended. Requires meal plan (Gold is the standard if you haven’t chosen one). There’s no A/C.


4. Buchanan

AKA The dorm next to the frats. Buchanan is a great spot to live if you want to enjoy a suite style dorm (meaning you get your own bathroom). This dorm is great for interacting with people outside of your roommate and floor mates at ISU. Overall Buchanan is good dorm for social life, only problem is walking to class or riding the bus (Wait until winter hits).

Pros: Co-ed, dorm is near the football and basketball stadiums, housing is suite style, social aspect is great since they are near the Greek houses, just finished reconstruction, Has A/C.

Cons: Dining Hall is far, (Closest one is seasons near MWL), classes are located pretty far away from dorm (walking will suck during winter), required meal plan.


3. Wallace-Wilson

AKA The Towers or the dorm that’s the furthest away from the ISU campus. Towers is a great living spot socially just because we’re the furthest away from everything so a lot happens in Towers. Sadly though, Towers is probably the jankiest dorm at Iowa State. But if you can look away from the fact that Towers a bit outdated, you’ll have a great time. Winter is coming if you live in Towers just a heads up.

Pros: Furthest dorm from campus so you interact with pretty much guys and gals who also live in Towers, social life is A1, live right next to the soccer field, across the street is the Ice Skating Rink, and it doesn’t require a meal plan.

Cons: Furthest dorm from campus so it’s a pain to walk (winter is coming). Storms Dining Center is Jank (like it’s the worst dining hall jank). There’s no A/C, and you have to walk or ride a bus quite a distance just to get some non-mediocre food.


See Also

2. Maple-Willow-Larch

MWL AKA The original Towers or some may call it the Big 3. MWL is a great living spot that’s closest to the basketball stadium, where we kick some ass (We gonna miss you Niang and Nader). They have an open rec field outside that’s used a lot for soccer, but is used for other sports as well. Seasons, MWL’s dining hall, is pretty lit, and a hell of a lot better than Storms. MWL is located near the tennis courts and the Lied Rec Center if the outside field isn’t your thing. Overall MWL is a pretty fun and active dorm since they are surrounded by activities.

Pros: Great social surrounding with tennis courts, outside field and Lied Rec., Seasons is a very good dining hall, closest dorm to Hilton Coliseum, and has A/C.

Cons: Classes are far away, bus routes are decent (depending on time of day).

1. Friley-Helser

AKA The dorms near UDCC. Friley and Helser is probably considered the best dorm because it’s near the best dining hall and classes are within walking distance. Also, it’s located right next to the State gym. It might lack socially, but it makes up for it entirely by UDCC and State gym. Overall, Friley and Helser are great dorms to live in for freshman because of the convenience of everything.

Pros: Has the best dining hall Union Drive Marketplace or UDCC or UDICC.  It’s right next to State Gym and you can walk to classes year round.

Cons: Lacks social structure, but makes up for it with the dining hall and State Gym.


Do you agree with the order of the dorms at ISU? Feel free to comment below and share the article!
Featured photo source:,
Xuan Truong

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