Living on campus in a dorm room or apartment is pretty much like living on thin ice. It doesn’t matter of you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior, the main goal is still to avoid making rookie mistakes and staying out of trouble.

On-campus living has a lot of positive aspects, but you’ll quickly learn half the battle will be making peace with your RA (resident assistant) or CA (community advisor).

Being someone that has lived in the dorms and has experienced this, here are a few tips to help you avoid getting in trouble while living in the dorms or apartments on campus.

Note: Obviously you will need to feel out your RA or CA and find out how lenient they are. This includes factors such as living in a dry campus, if you’re 21 and how often you simply get in trouble.

Even though some of these may seem obvious, you’ll be surprised how well these simple tips can help you avoid getting into trouble.

  • Befriending your CA/RA
  • This may sound obvious, but no one wants to get their friend in trouble. Therefore, simply becoming friends with your CA/RA will allow you to have someone on your side. Don’t make your life any harder than it has to be, avoid conflict with your CA/RA and you’ll now at least have one person of authority on your side!

  • Avoid Breaking Typical and Easy Rules
  • Don’t be a rebel and break easily to follow rules. If quiet hours are 10PM to 8AM; simply follow those. Don’t put your room on the radar and create enemies for dumb reasons.

  • If you’re going to have people over..
  • Make sure you know how much noise will end up leaving your room prior to having a ton of people over. At the very least, turn down the music when quiet hours are in effect too. Your CA/RA’s were in the dorms at one point too; they obviously know why 10+ people are in your room with loud music. So if/when they end up knocking, don’t allow yourself to have a reason to get in trouble.

  • Off Campus Friends Are Your Best Friends
  • Sometimes the dorms and or on campus apartments simply won’t work. Therefore, try to meet some people who have that apartment or know of someone who is willing to have people over.

  • Avoid Being Noticed
  • If you’re going to be doing something that is against the rules, don’t be dumb about it. It may be better to just hang out in your room and or stay out of the main areas. Don’t be that guy walking around with the 30+ pound backpack in the middle of the night on a Friday or Saturday. Everyone and their mothers know you won’t be studying at 11pm.

  • Figure Out Who Means Business
  • Obviously, some RA/CA’s will live and breath by the book. So keep this in mind and try to feel out the situation before you go completely wild. Sometimes, you may even be able to identify who is on “duty” and avoid any conflict during their rounds.

  • Know What You’re Doing
  • Don’t give your local RA/CA a reason to even be going towards your room and or creating conflict. If they don’t have a reason to come to your room. they simply won’t. By far, this is the best advice to follow.

Living in the dorms and on campus apartments can and is easy, especially staying out of trouble; just be smart about it. Hopefully, some of these tips will not only make your years on-campus much more enjoyable but also much safer!

Maxwell Emerson
I'm Max and I'm the brains behind College Coverage. Currently, I'm a Senior at Iowa State University and majoring in MIS. Through one hack at a time, I'm looking to make college a more enjoyable and easier experience. Think I missed something? Have a good suggestion? Comment or Tweet at me and I'll fix it!

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