Dorms Debunked: A Breakdown of the Stern Residence Halls

By: Rivka Inger  |  November 21, 2023

By Rivka Inger, Senior Features Editor

As every semester comes to a close, the Stern group chats become flooded with questions about flights, courses, and many other end of semester topics. However, one question stands above them all: “Can somebody in ___ dorm private message me to tell me what it’s like?” Unfortunately, Stern housing doesn’t provide a lot of detail about each individual dorm aside from pricing, location, and the amount of beds in each room. In this article, I interviewed residents of each of the dorms during the current school year, and asked them what it was like living there.

Brookdale – Amira Isenberg, SCW ‘24 – My roommates and I picked Brookdale because of a number of factors: its centrality on campus, short walk to both school buildings, the social life, and its proximity to Tiberias and Kosher in Midtown. We all wanted to live with somebody else, but not with just one person; having multiple roommates gives you people to talk to every day and to split up the chores with. The room is not super large, but the layout gives each of us our own space (even if one desk is in the kitchen!). The room’s size, and the potential for bad roommates, are often motivating factors for choosing another dorm. However, I’ve been living in this building for three years now and I’ve gotten along with all of my roommates without feeling constricted by the rooms at all. I have a sense of privacy in my own room, but I can always hang out with my roommates or in the lounge if I feel like it.

36th – Rivka Krause, SCW ‘25 – When I was making my dorm decisions last spring, I had two factors in mind: I wanted to have a roommate and I wanted a quieter building. I therefore settled on a double room in the 36th Street dorm, though most of the rooms are singles. When I told people about my decision, they were surprised because of the poor reputation that the building has. However, after living here for 3 months, I can say that it’s the best building in my opinion. My room is spacious and less cramped than my previous room in Brookdale, and despite not having a designated kitchen area, my roommate and I made one ourselves. 36th also has the added bonus of a lovely outdoor area. The main downside of 36th street is the communal bathroom and the carpeting.

35th – Rivka Marcus, SSSB ‘24 – We chose this dorm because we were looking for an area that had a sitting place where we could chill in a place that wasn’t our desk or our bed. Additionally, one of my roommates has dietary restrictions, making the kitchen a must. The room has a general living area with a couch, a kitchen—which is a huge plus—and two separate bedrooms. We also have a table where we can sit down and eat dinner, which is really nice. The biggest pro is that you feel like you have a home and not a dorm room. It feels like a real apartment. The biggest con is both a lot of construction happening nearby as well as how most of our friends are in Brookdale. If you want to move in here, it’s probably the most competitive dorm, so good luck.

Schottenstein – Anonymous, SCW ‘25 – I chose this dorm for the privacy afforded by a single room, and specifically Schottenstein for its reputation for having cleaner bathrooms than 36th. My room has a high ceiling so I have never heard anyone above me making noise (although they may just be a quiet individual). There is a dresser and desk, a closet with ample storage space, as well as an A/C unit. I love how my room offers privacy, with the ability to play music and have the lights on or off at my own leisure, though it does also have the potential to get lonely. My advice for someone looking to move into the Schottenstein building would be to find friends who you can request to be on your floor or at least in the building. Commit to visiting others and doing work outside of your room – it can be very easy to hole up and isolate from people around you. Also, take advantage of the walk to Stern as an opportunity to listen to music or a podcast, it’ll make it feel shorter.

251 – Naomi Klinghoffer, SCW ‘25 – My roommates and I chose this dorm because it has a kitchen and it’s more spacious, giving us a more independent living style. The room itself isn’t huge, but it has really high ceilings which makes it feel airier and less restrictive. It also has a (non-functional) fireplace which adds to the vibe. The biggest pro is definitely the full kitchen – it makes balancing having our own food and cafe food much easier and more financially stable. One of the downsides is probably that you can’t turn off the radiator in the winter so it gets pretty warm and we have to keep the window propped open full time. If you’re planning on moving into 251 Lex, definitely keep your anti-rat prayers regular. It’s worked for us so far!

30th – Sophie Dubin, SCW ‘24 – I chose this dorm because I was looking to have a kitchen so that I can have the option to cook my own meals. Also, it was really important for me to have a bathroom in the room itself and to have my own room for my mental and physical health. When you walk into the apartment, there are two closets right by the front door and a hallway leading into our main area which includes a kitchen, table, and chairs. My roommate and I each have our own room. I love living in 30th because I am able to cook for Shabbat and host Shabbat meals in my dorm, which really adds to my Shabbat experience. The only annoying thing I would say is the distance from the school buildings, but it doesn’t bother me so much to walk an extra couple blocks. My advice for someone looking to move into this dorm is to have backup options as well because it is one of the most exclusive dorms since there aren’t so many rooms available.

I hope that these descriptions have helped you to obtain a better view of each of the buildings which Stern has to offer. Happy dorm hunting!