I didn’t realize how much I missed living at college until I started writing this post. Thinking about all the friends that I made and all the opportunities I had during my first year of college has made me realize just how much I actually loved living on campus. Deciding where you’re going to live as a freshman is no easy decision. You have to think about where you want to be located on campus, what kind of amenities you’re looking for, and the type of atmosphere you want to live in. The University of Illinois Housing website has some great resources for helping you evaluate all of these factors, especially the “compare options” feature.
You may have also heard of Living-Learning Communities within the residence halls. These are specific buildings or floors that are reserved just for a select community. These communities are geared towards a wide variety of interests, from arts and music in the Allen Hall Unit One LLC to business and engineering in the ISR Innovation LLC. I personally lived in the Sustainability LLC in Lincoln Avenue Residence Hall this year, and I liked it so much that I’m returning next year. While LLCs are certainly not everyone’s thing, they do help to create a unique community within the residence halls. Here are a few reasons why you should consider being a part of an LLC.
1. It’s a great way to meet people with common interests!
One of the biggest reservations I had about applying for an LLC initially was that I wanted to meet a wide variety of people, and I didn’t think that living in a community of specific interests would create this variety. However, this wasn’t the case at all. While everyone in the Sustainability LLC shares a common interest in the environment and conservation, there is a wide variety of majors and backgrounds present in the hall. Some of my closest friends in my hall have majors that range from biology to business, so their academic experiences are completely different from mine. This is exactly what I wanted from my dorm experience.
Since I also elected to have a random roommate, I thought that living in an LLC would increase the likelihood of having a roommate with common interests. This worked out really well! My random roommate and I turned out to have a lot in common, and we are rooming together again next year! If you’re opting for a random roommate next year, living in an LLC that aligns with your interests can increase the chances of getting a roommate who will also become an instant friend.
2. You can be as involved (or un-involved) as you like.
One thing that turns a lot of people away from living in an LLC is the idea that you’ll have to commit to a bunch of extra hall activities. This is certainly NOT the case. LLC activities are all completely optional. You can take advantage of as many opportunities as you’d like, or none at all. All LLCs hold an orientation that allows you to move in a few days early and meet your new hallmates. This is a great way to make friends early on. They will also host events throughout the year; these are more opportunities to take a break from classes and get to know the people in your hall. All of these events are great resources if you’re looking to get more involved in your hall. However, you have no obligation to attend anything if you don’t want to.
3. You’ll have access to unique perks within the halls.
If you live in any of the LLCs, you can enter a lottery to win music lessons for a semester. I did this during my first semester and was able to take piano lessons, which I really enjoyed. Lessons are available for most instruments and all levels of experience. The lottery is also not very competitive, so if you enter, there’s a very good chance that you’ll receive lessons.
All LLCs also have their own lounge spaces, as well as special areas that pertain to that LLC. For example, the Sustainability LLC has a garden shed where students can grow their own plants, the Innovation LLC has a makerspace, the Allen Hall LLC has a recording studio and lots of music practice rooms, and the Honors LLC has REALLY nice study lounges. Certain LLCs also have leadership positions available to students, and some offer for-credit courses that can fulfill gen-ed requirements. Even if you’re not actively involved with the LLC, you’ll always have access to these resources.
4. The application is pretty simple.
Another thing that turns people away from living in an LLC is the idea of having to apply. The application is actually really short; you just have to write a very brief essay about why you’re interested in that LLC. Trust me, if you want to live in an LLC, there will be a place for you. These applications are not that competitive, and as long as you show a genuine interest in being a part of your selected LLC, you should not have much difficulty with getting in.
I really enjoyed my LLC experience as a freshman and all of the new friends and opportunities that came with it. If you’re remotely interested in an LLC, I encourage you to apply as well. Visit the University Housing website for more information about specific programs and how to apply.