Most colleges do not have a firm policy barring students above a certain age from living in on-campus dorms. Most schools prevent students under a certain age from living in the dorms.
We surveyed dozens of college Res Life administrators, none of which reported having an upper age limit for students living in their dorms. However, rules about a lower age limit for dorm residents were more prevalent.
If you are older and have a family, we recommend checking the Wellesley Center for Women’s database of all U.S. colleges that have family-friendly housing accommodations. Being able to live on or near campus with your family can alleviate some of the burdens of planning your later-in-life college career.
Can you live in a dorm before you turn 18?
In general, colleges allow students under the age of 18 to live on-campus in limited circumstances. Some colleges like Purchase College offer only limited flexibility to students under 18.
According to Purchase’s Housing Policies page, “Purchase College does not typically provide on-campus housing for students who enroll at the age of 17 but will not turn 18 years old until after their first year of studies have ended.”
They go onto say that, “Students under the age of 17 at the time they enroll are not considered for on campus housing.”
Despite this, Purchase encourages sub-18 applicants to reach out to the Res Life Administrators to discuss a possible exception.
When we reached out to the University of Wisconsin—Madison, Alyssa Lamberton of the Assignment Office confirmed that, “Students are required to be at least 16 years of age or older at the time of occupancy as indicated in our contract.“
So there is some flexibility when it comes to being a sub-18 resident of a college campus. You should check with your school’s Housing or Res Life office to see how young dorm residents can be at your school.
How old is “too old” to live in college dorms?
If you’re in your mid-twenties or older, you may want to consider seeking living accommodations outside the traditional dorms. Students in their mid-or-late twenties or older will struggle to connect with students fresh out of high school. Combined with differences in interests, habits, and, uh, let’s just say cleanliness, and you may struggle to make it through a full semester with a much younger roommate.
With all this being said, college timelines differ greatly from person-to-person. Don’t give living on-campus a flat “No!” if that means you won’t be able to attend the school or program that is best for you. If living on-campus is your only option for making your dream higher ed journey come together, don’t let some arbitrary social norms stop you.
Contact your school’s Res Life or Housing office and see if they might be able to help accomodate you. For instance, living in a single dorm is very different from having one or more roommates. Consider your options before making any final decisions about what is right for you.
Can you live in the dorms at 30?
Yes, you technically can live in the dorms as a 30-year old student.
As previously highlighted, very few schools prevent students above a certain age from living in the dorms with 18-22 year old students. The question of if you want to live in the dorms is a whole different story. We recommend considering family housing accommodations on-campus, or off-campus apartments or houses.
Noah graduated Summa Cum Laude from Worcester state University with a Communications major and Writing minor. At school, he was the Executive Editor of the online newspaper, a tutor at the school’s writing center, and an all-around good guy. He is the Founder and Content Manager of Edu FAQs, and is here to clear up your questions and make your college experience as exciting as it is educational.