So, I'm sure one of things that all you prospective students are wondering about is living on campus! I can say from personal experience that living on campus your first year is a great way to start your college career. Before I get into it too much though, I have to say that my experiences come from living in Territorial Hall my first year. If you ask me, I will probably tell you that Territorial (or T-Hall for short) is the best residence hall on campus. If you ask someone who lived in Middlebrook or Bailey or Frontier, though, they will tell you that their residence hall is the best. These beliefs lead to some fun rivalries during homecoming and Spring Jam competitions when the halls compete against each other in things like flag football and lip sync competitions. And while I will be talking about my time in T-Hall, all the residence halls are really similar.
One of the best reasons to live in the residence hall is to meet people! I only knew one person at the U of M when I started, and I was a little worried about meeting people and making friends. But there are a lot of other students in similar situations living around you, and for the first few weeks it seems like you do nothing but meet people and make friends. I am still great friends with the people I met those first couple days living on campus. Also, a great thing about a large school is that I am still able to meet new people now during my senior year.
You never have to be bored living on campus. If ever you are, you can just walk down the hall and jump in a friend's room to hang out. There was always something going on, whether it was dance parties on Thursdays, movie nights, late night dining at Centennial, Super Bowl parties, or watching all four seasons of The OC throughout the year (yes, I admit it).
It wasn't all fun and games, though - we are here for school, after all. I lived in the Carlson Leadership House, a Living Learning Community (LLC) in T-Hall. This was a section of the hall designated for Carlson School students. It was really nice to live there, as we were all taking similar classes and could form study groups and work on homework together. It was pretty common for everyone in Intro. to Microeconomics to head to the study lounge to make sure we all did our assignments correctly. There are different living learning communities in each residence hall and they are a great way to meet people right away that share your interests.
If you couldn't tell already, I had a great time living on campus, and I honestly don't know anyone who didn't. I don't know of anyone who changed rooms because they didn't like their roommate, or who didn't like the hall they lived in, even if it wasn't their first choice. If you're not sure you want to live on campus, I personally think you should. You'll be able to make friends, get involved on campus, and have a great start at the U of M!