Dormitories at Andover vary in size, housing from four to 42 students. Every dormitory is home to at least one faculty member (the house counselor); the large dorms have several faculty and their families in residence. All living arrangements encourage close relationships among students and between students and their house counselors. One-third of the boarding students live in single rooms, two-thirds in double rooms. Because students benefit from knowing members of all classes, most dormitories contain lowers, uppers and seniors. Juniors, our youngest students, benefit from extra supervision and guidance and so live together in dormitories with special study and lights-out policies.
For many students, dormitory life is one of the most valuable aspects of their time at Andover. Whether it's planning a pancake breakfast or studying for a history mid-term, sharing it with people from very different backgrounds and from across the nation and around the world is a rewarding learning experience.
Reflections on Dorm Life
“Living in a dorm not only allows you to make some of your best friends, but it also allows you to build a family." -Katie, ninth grader from Florida
“Dorm life is centered around food, friends and finals!” -Mercy, senior from Massachusetts
“What I like most about dorm life is that you always have some one to talk to. I don't really mind the constant flow of food either!” –Amber, ninth grader from New York
“I never thought that my dorm at boarding school would feel as much like home as my own house 400 miles. I was wrong. No matter how stressed I am, I am always fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who will support me. And we didn't even begin as friends. Simply living aside each other on our hall brought us to develop a sense of trust and camaraderie between us. The kids with whom I've lived have also introduced me to different cultures and shown me new perspectives. In the past two years, my friends just on my hall have been from places as far as Turkey, Germany, and Romania.” -Harrison, eleventh grader from Maryland
“PA is an awesome place to be, especially when you're a boarder. Living in an all freshman girls dorm is so much fun. There are so many different girls from so many places in the country and the world. We have birthday munches, dance parties in the common room, and when semi-formals roll around. . . it gets loud! One tradition that we have in our dorm is that every Friday night, we all pile into our house counselors apartment and watch the week's episode of Grey's Anatomy. It is a big stress reliever in the dorm, because we are with our friends watching our favorite show and eating a ton of snacks (which our house counselor makes). We also have a lot of bonding opportunities. In the winter, when the snow is high, there is no better way to get to know the people in your hall than by going out to shovel the snow! We even had an Easter Egg Hunt in The Knoll that our prefects organized. I know that my next three years at Andover will be filled with happy memories, especially when living with my friends.” -EJ, a ninth grader from New York
“The dorm life has made a tremendous impact on me. It has been integrated into my daily life, and now, whenever I go home, I want to go back to school! It's just so much fun talking to your friends or roommates once you are done with your homework. I've made incredible friends, that I would have never met/or been friends with otherwise. Also, in our dorm, we have something called "pods," which is like a common room surround by a group of dorm rooms – 8 students living in a “pod”. We hang out a lot in the common room, talking, eating, doing homework etc. If you need help with your work at all, you can ask anyone in the dorm including your house counselors and they will help you. My math teacher is my house counselor so I always ask for help! Also, it's not just the guys who live near by that you bond with. In dorm meetings, we have munches to celebrate birthdays or other occasions. For example, we got together to watch the Superbowl over subs and chips." -Jack, tenth grader from South Korea
"Living in a dorm has been an extremely valuable experience. Knowing how to share a living space with other people is a crucial life skill, and I have personally learned a great deal about how to get along with others and how a residential community works. Living away from home has also taught me a lot about being independent. From doing my own laundry, to keeping my room clean without my Mom telling me to do so, to learning how to create a comfortable living environment...I have gained a lot of confidence in my ability to live independently. In addition, some of my closest friends are in my dorm. There are things I have learned in late night talks that I will never learn in the classroom. We talk about everything from important stuff like philosophy and politics and girls to matters as trivial as the best flavor of Gatorade. I am positive that I will carry the knowledge and friendships I have gained in the dorm with me to college and beyond." –Kevin, senior from Washington
"I was afraid. I had never been away from my home for so long. And then it was expected that I would be away for months at a time. This country was very new to me, and still is, I didn’t know anyone. I look at myself today and it's funny to see how things have changed. I have two homes now, not just one. I used to hear other kids say 'I am going to miss you during the vacations'. Please, I thought, they must be saying that for kicks. And now, what would I do without my roommate and dormmates? It is as if I have many sisters. We argue, we get angry at each other, we cry, we help each other with homework, we dance, we laugh, we play, and sometimes, we act like little kids because deep down inside we are. We aren’t afraid to show each other our true selves. My house counselors are not just counselors, they are part of this family too. For a long time the thought of not being back at home would sadden me, but now, when I am away from either home I miss it so. Look at me, a small town girl from South Africa. I am here now, in a home with many others from different places. And how do I feel? Lucky." -Mandisa, a tenth grader from South Africa