daily californian logo


Welcome to the (March) Madness! Read more here

Freshman guide: How to choose a dorm

article image



We're an independent student-run newspaper, and need your support to maintain our coverage.

MARCH 14, 2023

When the housing application season comes around, many incoming freshmen are confused and unsure of how to rank the dorms they want to live in most. Never fear, because I have compiled a guide to help make that decision just a little bit less stressful.

Located close to Etcheverry Hall and many of the other engineering buildings, Foothill is conveniently located for many STEM majors. However, it is a 14-minute walk to Sproul Plaza, Dwinelle or Wheeler halls, so it may be a bit of a trek to get to the rest of your classes. Foothill’s name describes it perfectly — you’re surrounded by architecture and nature reminiscent of a tree house, and the dining hall looks like a cabin in the woods! The dorms are known to be quiet at night and the dining hall is well-liked for its variety of options.

Clark Kerr Campus
Even the name makes it sound fancy! Clark Kerr is by far the farthest dorm from campus, about a 17-minute walk from Sproul Plaza, but it makes up for that with its charm and the size of its rooms. The architecture is reminiscent of Spanish colonial buildings, and the red roofing is similar to Stanford’s campus, but don’t tell them I said that. The campus is known for being home to many athletes and people in Greek Life, and houses the top-ranked dining hall, a gym and its own, albeit non-functional, clocktower.


Unit 1
Popularly considered the “best” of the three Units, Unit 1 is always bustling with activity! This type of dorm is more “apartment-style” with multiple floors and an elevator that is known to break down semi-frequently. Only a six-minute walk to Sproul, Unit 1 is the second closest to the heart of campus. Right next to the famous — or infamous — Crossroads dining hall, Unit 1 is conveniently located and known to be very social.

Unit 2
Unit 2 is very similar to Unit 1, but Crossroads dining hall is just a few minutes further away. A nine-minute walk from Sproul Plaza, Unit 2 is a bit further from the center of campus but located closer to Clark Kerr. The dorms are also known to be very social and friendly, and some halls end up becoming very close during freshman year.

Unit 3
A four-minute walk from Sproul, Unit 3 is located almost in the heart of campus! It’s also the closest dorm to Telegraph Ave, which boasts a variety of Berkeley’s finest food and drink. Café 3, the dining hall, is located within the dorms for a convenient, although not very highly rated, bite to eat. Considered the least social of the Units, there is nonetheless usually activity going on!

We at the Clog hope that this makes your freshman dorm decision a little bit easier! No matter where you end up, from Foothill to Unit 2, you will have a great time meeting your fellow Golden Bears during orientation week and throughout your first semester at UC Berkeley!

Contact Charlotte Palmer at 


MARCH 14, 2023