When I was an incoming freshman, I wished that there was a place where I could go that explained the pros and cons of each dorm hall. I had to pick one, but I had no idea which one to go with. The UTSA website makes them all sound great, so it’s not the most helpful. The best place that I got information from was the UTSA subreddit, but I had to spend a lot of time reading numerous people’s opinions and a lot of people don’t use Reddit. That’s why I am consolidating all of the information here with a list of pros and cons for each dorm hall. UTSA has 4 dorm halls, Alvarez Hall, Chaparral Village, Laurel Village, and Chisholm Hall. I’m not going to rank them in any particular order, I’m just going to explain what I think are the pros and cons for each one, and to be honest, UTSA has amazing dorms compared to other colleges. If you want to see pictures of rooms, check out UTSA's website.
Like I said, I am not ranking these in any particular order, but I just want to get this one out of the way quickly.
Pros: It’s cheaper. That’s pretty much it. I guess if you really want the traditional college experience of having one room with you and your roommate, then this is the only hall like that at UTSA. Oh, and since Chisholm isn’t officially owned by UTSA, the vending machines have Coke products. Also, it’s right next to the campus dining hall, the Roadrunner Cafe.
Cons: I’m just going to tell it like it is. Chisholm Hall is the laughing stock of UTSA’s dorm halls. Let’s just say you definitely get what you pay for. The building is the ugliest building on campus, and the keep up of it is far from great. Go on the UTSA subreddit and you can find numerous horror stories from people who have lived there, including the fire alarms going off in the middle of the night and rooms flooding from the rain. Basically, try to stay away from Chisholm unless you absolutely have to. Oh, and you have to pay for the washer and dryer.
From here on out, you really can’t go wrong with any of these. Chaparral Village, or Chap as it’s normally called, is where I lived during my Freshman year. It’s pretty much the same as Laurel Village, but they have their differences. Because of the pool, Chap feels more like the party place. They’re not set up like a traditional dorm hall, they’re more apartment style where there’s different buildings. There are 2 options for room styles, 2 person or 4 person. The way the rooms are set up, everyone has their own bedroom, and a living room connecting them. There is a kitchenette in the living room with a full fridge, a microwave, a sink, and cabinets. There are two bathrooms in the four bedrooms and one bathroom in the two bedroom. Also, both Chap and Laurel are the most expensive options.
Pros: The stand out difference between Chap and Laurel is that Chap has a pool and a hot tub. It can get crowded sometimes, but it’s usually fine. Chap is also located right next to the Roadrunner Cafe, which is very helpful. There’s also a basketball court and the internet is pretty good.
Cons: It’s so out of the way. Unlike Laurel and Alvarez, it takes like 15 minutes to walk to class, which can get annoying. Also, the washer and dryer are in separate buildings from your room, which can get really annoying if you’re on the third floor. Even though the buildings with the washers and dryers have a full kitchen in it, you’ll still probably find yourself eating more microwavable meals because the kitchenettes in the rooms are pretty limited.
Laurel was where I spent my sophomore year and it’s probably my personal favorite. Like I said earlier, there’s very little difference between Chap and Laurel, but there are some key differences that lead me to prefer Laurel. While Chap feels like the party place, Laurel feels a lot more peaceful and academic. In the end, it just depends on what you want
Pros: It’s the closest to class. The Student Union is just a minute away and it takes about 5 minutes to get to class depending on where it is. Another big draw, Laurel is the only hall with FULL SIZE BEDS. As a person on the taller side, I can’t stress enough how great a full size bed is.
Cons: Other than the long distance, Laurel shares the same cons as Chap for the most part. However, Laurel is pretty far away from the Roadrunner Cafe. When I was staying in Laurel I found myself eating at the Cafe less and less because of how far away it was, versus when I ate there every day when I was in Chap.
Even though I’ve never personally lived in Alvarez, it’s my second favorite of the halls. It’s one building where everyone has their own bedroom, but they share a bathroom with one other person.
Pros: You still get the feel of a traditional college dorm in the sense of hallways, but you have your own bedroom. Just the whole look of the building is great, inside and out. It may be cheaper than Chap and Laurel but because most of it is inside, it’s easier to keep everything clean. There are also meeting areas where clubs meet and hangout areas with TVs where you can chill with your friends. Really the best part is that you don’t have to go outside for everything like you have to at Chap and Laurel. The washer, dryer, and community kitchen are just down the hall. Excluding Chisholm, this is the cheapest dorm.
Cons: Not a lot of cons, but there are some. The rooms are a little on the small side, but they’re manageable. Also, there isn’t any carpeting in the rooms, they’re just concrete. Alvarez is also very popular being that it’s so nice and cheap so the rooms fill up fast.