First-years almost always live in the tridorms, a group of three dorms in the center of campus. Kendrick is co-ed, Dolliver is all male, and Crosby is all female. Older students live in Hill House or on Upper Campus. Dorms furthest from campus, like Pibly and the Orchard houses, are usually reserved for upperclassmen. Seniors have been allowed to live off-campus in the past but the school generally does not permit it, excepting when there are too many students. Most students live in doubles, some live in singles, and a small number, recently, have been placed in triples. Some dorms are apartment-like suites.
First-years are assigned housing based on a form they fill out before starting school. They are not given a chance to choose a dorm, though some students have reported success with writting in requests on the form.
Returning students choose dorms at the end of the year. By entrance date and lottery, students are assigned numbers. Students on social probation may receive worse numbers. Returning students rarely want to live in the tridorms, but some end up there because of low lottery numbers. An exception is Hall 3, 2006-07 (Superhall), which was applied for by a group of sophomores by special petition. Housing for apartment-style suites (Pibly and the Mods) is applied for in groups.
Kendrick is the only co-ed tridorm, housing mostly first-year students. It was renovated in summer '08. It is arranged in four halls, two upstairs and two down, each of which contains between five and twelve rooms and multiple bathrooms. The pit, which was finished several weeks after the fall semester began, now contains the laundry room, the kitchen, a soda machine, and a room containing several couches and chairs with excellent but somewhat unreadable art on the wall, and a television. The Kendrick study lounge is upstairs across from the bridge entrance, and consists of two couches and two chairs in a little room with poor ventilation.
Dolliver House is the all male freshman dorm. It is the northernmost building in Tridorm. It is arguably the worst housing on campus. It is divided in to six halls of two doubles, one triple, two singles of different sizes, and a bathroom. Due to the lack of insulation, temperatures can be extreme, and sound travels across the building. The Lounge, although awkwardly spacious, is used increasingly often, though beware of what may have ocurred on the couches. Dolliver House is the only building in Tridorm whose main entrance is not Veranda-oriented.
Crosby House is the all female freshman dorm. It has the largest amount of residents, as well as the most cooking space of the tridorms. It is also the only of the tridorms to have three floors. Crosby rooms are, on average, substantially larger than those found in the other tridorms, though those finding themselves living on the indent of each floor lose a precious two or three feet. John Weinstein, a professor at SRC, once suggested that, in Chinese, it be referred to as the "Hall of Loud Noises". Crosby, like all other dorms, sponsors numerous activities, including trips to Boston and New York, but also has events only for the dorm's residents, such as Girl's Night, fashion shows, and Crosby Spirit Week.
The three tridorms have parietals, a rule that been described as a sort of inverse cufew. While students aren't required to be home by any hour, students who don't live in a specific tridorm are required to leave that tridorm between 12am and 7am (1am to 7am on Friday and Saturday). Failure to do so can result in a parietals infraction if you are caught by someone who has a mind to give you one.
Hill House is located on top of the hill overlooking the tridorms. It contains housing for all years other than first-years. There are three floors to Hill House, although one floor is halved, resulting in half as many rooms. There are two RDs, one either side of the building, and three PAs, one for each floor. There are also five lounges/kitchens, three of which have TV/DVD combos. Hill House is parietals-free, and its rooms are much larger and much nicer than tridorm rooms.
Technically called "Foster House," the mods (short for "modular") are a block of student housing units on Lower Campus. It consists of 12 separate units, one housing the RD and each of the others housing up to four students. Each Mod is two floors and has three bedrooms (1 double and two singles), a kitchen, a living room, and a two-room bathroom (one for the toilet/sink, one for the shower). The mods look identical to one another. Mods are generally considered the most desirable housing option on Lower Campus, although opinions are varied and often heated. The Mods are usually assigned by group housing.
Mod 9 1/2 is a space between Mod 9 and Mod 10 which houses a fickle soda machine (it only accepts coins and charges 25 cents more than it claims), the Mods' laundry room, and a space which was, until Fall 2006, the Women's Center. There is a secret passageway which can be accessed via a trap door.
The Mods were officially closed due to weather damage pending further notice during the When Will It Stop Snowing Winter of 2011.
These three blue houses are sometimes considered to be located on upper campus, but are really just out of the way of everything, south of Physical Plant and the DAC. While in the past all three were students housing, now one is home to the family of Bob Graves (Dean of Student Life) and one used to be home to the family of Tom Coote (Dean of Residential Life). The Student Orchard formerly housed up to 7 students, but now houses just five, all in singles, due to housing codes. It has three floors, a large living room with a fireplace, and a large loft. The Orchards are connected to the main campus drive by a path that cuts behind the Gatehouse.
Pibly is upper campus apartment-style suites for upper classmen. Each two-story suite, housing for two or three students, has a single room for each student, a living room, a kitchen, one or two bathrooms, and an interior porch that looks from the second floor down onto the hallway between the suites. The dorm also has a small common space with a large table and TV and a laundry room.
As a result of Student Life's traditional fairly non-mathematical orientation, running the numbers on bed availability proved impossibly difficult and so Admissions was allowed to let extra people in. Accordingly, some people have been sent to live in a fairly seedy motel called the Days Inn in town. This was primarily due to the inavailability of Carriage after it burnt, and since the new Carriage dorm was put in place in 2009 there have been no reported instances of students living at Day's Inn.
Other spaces have been used to house students in the past.
Carriage house, on upper campus, was used until half of it was burned down in spring 06. The remaining structure was burnt down over intercession 2008-2009, as an exercise for the Great Barrington Fire Department. In the field behind the old Carriage is a newly constructed dorm also called Carriage, which looks somewhat akin to a large trailer, and houses mainly sophomores and juniors in double rooms. It has been noted that singles are easier to get in Carriage, especially during the second semester of the year. Carriage house now houses Bard Academy as of 2015.
During the 07-08 year, the Cottage, a small building on upper-campus, was used to house three students. In 08-09 and 11-12, it housed five, and was applied for as group housing.
Red Brick and Checker Chance, both located across the street from the main campus, next to and across from the ARC, were used as student housing in 08-09 and have been discontinued. The Red Brick house housed Ba Win and his family most of the years it was in use. Ian Bickford, dean of Bard Academy, resides there currently (2015). Checker Chance is also in use for students for the 2015-2016 school year.
The Annex, located on Upper Campus, adjacent to the White House, has housed both faculty and students in past years. In 08-09 it housed students. Same with 15-16.
The Gatehouse, now faculty housing, was used by students in the past.
The Mansfield houses are located on Lake Mansfield road, past Pibly. (As if you were going to Lake Mansfield, but turn left instead of right.) Currently faculty are housed there, but they have been used as student housing in the past. In Spring 2015, a Mansfield house was promised to a group of seniors for the coming year, but the housing director had "forgotten" to talk to the faculty currently residing in the houses — the people whose house it was were rightly upset and the seniors did not end up living there.