Dorm Life

The Frederick Gunn School is a small, close-knit community. The friends you make here  - sharing a room, hanging out in the common room, talking with your dorm parent, eating pizza or helping a classmate out with math - are often your friends for life - ask our alumni, they will tell you!

One of the freshmen girls described it as a seven-day sleepover – with homework. You’re with people who ultimately become your friends

Alisa Croft, head dorm parent, Graham House

Dorm life at The Frederick Gunn School is all about community. It’s about finding your friend group and learning to live respectfully with others. “I think it’s very valuable,” said Jim Balben, Dorm Parent in Teddy House. “They’re going to live in a dorm when they go off to college. They’re getting experience most kids are not going to get.”

"One of the freshmen girls described it as a seven-day sleepover – with homework. You’re with people who ultimately become your friends,” said Alisa Croft, Head Dorm Parent, Graham House.

More than any other space on campus, the dorm becomes a home away from home. It’s where students learn to be independent, manage their time and become self-reliant. “You have to wake up to an alarm. You have to keep your room neat. You have to get to class on time. Those are big life skills,” Croft said.

“Our students know how to take the trash out, whether it’s a dorm job or from their own room. Some of them from freshman year on know how to do their laundry. They know how to regulate their sleep. That’s actually a problem in today’s society. It’s gone from I’ll watch ‘The Tonight Show’ to I’ll stay up to 3 a.m. streaming Netflix. They’re learning how to turn their technology off and go to bed,” Balben said.

To be successful academically, he suggests finding a study space that works for you. Freshmen are required to study in their dorm room during the first half of freshmen year. After that, students can choose from studying in the dorm, in the library or in the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. The goal is to figure out what works best for you. “Once you learn that here, you’ll have a huge advantage over the other kids at college.”

To succeed socially, students need to do little more than keep the door to their room open, spend time in the common room, and get to know each other. Balben also recommends joining a fall team or co-curricular with a lot of people involved “whatever it is you choose to do. If you have an interest, even if it’s a slight interest, go do that cocurricular. If you kind of like acting but you’ve never done it, just go do the fall play. The faculty will find a role that will suit you and then you’ll be around people who like the same thing you do. If you like football, even if it’s just an interest, join the eight-person football team. Even if you see yourself from the perspective of, ‘I’m only good at this one sport,’ then you’ll have more fun playing the other sports because of the camaraderie.”

Living at The Frederick Gunn School

  • We have 10 single-sex dorms.
  • The largest dorm can accommodate 50 students, the smallest 10.
  • Most students live in singles or doubles; a few live in triples or quads.
  • All dorms have a common room with comfy couches, a TV and microwave; it can be a quiet place to catch up on homework, or a hub for hanging out.
  • All day students have a room on campus, most with boarding roommates, so there is always a place to study, change for your afternoon activity, and stay over if you need to.
  • There are at least two faculty apartments attached to each dorm. Your dorm parents are a big part of dorm life. They can help with homework, bake treats as a surprise, let you walk their dog, hang out and watch a game with their kids, or use their kitchen to make a snack. They are full of advice and support and work hard to make sure that all of the residents of the dorm have a safe, quiet place to study and a great home away from home.
  • Student RAs (Residential Assistants) also help to run each dorm. As returning students, they know the school community well and strive to make new students feel at home. As student leaders, they also organize dorm community service activities and take the lead when you compete in dorm challenges in an effort to win the Dorm Cup.
  • Yes, there are rules. Quiet hours are requested during Evening Study Hall, six nights a week from 8 to 10 p.m., with dorm check-in after that. There are weekly room inspections and everyone has a dorm job at some point in the year. While some of the rules take getting used to, our students will tell you that they really help you to figure out a routine that lets you balance school, friends and fun. You become independent. Best of all you are well-prepared to head off to college and take care of yourself.