When Spencer Kiessling was a freshman at the University of South Carolina, he had a terrible roommate experience. “I really didn’t want to have to share a room again,” he says. So when he transferred to the University of Southern Indiana, a public university outside of Evansville, he requested a room all to himself.
And his new school was more than happy to oblige.
“The biggest advantage of your own room is, obviously, the privacy,” says Kiessling, now a junior majoring in environmental science. “Also, it makes it a lot easier for me to focus when I need to get work done.”
For students like Kiessling, who want to increase privacy, enjoy more personal space, and, most importantly, avoid bad roommate experiences, there’s an answer. In the parlance of university residence life, it’s called a “super single”: a room big enough for two people, but reserved for one. A natural outgrowth of the college amenities arms race—the competition to build facilities with ever-more luxurious spaces—super singles cater to a growing number of students willing to pay for a private room.
Colleges that offer super singles include public universities such as Sacramento State University and the University of Tennessee as well as private schools such as Hofstra University in Long Island and Emory University in Atlanta. The University of Northern Iowa has converted Shull Hall, a traditional residence hall designed for double occupancy, into a super singles dorm. “Occupying the room with a roommate is the exception in this hall,” says Glenn Gray, executive director of the school’s Department of Residence. The super single option is “a point of distinction in our invitations to transfer students—a growing portion of our new students,” he says.