Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
November 30, 2021

In defense of McCoy Hall

By NATHAN BICK | September 11, 2014

In the student body of Johns Hopkins University, no building is more derided, hated and scorned than McCoy Hall, the residential high-rise across from the Beach and MSE Library on Charles Street. As the latter half of the year approaches, an entire freshman class anxiously waits for a random lottery number that will decide their order in room selection for university housing the following year. There are several options: McCoy, Homewood, Rogers, Bradford and of course, the “crème-de-la-crème,” the crown jewel of university housing, Charles Commons.

Charles Commons is the most desired real estate for Hopkins sophomores, and it is not difficult to understand why. Commons offers spacious hallway common rooms, large kitchenette-style living room combos and the privacy of singles combined with the convenience and social benefits of suite living. Completed in 2006, Commons has all the trappings of a modern building. It features Nolan’s, a dining hall for upperclassmen, conference rooms, Barnes and Nobles, the Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union and most recently, the extremely popular Insomnia Cookies.

The other university housing buildings cannot compare in many ways, and Commons is undoubtedly the nicest. However, with the major exception of McCoy, little criticism is levied at the other options. In fact, many students prefer Bradford or Homewood for their own reasons. But for some reason, roommates and friends will pray and beg for high enough lottery numbers to avoid living in the dreaded McCoy Hall. I believe that this aversion to McCoy is not rooted in facts but solely in popular opinion.

McCoy is actually an excellent option! It is cheaper than almost any other housing option. For the 2014-2015 school year, a McCoy double is $8,870. Compare this to, at their cheapest possible configurations, $10,940 for Homewood and Bradford, $10,054 for Commons and $7,748 for Rogers House. Remember, these are the cheapest respective configurations, with rates creeping up to a maximum of $13,088 for some housing options. Potentially saving thousands of dollars is not an insignificant perk to consider.

McCoy is also placed perfectly in the middle of the Hopkins bubble, close to the middle of Homewood Campus as well as off-campus attractions. Its views of the Beach, the library and Gilman tower in a vibrant red sunset sky are beautiful. Furthermore, McCoy walls are solid and largely sound proof, so studying and partying can happen in adjacent suites without anyone being inconvenienced. Sleeping is easier as well with quiet rooms.

No other dorm building offers Group Housing. McCoy offers groups of freshmen friends to receive a single lottery number before the general student body, which means the group has first choice in picking whatever adjacent suites they want wherever they want in McCoy. My friends and I, twelve of us in total, had a good lottery number: 2. We got exactly what we wanted in our three suites without any stress or worries. It is not often that you get the chance to live near your friends and therefore, be able see them as often as you want. This social element can otherwise become difficult at Hopkins if you don’t put in some effort.

While it could be seen as a negative trait, McCoy options consist almost entirely of doubles. This could be your last (or only time if you were in AMR III) experiencing this housing arrangement, and going through, it certainly has its significant positives in addition to negatives, although the balance between the two varies a great deal between different people.

My friends and I lived in AMR II as freshmen, and while this might color our perspectives slightly, the positive qualities for McCoy listed above are all either objective or reasonable observations. AMR II is perfect for socializing and its communal atmosphere can’t be beat, but it certainly has its drawbacks. McCoy seemed luxurious in comparison.

I do not intend to belittle the other housing options here in this article; I merely intend to show the reader that McCoy does not deserve its horrible reputation. It probably offers the highest value for your money, the most convenient location and the most potential social activity out of any other sophomore dorm.

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