College can seem like a foreign and strange environment to a lot of first-year students – especially when it comes to residential life. With that in mind, the lovely people of the Hopkins’ Residential Advisory Board do their very best to make the dorms and residence halls as homey and appealing as possible. Every residential advisor decorates their dorm house in a theme of their choice – some with better results than others. I set out to document and rank the dorm-house themes in my residence hall – AMR II – according to a comprehensive metric rating system of my own design that takes into account aesthetics, creativity, and wow-factor.

#6 – Griffin


Theme: Up

Creativity: 1/5

Aesthetic: 1/5

Wow Factor: 0/5

Overall: 2/15. Our lowest scoring house of them all. Simply not much going on here. The Up theme has creative potential, and I could see it working out very well – it just doesn’t here. Decoration is minimal, and only includes door decals. The only reason I didn’t score the aesthetic as lower than a two is because the hall is not actively ugly – it’s just rather bland. Absolutely no wow-factor.

#5 – Adams


Theme: Unsure

Creativity: 1/5

Aesthetic: 3/5

Wow-factor: 1/5

Overall: 5/15. I’m not really sure what’s going on here. The house doesn’t look bad, per-se, I just can’t put a finger on the theme. The decorations seem to center around a movie – the title of which, I couldn’t tell you – but there are also a few Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide pictures thrown in here and there. Aesthetically, the house actually looks fairly nice, as most of the door decals follow an appealing maroon and dark-brown earthy color scheme. I put the wow-factor as a one, but that was more out of confusion than anything.

#4 (tie) – Baker


Theme: Music/CDs

Creativity: 3/5

Aesthetic: 1/5

Wow-factor: 3/5

Overall: 7/15. In my opinion, one of the most interesting entries on this list. Aesthetically, Baker scores very low. There were virtually no wall decorations aside from the RA board (which every house has), and there seemed to be little effort put into the look of the house. The creativity and wow-factor here, though, stood out. Each door decal consists of a CD for each person in the room. Floors are divided into genres, with -as far as I could tell – the first floor being electronic/electro-pop, the second floor being 90’s and 00’s alt-rock, and the third floor being rap/hip-hop. The CD’s look nice as door decals, and the free music give-away truly made me say “wow”. Overall, very interesting and creative idea, but lackluster and lazy execution.

#4 (tie) – Hollander


Theme: Movies/cinema

Creativity: 2/5

Aesthetic 3/5

Wow-factor: 2/5

Overall: 7/15. Perhaps the most average house of them all. The movie theme seems a bit over-played, but the names on the clapperboards as door-decals is a very creative and welcome touch. Griffin does fairly well for itself aesthetically, as the walls have just the right amount of decoration – not too much, but enough to give the house a solid vibe. Not really much of a wow-factor here, just a fairly-pleasant – if not a bit boring – looking house.

#3 – Lazear


Theme: Teen Titans (T.V. show)

Creativity: 3/5

Aesthetic: 4/5

Wow-factor: 2/5

Overall: 9/15. On the whole, a well-done house. Lazear shines aesthetically with excellent door-decals – featuring personalized characters for each resident – and ample wall-decorations – including the best RA board I’ve seen in any house.  The Teen Titans theme earns a pretty high creativity score given the show’s relative obscurity, but by the same token, its limited scope holds the house back a bit. Really not much of a wow-factor here, just a nice-looking and well decorated house.

#2 – Gildersleeve


Theme: Lego tales – Star-Wars, L.O.T.R, and Harry Potter

Aesthetic: 3/5

Creativity: 5/5

Wow-factor: 4/5

Overall. 12/15. I was very impressed with Gildersleeve – it only missed out on the top spot by a single point. Earning the highest creativity score on the list, Gildersleeve wowed with floor-specific themes – Lord of The Rings on the first floor, Harry Potter on the second, and Star-Wars on the third. Highly personalized door-decals help round out the creativity score, and contributed to a very strong wow-factor. While Gildersleeve looks rather nice on the whole, the wall-decorations leave a little bit to be desired and could benefit from simply a bit more. All in all, though, Gildersleeve shines.

#1 – Jennings


Theme: 90’s cartoons

Aesthetic: 5/5

Creativity: 4/5

Wow-factor: 4/5

Overall: 13/15. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Jennings thrives off of its aesthetics, earning the only 5/5 on the list in that category. Ample wall-decorations – full of color and pizzaz – make the halls come alive, and large hand-made posters in the stairwell really jazz up the entry way. The 90’s cartoon theme takes the cake as my personal favorite of any single-theme, and lends a homey and nostalgic feel to the House. Individualized door decals – which, if you can’t tell by now, I’m a big fan of – and highly unique decorations (such as the Power-Puff Girls picture and caption above) contribute to Jennings’ high creativity score and wow-factor. Oh, and I live there too, which helps.

Well, there’s my list – I hope you enjoyed! Stay tuned for my ranking of AMR I house themes, coming up in a few weeks. Until then – stay classy.