UF was established in 1853...so don't come here looking to stay in a 5 star resort type dorm. The dorms are old, have no elevators, and moving in and out are is the worst possible thing about college. You could get lucky and live in a dorm like Springs (across from frat row where most of the athletes stay and it's a lot newer) or Lakeside (very far from central campus but really nice and you get your own room and kitchen). However, it's a freshman college experience to live in a nasty dorm so don't try and cheat yourself out of this! The best dorm is Broward Hall. It is by far the most popular dorm and fills up very fast. It's not nice at all but it's a party dorm, everyone is usually very friendly and everyone hangs out together. It's also right next to Broward dining hall and only a quick walk to the center of campus where your classes are. The next best dorms are Rawlings, Jennings, and Beaty. Honors students live in Hume.
The dorms are a nice option for students wanting to live on campus. Sometimes, students can reserve rooms for themselves and friends. This is a great idea if you want to live in the middle of Gator Nation. However, room-picking dates are not always favorable, but sometimes rooming with a random roommate can be a cool experience. There is a wide variety of dorms, from triples, to apartment style. There are also single and double suites. I live in a double suite, which means I have a roommate, but we share a bathroom with two other suite mates. There are two apartment style complexes and a family living area. The triple dorm rooms are pretty cramped. Several dorms have community bathrooms on each floor. But they get cleaned every week, and overall, living on campus is not a bad idea.
I lived in Broward my freshman year (the largest of the dorms) and it was definitely a different experience. I had one roommate and there was a community bathroom for the hall. It isn't the nicest dorm out there but it is by far the most social. You get to know everyone on your floor and there is a common room that your hall shares with another hall so you get to meet them too (sometimes co-ed). The best way I could put it is that if you've ever been to sleep away camp, you won't mind the dorms at all. If you have super high expectations about living conditions, you may want to lower them a tiny bit. I had a great time in the dorms and met a lot of my friends from living there. After coming to UF knowing nobody, it was a great way to make friends and feel comfortable quickly!
The dorm experience at UF completely depends on which one you live in. It’s hit or miss. In a lot of the dorms like Broward and Jennings, you share a bathroom with 40 other people. Some of the dorms like Lakeside are really far from where classes are and you have to take a bus to get to class or to go to a dining hall. I would definitely only recommend dorms walking distance from Turlington Hall, Norman Hall, and Library West since that’s where you spend most of your time as a freshman. I lived in Windsor Hall in a double room and had my own bathroom. My room was bigger than my friends’ rooms in Broward and Hume, and it was very social. The location was good for me personally since it was walking distance to classes and Sorority Row and my dues included meals so I skipped the UF meal plan, since Windsor Hall is right next to Theta. I would definitely recommend a dorm over an apartment for freshmen. It's the best way to meet other freshmen and it’s hard to get to class unless you live within walking distance since freshmen aren’t eligible for parking anywhere near classes if they live off campus. I definitely made more friends in my dorm than I did in my classes.
Luckily, I was in Springs, the suite-styled (2 rooms connected by a bathroom) athletic dorms my freshman year and loved the experience. I was also lucky to have such a good roommate and suite mates, one of which is still one of my best friends. Suite-styled dorms are a terrific way to meet more than one person, and they typically tend to be the most enjoyable and clean (or at least in my experience at Springs). I have seen other dorms, however, and those that are not suite-styled and a communal bathroom tend to be rather cramped with little to almost no closet space, but I know my friends living there adjusted pretty well despite the limited space and inconvenience of showering outside of their rooms. Most students elevate their beds so they can up the storage space available.