Barrows Hall is located on Woodland Street, perfectly between the Philips Physical Education Center and Wilder Student Union, and just across the North Quad from the Science Center. It houses 161 students, and is divided into six sections, four of which are coed by alternating room. All rooms are open doubles, and there are many lounges throughout the building and kitchenettes on every floor. The only First Year Experience hall on north campus, Barrows houses approximately 130 students with an all-female first floor. Barrows offers programs specifically designed to help students who are making the transition from high school to college. Barrows holds 92 first-years in singles and open doubles. Barrows has a history of a strong Hall Council and many students use it as a vehicle for involvement elsewhere on campus. Those interested in trying out a leadership role or who just wanted to organize programs to get students involved in their community find this an easy avenue to navigate. Hall Council members, along with five Resident Assistants (RAs) and one live-in professional staff member, work hard at providing events specifically designed to help students make the transition from high school to college. These generally include opportunities to meet faculty members in informal settings, social events, special tutorial programs and seminars on topics of particular concern to First-Year students.
In most respects it is fairly similar to Dascomb. Dascomb and Barrows enjoy a friendly rivalry over which building is the "better" first-year dorm. Both dorms are known for being noisier and a bit more rambunctious than tradition halls.
Barrows is OLD. Expect stuff to break. Expect to not have hot water on occasion for no apparent reason. Expect for the bathrooms to be covered in vomit occasionally. Expect people to do stupid shit. Expect the continuous reek of weed to pervade the hall. Expect to make lots of friends and have lots of fun. Take the bad with the good. --220.127.116.11, 2 Nov 2010
I hear next year's Barrows RAs are hot. --anonymous (18 May, 2007)
Possibly the second lamest dorm on Oberlin campus, after Dascomb. Barrows is your scene if you enjoy alcohol, smoking, alcohol, drugs, alcohol, parties, alcohol, and living in a building that smells like drugs and alcohol for the weekend and half the week. All the alcohol and drugs makes for some interesting experiences, such as coming back to your room at 1 AM to find random people in your bed. Of course, if this sounds like your scene, somebody needs to continue Pwned (Facebook link). --Jwisser 07:06, 23 June 2006 (EDT)
I live in Barrows. When I first found out over the summer that I was assigned to an all freshman dorm, I was not very happy. It's not too bad, though -- it's probably the crappiest dorm, it's old, it smells funny a lot of the time, and there is much sex, drugs, and rock n roll. Like the kids who were smoking pot in their room and ripped the smoke detector off the wall when it went off. Later that night, they found 60 40s in someone else's room. And a stop sign -- with dirt and grass still attached -- in the smokers' room. There are great people living here -- this is a great place for community, as incestuous and petty as it can sometimes be. It is not quiet. It's not my first choice still, but it is tolerable... most of the time. I think kids benefit more from interaction with classes other than their own -- this goes for upperclassmen as well -- but Barrows isn't all terrible. Just have an open mind about the place and try not to hate every waking moment. --anonymous (4 Mar 2005)
As a Barrows resident in 2006 I disagreee with a lot of what has been said here. While there is a lot of drinking, a fair ammount of drug use and lots of parties, the people are awesome. If you want a lively dorm this is it, if that's not your scene perhaps you would be better suited in a more quiet hall. The rooms, while old, are fairly big and the building is in pretty decent shape. The location is great if you are enrolled in classes in the science building right next door. Most people I've talked to who live in South or elsewhere wish they were living in Barrows. Just don't try to study here.... 18.104.22.168 18:37, 10 November 2006 (EST)
As a resident of barrows last yaer, it was truely a blast. Lots of good people and friends. While there is cetainly lots of partying if thats what you want to do, its not as rediculous as others made it sound. I didn't drink or do any drugs at all first semester, and some weekends stayed in to finish up work. It was never a problem, and if i wanted a break, i could always find people to go chill and talk with, or party with if i finished my work. In any event, i had an incredible experience, and wouldn't have traded it for anything. It fostered a very close community. --22.214.171.124, 1 Jan 2007
I agree with the last opinion. Barrows is what you make of it. If you want parties, you can find them. If you don't want parties, you can manage to seperate yourself from it fairly well. I do not think that Barrows was so crazy my year as other opinions have made it out to be. It also might depend on who is in the dorm each year and what floor you're on. It's really good for meeting people from the very beginning and all different types of people live in the dorm so there's a variety of different types of people to hang out with. I would recommend it for a first-year...I've heard that other people try living in traditional housing to get to know upper classman but that that really doesn't happen. The location is good and the rooms aren't awful. -- (anonymous, 2007)
As a student who has now lived in Barrows for the first semester of the 09-10 year, I'd have to second what the last guy said. Yes, there is a lot of drinking, and yes there is a lot of smoking and other drugs, but you can avoid drinking, smoking weed/other drugs if you want to. Living in Barrows is a great way to make friends though because everyone is a freshman going through pretty much the same experience as everyone else in the dorm. I'd say if your a freshman, this is the dorm for you. Piss on Dascomb next year for us. We pissed on it this year. --(anonymous, 2009)
"On the plus side this all first-year-dorm can breed friendships that last for all four years, and can be fun. On the minus side it also breeds drama, hall-cest (that’s sleeping with people on your hall, universally considered to be a bad idea), drinking, drugs, noise, some more noise, and lots of insanity from freshmen who just got away from their parents and have no good judgment. Oh, and the rooms suck. As an RA and as a student, I am philosophically opposed to all-freshmen dorms and all-upper-class forms because I think freshmen and upper-classmen both really benefit from interacting with one another (see: Fairchild, Burton)." --ilunas 
"I lived here for the first year, and didn't really appreciate it much. Barrows is completely freshman, and very drama filled. The main lounge is nice, but the kitchens are a disaster area. I hated living on my side of the hall because I'd have to walk by our kitchen... the smell was painful at times. At the same time, I did get a nice feel for the college. Since I'm among random people, I've managed to meet lots of people I probably wouldn't talk to otherwise. We're all freshmen, so we're often in the introductory classes with each other. I won't pretend like this always leads to instant friendship or something, but it does help. Still, I can't recommend it. Barrows was way too dramatic for me, and loud in a bad way (people lying in halls drunk is not my thing)." --rchicken 
"All freshman dorms are a BAD IDEA. Sure you get an "instant community" but you don't bond with the rest of oberlin and the drama's through the roof." --anonymous