Bedraggled, sometimes beloved. Most colleges have a residence hall or two that look suspiciously like the fluorescent-lit dorms of yore.

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Nap pods and gaming arcades. Walk-in closets and private bathrooms. Rooftop pools and maid service.

With modern campuses caught up in what is popularly known as the amenities arms race, it is hard to blame incoming freshmen for expecting cushy suites and flat-screen TVs.

But most colleges have a residence hall or two that you’ll never see on the campus tour: the ones that look suspiciously like the fluorescent-lit dorms of yore.

Actually, they are the fluorescent-lit dorms of yore. Built in the middle of the last century or even earlier, they have survived to shock and dismay new freshmen with their cinder block aesthetic and dingy common rooms. Air-conditioning is a distant luxury. Bathrooms are nasty, crowded and few.

There are compensations. Older dorms are usually the cheapest, and cramped quarters foster friendships, students say. But that does not stop freshmen from looking ahead, with more than a little anticipation, to a new year — and new lodgings.

Here are a few of the bunkers that former residents like to warn about. The most loathed on their campuses? Indeed, but sometimes also the most loved.

Hill College House, University of Pennsylvania

Last fall, when Alexis Block was moving into Hill, her father announced that it looked exactly the same as when he had lived there in the early 1980s. “Not really what you want to hear,” Block says.

A brick fortress surrounded by a moat, Hill was designed by modernist Eero Saarinen in the 1950s. But its rooms are small and narrow. Some first-floor windows have bars on them. And it can be unbearably hot in early fall (air-conditioning will arrive over the next few years; in the meantime, the website warns to bring fans).

Incoming Penn freshmen tend to prefer the Quadrangle, a century-old Tudor Gothic complex, all masonry curlicues and graceful courtyards. “When a majority of your friends live in the Quad, and they’re talking about how comfortable it is, and you’re talking about how you’re sweating all night, it’s like, well, Hill sucks,” says Alex Kaplan, who lived in Hill for the past academic year (and insists he loved it). Quad, which comprises three houses, has its own flaws. It is also old, leaky and, says Jacob Kahn, who spent last year there, favored by vermin, including “interesting long pink insects, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.”

Quadrangle Hall, University of Iowa

The university is building a new dorm — a $95 million, 12-story complex on the Iowa River with a dining hall, gym and clusters of private bathrooms, to be completed in 2017. But before it opens, Iowa will demolish one of its oldest dorms, a low brick building that was designed as a World War I barracks, but now houses freshmen who consider themselves unlucky. “It kind of always smells like it’s 100 years old,” says Riley Coyle, a nursing major. “It’s kind of like a mixture of mildew and old people, I would say.”

The water pressure is all but nonexistent, when the plumbing is working. Cockroach sightings are common. Coyle’s bed is an arm’s length from her roommate’s. But she is happy to have just one roommate. Some rooms house four. She calls it the “insane asylum” aesthetic.

Michael Kessler lived here as a freshman three years ago. “When you’re coming in, that’s not the dorm they show you on the tour,” he says. “Quad is probably your last choice coming into Iowa.”

Still, he emphasizes the camaraderie born of mutual suffering. “I would not take it back for the world.”

Andros, University of South Florida

The trouble began as soon as Caitlin Corollo walked into her freshman-year dorm, in a 1960s complex called Andros.

“I was just so mad,” says Corollo, a business major. “It’s just so depressing.”

Do not ask her about the showers, so small she has trouble raising her arms above her head to lather her hair, with water temperatures that veer from freezing to scalding. Plus, the ’60s-era soap holders are an exact match for her grandmother’s.

“There are funny smells, unusual carpet stains, and crazy (sometimes sketchy) things happening,” wrote one former resident in a guide to the university’s freshman housing options. “If you’re going to be living here, make the best of it.”

Recognizing that Andros has aged badly, and needing more student housing, the university plans to tear down its eight structures over the next few years and replace them with a student “village,” including a dining hall, a gym, an outdoor pool and shops.

For the university, the benefits go beyond student comfort. The project proposal insists that the complex “have a positive impact on prospective students’ perceptions of USF during the campus tour.”

Low Rises 6 and 7, Cornell University

The squat brick Low Rises 6 and 7 are on the north side of campus, with a reputation for inconvenience and worse. The ceilings are cracked. The toilets are temperamental. The furniture is chipping. The heaters often work at full blast, or not at all, as happened over winter break this year, forcing students who had stayed over the holidays to sleep in the common rooms. Hair so frequently clogs some of the shower drains that clumps of it begin, mysteriously, to accumulate on the side of the tubs.

Even the lights, compared to newer residence halls like Mews Hall, seem “a little bit dimmer,” says Ritwik Dan, who lived in Low Rise 6 as a freshman.

CU Nooz, Cornell’s Onion-style website, put a wickedly fine point on it last October, when it published an item headlined “Students Organize Carwash to Support Suffering Residents of High and Low Rise Community.”

When students received their dorm assignments, some “literally started crying because they were so upset,” says Rebecca Merenbach, a Low Rise 7 resident for the past year. “We have beautiful dorms here, but this is so ugly.”