It helped a little after taking the housing tours and listening to the tour guides talk. There are some things I wanna mention:

* Appearance-wise, there isn’t really much of a difference. If you visit you might have personal preferences, but generally they all have the same things. Both have small kitchens, laundry services, really nice and clean bathrooms, and a living room w/ a TV. Some halls in Middle Earth had study rooms… I didn’t get to poke around Mesa Court much, so I don’t know if they have study rooms too. PERSONALLY, I liked Mesa Court’s newness and structure better than Middle Earth.

* Both have 3 stories, and no more than that since they like to keep it a small community.

* Mesa Court has coed halls with single-gender suites.

* Rivendell (in Middle Earth) is the only all women’s hall. The rest of the halls are coed. There are suites that are coed and single-sex.

* And to clarify, NONE of the dorms have wireless. However, the website does list these places having wireless:

Mesa Court Housing
* Food Courts
* Resident Recreation Center & Conference Rooms
* Community Center
* Lawn and Commons Area
* Student Activity Center – Classroom

Middle Earth
* Balin – Classroom
* Woodhall – Classroom
* Pippin – Classroom
* Gondolin – Classroom
* Bucklebury – Classroom

* Although the dorm rooms are small, if you are clean it really is much more spacey than you would have imagined. You don’t have to worry about being cramped while doing homework or while your roomie is sleeping because you can just go to the center and do your work there.

* If you bring a TV you get free cable.

* In case you didn’t know, there is heater but no AC in the dorms.

* It’s true that Mesa Court is farther and Middle Earth is much closer to classes in general.

* I didn’t get to see much of Mesa Court, so I’m not sure if they have one, but I saw that Middle Earth had a nice basketball court in the center of the buildings.

* Mesa Court has keys and Middle Earth has keycards. It costs more money to replace a Mesa Court key.

* Besides that kind of stuff, the real difference is the special interest halls. The halls are divided into different themes (which I should look into later since I don’t really know what they are).

* The tour guide said the engineers/biomed majors usually dorm at Middle Earth.

* She also said as a dorming student at ME, she generally made friends at ME and not MC, since they are pretty far apart from each other (in distance, I mean).

All in all, I don’t think there’s a “superior” one. It just depends on what you want and pick. And in the end, I think wherever you end up, you’ll probably be very happy.

Hope this helps someone!