Tips on Picking a College Roommate

Rachel McLaughlin, Editor

Picking what college is right for you is hard enough, but picking your roommate might be even harder. Some of us seniors may have joined a facebook group, group chat, or some form of communication to begin talking to other students that will be attending the same colleges as us. Although these conversations we are having with our soon to be fellow classmates can be awkward and forced, I think it is a good idea to have some familiarity with people instead of not recognizing anyone when you are beginning your first day on campus.

For some colleges, you can be in a single, double, triple or even quad dorm. There are pro’s and con’s to each of these options but for most freshman they live in a double. With such a small room and such a new environment, picking the right roommate can be essential for how you feel your first couple weeks at your new school. Even if you are choosing to have a random roommate, here are 10 tips for you when knowing what person will fit you correctly so that you have a fun first semester.

  1. Find out how your prospective roommate(s) live. Do they watch a lot of TV? Stay home all the time? Never go home? Like hanging out? Like being alone? Work all of the time? Like loud music? Hates loud music? Vegan? And so on. Get as much information as possible before you move in together. No one will be a perfect match, but honestly ask yourself if these habits are things you can live with.
  2. Come clean. Few things can be as contentious as cleaning habits, as everyone has a different idea of what constitutes clean. Do you expect your dorm to be spotless and tidy all of the time? Are you okay with a little clutter? Are you a slob? There is no right way of living, but it’s important people’s habits are similar.
  3. Friends are good…sometimes. Just because your good friend needs someone to live with, it doesn’t mean it should be you. Many friendships have been destroyed after living together. Treat your friend as you would anyone else–honestly evaluating whether he/she would be compatible with your lifestyle.
  4. Realize sharing can get tricky. Some roommates won’t mind if you borrow their things at any time, but others will want you to ask first. It may seem like you have two closets of clothes now, but your roommate may not feel that’s the case.
  5. Understand group dynamics. If you have more than one roommate, you could experience a whole host of other issues that comes with living in a group. When a sticky situation occurs, discuss it altogether, rather than breaking off into pairs. Being open and honest with each other will head off most of the awkwardness that comes with fighting with someone you live with.
  6. Remember that it’s only one year! Things that seem crushing during that time may seem trivial after freshman year is over. Try to keep a cool head and not burn bridges with a roommate or their friends.
  7. Address problems when they’re little. Is your roommate always forgetting her stuff for the shower, and taking yours? Are your clothes being borrowed faster than you can wash them? Addressing things that bug you while they’re still little can help your roommate be aware of something she may not otherwise know. And addressing little things is much easier than addressing them after they’ve become big.
  8. Be friendly, without expecting to be best friends. Don’t go into your roommate relationship thinking that you are going to be best friends for the time you’re at school. It may happen, but expecting it sets both of you up for trouble. You should be friendly with your roommate but also make sure you have your own social circles.
  9. Be open to new things. Your roommate may be from someplace you’ve never heard of. They may have a lifestyle that is completely different from your own. Be open to new ideas and experiences, especially as it to relates to what your roommate brings into your life.
  10. If nothing else, follow the Golden Rule. Treat your roommate like you’d like to be treated. No matter what your relationship is at the end of the year, you can take comfort knowing you acted like an adult and treated your roommate with respect.