How To Find A College Roommate

Okay, so you’ve gotten acceptance letters, decided which school you’re going to go to, made all necessary arrangements, and now it’s time for the biggest hurdle of all –  finding a college roommate.

Think about it for a second: these are the people you are going to be living, sleeping, and dining with for the next nine months. They’re most likely the first people you’re going to meet at your new school. In all actuality, they could be the people who stand up with you at your wedding, the ones you keep in contact with for the rest of your life.

Sure, there are always those crazy stories about terrible college roommates that make you want to invest in a single room. But if you choose the right people for your lifestyle, you should have a generally positive experience.

Now, let’s go over how to find a college roommate. First we’ll go over the different ways your school might go about choosing roommates, and then cover some criteria you may want to consider when beginning the search for your future roommates.

  • Matching Systems

Your school may have some sort of database they use to match you to potential future college roommates. Often it involves filling out a survey about your living preferences (such as what time you generally go to bed, how messy or clean you like your room, how often you plan on going home, etc).

Then, it will calculate your results against other students in the database and provide you with some options for students to contact based on how much your answers are similar to theirs. From there, you can choose potential college roommates to contact and hopefully strike up conversations and find a roommate match.

Some advantages to this include the fact that you can ensure that your lifestyle will be similar to the potential college roommate you’re contacting. That way, you’ll be more likely to find people you can connect with and befriend. The downsides to this scenario may be that the criteria used doesn’t fit your expectations. Also sometimes it’s difficult to find a college roommate with the minimal information provided on the website.

  • Friends

Another route you could take when trying to figure out how to find a college roommate is to room with friends or acquaintances you know are going to the same university as you are. Usually residence halls give you the option of requesting specific college roommates if you having someone in mind.

While the upside is, obviously, that you’d be living with a college roommate you already know, and often trust, rooming with friends or acquaintances can put a serious strain on your relationship. You have to be extremely certain of the person you’re rooming with, or things could get ugly. Sure, you like hanging around this person, but do you really want to live with them 24/7? While you may enjoy their company, their living style could be completely different than yours. It’s all something you need to think about when you’re trying to find a college roommate.

  • Going in Blind

Some colleges and universities don’t offer the option of a college roommate finder process, and just place you with certain people. Other times, students can decide to simply be placed in a dorm room if they aren’t picky about who they live with, or if they don’t want to go through the hassle of trying to connect with potential college roommates.

This can be a new and exciting adventure, of course, and may be a way to completely immerse yourself in the college experience. However, as you can imagine, there could potentially be many problems with this method. Chances are, you’ll be placed with someone you can at least get along with just fine, but you really never know who you might be paired up with.

More often than not, the crazy stories of terrible roommates come from these sort of matches. I’m not saying that this method is a bad idea, certainly. Just that people need to be very aware of what they’re getting into when they decide to use this college roommate match method.

There are many criteria to think of when you begin your roommate search. Some good things to keep in mind as you consider how to find a college roommate are:

  • What time you go to bed: think about it, if you are a night owl who likes to sleep in, you’re not going to enjoy having a college roommate that goes to bed at 10:00pm and wakes up at the crack of dawn.
  • How messy you are: if you like things relatively neat and tidy, you won’t appreciate sharing a dorm room with a college roommate who likes to live in their own filth, and vice versa, if you aren’t the cleanest person in the world, you won’t like someone either constantly cleaning up your things, or making snide comments about your half of the room.
  • Your extracurricular activities: if you like to be busy all the time, it might be hard to adjust to having a couch potato as a college roommate. And if you don’t like going out very often, it probably won’t behoove you to find a college roommate that parties every weekend.

All in all, finding a college roommate shouldn’t be daunting or stressful. Have fun, and if you don’t connect with the people, don’t force it. You want things to be natural with your new friends and roomies!

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Elizabeth Benson

Elizabeth Benson

Elizabeth Benson is a freshman at Central Michigan University, currently pursuing a degree in Journalism. Elizabeth is a member of the CMU Honors Program, and is a staff reporter at Central Michigan Life, the student run campus newspaper. When she’s not in school, she can usually be found reading, writing, or watching movies, and enjoys traveling and performing in plays.
Elizabeth Benson

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One Response to “How To Find A College Roommate”

  • Molly Stallman

    Molly Stallman on January 21, 2013

    I never lived in a dorm so I never had to experience the roommate situation but I know tons of people who did! I’m surprised how many people I knew went in blindly and had horrible experiences as well as people who had great experiences! I also know a few people who did know their roommate prior to college, and had bad experiences.

    It seems like it can really be a hit or miss! I like the few pieces of criteria you added as well. Those are definitely things you should be thinking about when finding a roommate.

    Some people I know joined their college Facebook group in order to meet incoming freshman before roommate assignments. This is a great way to get to know someone, figure out each others personalities and situations and maybe take the plunge into being roommates.

    Great article!

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