Dorm Life: How to Choose Your First Roommate
The importance of a good roommate:
● your roommate is an important influence on
○ freshman year GPA
○ decision to go Greek
● Conflict with roommates has consistently ranked among the top five reasons students drop out of college.
● problems with roommates as one of the biggest stressors in college
Tips for first time roommates:
Things to ask when choosing a roommate:
1. Study habits
■ Does your potential roommate like to study in his or her room?
■ Does it need to be silent?
■ If old friends want to stay in your dorm, will that be ok?
3. Sleeping habits
■ Early bird or a night owl?
4. Common interests
■ Do you have anything in common?
Creep a little bit
■ Check their twitter
■ Google them
■ Learn something about them
Contact them about who is bringing what
■ You don’t need two kegerators
■ Your roommate will not likely be your BFF
● Aim for a civil relationship
Make a contract
■ How often you plan on cleaning the room
● Who does it when
■ What the room’s quiet hours will be
■ How you two will handle visitors
● How many, how often, and can they stay overnight
■ If you’re cool with sharing things
■ Any other possible point of conflict
Choose your battles
Some things are worth confrontation:
● Not flushing the toilet
● Illegal drugs
Some things are not:
● if you don’t like their music, put headphones in
● ignore the stray sock on the floor
● share the pot of coffee
Last but not least: Don’t eat their food. Just don’t.
The best way to match roommates is still undetermined.
However, colleges care more about the desires of today’s freshman roommates than they did a generation ago.
Schools offer options such as:
■ Substance-free housing for recovering addicts
■ Gay-friendly dorms
■ Themed housing according to academic majors
There are many different approaches to roommate matching:
■ Rochester Institute of Technology’s 2,500 freshmen use a software program similar to online dating sites
Humans do it best
■ Grinnell College and Amherst College hand match first-year roommates
No old friends
■ New York’s Hamilton College and Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., refuse to put friends together
A blind date:
■ At Stanford, not only can you not choose a roommate, the roommate’s identity isn’t even divulged until move-in day.