Nearly 60% of students enrolled full-time at private non-profit colleges live in college housing.
Of those, around 25% report having some problems with their roommates, according to a study by the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Boise State University.
Homesickness makes college living suck.
Having a roommate you can’t stand can make it suck even more!
Fortunately, some postsecondary institutions like Georgetown University, Stanford University, and the University of Michigan allow students to choose their roommates through proprietary matching and selection systems.
Unfortunately, asking someone to be your college roommate isn’t as simple as it seems.
There is an art to inviting a student to share the dorm with you.
It all starts with identifying your preferences and priorities in terms of living habits and arrangements and checking which of your prospective roommates shares pretty much the same things.
Setting realistic goals and expectations is also a definite must.
There is no such thing as a perfect roommate, and the two of you must equally make some compromises and adjustments to live with as little stress and conflicts as possible.
Establish What Sort of Roommate You’d Be
Before you start the search, reflect.
Decide how you would like to live as a college dorm or apartment dweller.
The point is to determine the type of roommate you’d be to the other person — you don’t want someone whose idea of a roommate from hell is what you are exactly.
For example, you can write down your needs and wants.
Then, go through them from a different perspective and be honest: are you being reasonable and considerate?
Making things work requires both roommates to do their share in keeping tensions, misunderstandings, and disappointments at bay, and often it calls for making compromises.
Fill Out Questionnaires as Completely as Possible
Consider yourself lucky if your college has some form of roommate matching system.
That’s because it does much of the work of finding the most compatible person for you — just indicate your interests, lifestyle, leisure pursuits, academic goals, etc., and the college will do the rest.
Of course, it’s wrong to expect a 100% match.
Regardless of how foolproof the roommate matching system your school relies on, you can rest assured that it will not be able to come across a perfect clone of yours.
So, in other words, when looking for a roommate, set realistic and achievable standards.
Attend College-Organized Roommate Matching Events
Some postsecondary institutions ask roommate-searching teens to answer questionnaires.
But then some invite them to attend on-campus events that allow them to meet students looking for roommates in person!
Case in point: North Carolina State University.
Ranked #60 in National Universities and #28 in Top Public Schools by US News, NC State usually holds multiple roommate matching events weekly, from 6 pm to 8 pm.
John Carroll University, a private Jesuit university in Ohio, holds similar events, too.
Attending a roommate matching event is like taking a campus tour during the college selection process — it lets you see the best-fit roommate with your own two eyes.
Go to Your College’s Social Media Platform
Fret not if your school doesn’t have some type of system for matching roommates with one another.
It’s because the internet is a great place where you can find a prospect.
But don’t just look for someone at a random discussion board, page, or group — head to your college’s Facebook or any other social media account to find freshmen students looking for roommates themselves.
Scour posts and comments until you find persons who seem friendly and nice.
A quick peek at their respective profiles can give you an idea of whether or not you might like them!
Feel free to drop a comment or send a DM to those who seem to make the cut after some background checking — there’s more to people than their social media posts.
Get to Know Candidates Very Well
Whether the interaction is online or in person, it’s not the best time to be shy.
The goal is to find the most suitable roommate for you, and asking a lot of questions allows you to separate those who are likely to be horrible roommates from those who are likely to be agreeable.
Learn as many things about prospective roommates as you possibly can.
Remember to ask questions that matter to you the most.
Ask whether or not they smoke or how much they like keeping the room clean.
Want to hear a pin drop when studying?
Ask whether they like to play music or video games at screeching decibels.
Talk About Rules and Regulations
It’s best to lay roommate laws and boundaries from the get-go.
This way, the two of you can proceed with hunting for the next potential roomies should any feel unhappy with another’s established rules for the living arrangement.
Remember to discuss crucial matters like guests, sleeping schedules, quiet hours, and cleaning routines.
If sharing an apartment outside the campus, be sure to talk about shared expenses such as rent, utilities, and groceries — determine how the two of you will divide the costs.
However, refrain from completely overhauling the living situation you’d be comfortable and happy with, as it can make being away from your loved ones even more uneasy.
Prove You’re the Best Roommate There Is
Choosing an ideal roommate is one thing.
Being chosen as an ideal roommate is another!
Just because you think a particular person is the best among the numerous prospective dorm or apartment mates you interviewed doesn’t necessarily mean they see you the same.
If you like a prospect, prove that you’re the roommate to have.
Exaggerating your positive traits is not the way to go — show that you are open to suggestions and willing to make adjustments for the most harmonious and peaceful living situation away from home.
Of course, don’t be a pushover because your needs and preferences are vital to your college success.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.