How To Find A Roommate
For College?

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M. • 10 Minute Read

A myriad of emotions come from going into college, from anxiety to excitement and even fear of the unknown.

It is a whole new phase of adulting that seems daunting to some people; for some, the taste of freedom just leaves them thrilled, while for others, it is a mixture of both. College is more than just academics; it comes with new experiences that may or may not be unique to you.

You get to interact with people from different walks of life, both those you share values with and those you don't. However, this diversity is essential as these new experiences bring in new ideas as you learn from each other, which is paramount for personality development. It's a hard pill to swallow, but you're forced to be around various kinds of people in college. However, it is a relief to know that you have the option of deciding who to be your roommate. No place like home, they say, and even if you're so pumped up about the freedom of finally being on your own, you really want it to be with someone habitable.

In college, you see the variety of life by the daily interactions and we hear of many horrifying stories when people with varying lifestyles and very little morals are made to live under one roof. You can decide not to interact with the various people you meet in college; still, you can't avoid interactions with your roommate. Choosing the right one is vital for your sanity. With the right approach, finding a college roommate can be a breeze.

In this article, we'll look at things to consider before choosing a roommate and the variety of steps you can choose from in finding a roommate.

What To Remember When Looking For A College Roommate

If you've ever tried to find someone to share a house with (maybe not), there are certain things that you look for in that person. If you're at college, you're even more so going to try and find someone with similar qualities to you because you're going through an intense period of your life. You want to feel like they respect and compliment your schedule. Here are some things to consider:

First, Do Some Self-Reflecting

It is best to reflect on your own habits. Are you adaptable and communicative? Are you so introverted and like your own space? What are your pet peeves? Living under the same roof is a two-way street, as much as you want to find someone suitable you also need to be a good roommate to the person also. You’re a part of the equation and your roommate has to choose you too

Examine yourself for annoying habits that you have without being delusional. You can ask your family members or people you have lived under the same roof with. See ways you need to improve and walk towards it as you prepare to move in with someone new. Choose to be responsible and be the kind of roommate you want for yourself.

Think Twice Before Rooming a Friend

Rooming a friend can be a great choice in certain circumstances but in others it is not. On occasions where the college location is close to your High School and most of your classmates are attending the same college with you, students end up being roommates with their friends. Sometimes this defeats one of the purposes of getting a college education; “Having new experiences due to the vast range of students from all walks of life”. 

There is a high chance that students like that form a clique and don’t get to interact with others as much because they won’t move out of their comfort zone. Having a friend as a roommate doesn’t automatically make the person a good one. It seems like a good idea but that’s often not the case. It is just easier to overstep boundaries with your roommate just because you’re friends and this can cause conflicts that can cost you your friendship.

Roommates may or may not be your friend, you just need to have a good working relationship with that person. 

However, in some situations, having a friend as a roommate is the best choice. On the occasion where an individual has some form of illness that requires periodical attention, a friend who knows about the history of your illness can be comforting to have as a roommate. This way the friend is knowledgeable on what to do in the case of an emergency and this eases the fear of having to be stigmatized because of your illness.

Seek Shared Interests and Values

You don’t want a roommate that finds you creepy or invades your privacy. You need to not feel weird about doing the things that are important to your value system. Having shared interests and ideas just makes it easy to start off the relationship on the right note. 

You really can’t find someone who ticks off all your boxes and has the same ideologies as you. But, the most important ones are a good starting point. The individual has to have good values and be responsible. Imagine, being roommates with someone who doesn’t think wearing a nose mask is important during a pandemic like COVID-19; that'd be tragic for your health and your sanity. 

Comparing Schedules

Don’t overlook your schedules. Late nights and early morning schedules could make the difference between conflicts and peace. For someone with many morning classes, going to bed early may be their preference and they may expect you to have you do the same.  

However, this might not work for you if you’re nocturnal In order not to interfere with each other’s sleep schedule or their ability to function well, it is better to consider this before choosing a match.

What You Have To Offer To Each Other

What do you have to give a roommate? Let’s face it, you need to be willing to help out. It is important to have basic etiquettes of keeping shared spaces such as the kitchen, toilet, and bathroom neat and tidy after use so it is suitable for the other person to use. Do well to consider these things so you can be a good roommate to another.

Aside from basic etiquettes, you should also consider what each of you gets to bring on move-in day. Things like toiletries, furniture, appliances. Or better still make a budget of necessities and contribute some money to buy them.

Signing An Agreement

Signing an agreement with your roommate is a good idea. It is like a contract created and signed by you and your roommates with or without the landlord involved. It should be done before or when you move in together. 

This helps establish rules beforehand. It should address issues like cleaning schedules, sleepovers, financing household necessities, quiet hours, invading privacy or using personal belongings, sharing materials or equipment, and how to repair them in the event of damage.

Tips For Finding A College Roommate

There are quite a number of ways to find a roommate. Adopt several of these measures, so you have a wide range of options to choose from, from the potential roommate matches you get.

Make A Roommate Questionnaire

After self-reflection and considering many necessities, you should know what you want from a roommate. Creating a roommate questionnaire will help you check for compatibility between you and the potential roommate and see if they have qualities you prefer. This doesn't have to be tedious, there are several free templates you can choose from online. 

Reach out to your network for recommendations 

Check around your network of family, their friends as well as your own friends, they probably have someone going to your school. Who knows, they might have the best match for you.

Give Facebook Groups A Try 

Facebook is a blessing in so many ways. The list of things you can get done there is endless and finding a roommate is one of them. You can just search for "roommates" in suitable local groups. Join the groups that have options for getting roommates in your desired region. Here, your roommate questionnaire comes in handy. Post about yourself, what you have to offer, what you’re looking for, and your college/Room location. You should also message people with open rooms you think you can fill.

Use Roommate-Matching Websites / Apps 

There is a website and app for nearly anything. You can explore this option too. They work in ways similar to dating apps and are not complex to use.

Post Flyers On Campus 

You’re not alone, there is a pool of students in your college also looking for roommates just like you. You can check out posters for roommates on your campus and also post yours.

Prepare For A Roommate Interview

Even after using a questionnaire, an interview helps too. It doesn’t have to seem so formal. Just a cool interview to get to know the person.

Engage in off-campus housing programs 

Check Out For Themed Dorms 

Sometimes, you’re not left with the choice of deciding your roommates especially if you’re in your freshman year. However, you can consult your campus and explore resources available for new students. There are typically options for pairing students with similar interests so as to form a learning community.

Getting a roommate might seem like a herculean task, but it is not, especially with the help of those around you and the resources available online. The effort for finding the right roommate is greatly rewarded by the peace you enjoy in the room, the joy of possibly making a new friend, saving money, having someone to listen to and share chores with. This just makes life in college a lot easier and worthwhile for you.

Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
Related Articles
Amanda Hoyle, M.Ed., Psy.M
Amanda is a proficient and widely published educational leader, with Master's degrees in both Education and Psychology.
Related Articles
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