The College Roommate Situation: To Choose or Not to Choose

I remember how stressful it was to juggle the end of senior year, college preparations, extracurricular activities, and the looming pressure to find a roommate for the next year. While a handful of schools do the matching on their own, many colleges and universities offer two options: “random” roommate matching or roommate selection by students. It can be intimidating to begin this decision-making process, sifting through names and Facebook profiles in an attempt to find someone who, at the very least, is not a serial killer. Here are 5 things to remember during this process.

college roommate

1. This Process is Unique to Everyone
Before deciding whether you want to go random or try to select a roommate, think about your situation. Research your college’s process. Some schools pride themselves on extensive rooming algorithms, or even interviews. Other schools’ surveys rely solely on basic sleep and living habits. It is also helpful to find out how your school assigns roommates. Are students with similar interests paired together, or just the opposite?  Ask yourself what you are looking for in a roommate. Do you want to live with a friend, or would you get too distracted from your school work? This is going to be your living situation, so try to resist simply following the choices of other students or of your high school friends. Make your own decisions. Think about your own personal habits and what you want in a roommate.

2. Be Wary of Social Media
Social media posts may make it may seem like everyone and their mother already has a roommate and that if you don’t get one ASAP you will be banished to a single jail cell in the most obscure corner of campus. Facebook and Instagram posts often seem to exacerbate this perceived “mad rush” to find a roommate, as if the roommate inventory is going to suddenly vanish, leaving you lonely and roommate-less. This is not true! Curb this assumption and stop stressing yourself out, almost everyone is in the same boat as you. All melodrama aside, remember that you have time to make this decision, so don’t get discouraged if you can’t seem to find someone to room with right away.

3. Have an Open Mind
You never know who you could really click with. Try not to entirely disregard other incoming students based on how you perceive their Facebook or Instagram presences. In college, you will find yourself making friends in unexpected places. Bear in mind that a compatible roommate doesn’t need to share all of your interests. If you decide to go random, don’t look back and second guess your decision. Trust your instincts and decisions.

4. Use the Tools Available to you
If you decide to search for a roommate on your own, Roomsurf and the admitted students Facebook group for your college are great tools that you can use to find potential roommates! When you sign up for Roomsurf, you are prompted to fill out a detailed survey regarding your living habits and personality. Based on the information you provide, Roomsurf matches you with other incoming freshmen with a percentage that indicates your potential compatibility with other students. From there, you can send messages to the other students and make roommate connections! Incoming students often post short “bios” about themselves on admitted students Facebook pages. Even if you are too shy to post one yourself, read through the posts. You can introduce yourself to any students you think you would get along with in a private Facebook message! Although this process may seem oddly similar to online dating, embrace the awkwardness and go with it.

5. This Decision Will Not Make or Break your Freshman Year
Living with away from home with a new roommate is going to be an adjustment regardless of whether you decide to choose a roommate or opt for a roommate assigned by the school. Your freshman year will be a collection of new and exciting adventures. Although your rooming situation will be one of these adventures, it will by no means completely dictate your college experience.  If your roommate ends up being your best friend, great! If you and your roommate simply coexist, or even if the two of you don’t get along, you will learn to cope with the situation. I have friends who ended up not getting along with their roommates and still loved freshman year! It is important to remember that neither picking a roommate nor going random is a sure thing. There is no right choice. This single decision will not be the single determinant of your freshman year, so try not to worry or overanalyze your roommate situation.





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Author: Amelia Fogg

Amelia just finished her freshman year at Colgate University and has lived in Ridgewood for her entire life. She is very excited to contribute to TipsfromTown by providing some insight into the college process and experience!


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