College Roommate 101

Two Girl College Roommates Eating Pizza - Lighthouse College Planning
Living with someone else can be very challenging especially if you have never met the person and did not have much say on who you would be living with. Colleges and Universities will take measures to try and match you up with your ideal roommate but living with someone else while you are figuring out how to be a college student can still be challenging. Here are 3 tips to help you and your new roommate have a successful first year of school.

  1. When you fill out your housing form, and roommate form be brutally honest. The form will ask you questions about your study habits, sleeping habits, and social habits. Make sure that you explain exactly how you are and exactly how you hope your roommate will be. For example, if you are a morning person then explain that you will get up early which means that you will want the lights off by 9:00pm. If you can’t fall asleep until your roommate is also trying to fall asleep then specifically say that. Many roommate arguments happen over the use of space and how you both schedule your time in your room. So, do your best to specify your needs and wants.
  2. Create a roommate contract. Some schools automatically require these within the first week of school, but if your school does not require it do it anyway. These roommate contracts will help you guys discuss how you will use your room, and what your schedule will look like. If you do not want your roommate to borrow something without asking, make sure that is in the contract. If you want the room quiet by 9:00pm on school days then say that.
  3. Compromise. Living with someone and sharing space is all about compromise. You might not like the same tv shows as your roommate, that’s ok, discuss times when you can use the tv and when your roommate can use the tv. If there is something that is a non-negotiable for you or for your roommate then make sure that is something that you write down in your roommate form and roommate contract.

Living with someone is all about communication. Learning how to communicate with someone can be difficult but if you follow the above steps that should help. If for some reason you are having problems with your roommate, like they are going against the agreed upon contract, or putting yourself or themselves in physical, emotional, or mental harm then tell someone. You have a Resident Advisor/Community Advisor (RA/CA) for a reason. Set up a meeting with them to discuss your concerns, and they should be able to advise you on how to handle the situation or explain the process for switching roommates if it comes to that. It is okay if your roommate does not become your best friend, but if you learn how to communicate and share a space with someone you should have a successful year.