With decision day fast-approaching and housing contract deadlines on the horizon, I wanted to write about my experience finding my college roommate and share my advice for anyone who is currently going through the process or is anticipating it for the future.
Every school is different, but I know a lot of them follow a system similar to my own. For us, you have two options: go random or room with someone you already know. To help people meet potential roommates, there’s a Facebook group for the incoming freshmen class where we all posted a little bio and some pictures and listed socials so people could contact us. It’s essentially online dating, if I’m being quite honest.
In the spirit of honesty, I must confess that I did not particularly enjoy this whole process. I found it superficial and socially exhausting. You had to have really dry and obscenely repetitive conversations with at least a dozen different people. And it’s always the exact same conversation: “what’s your major? Are you committed? What are you excited to do? Where do you want to live?”. I genuinely struggled to remember who was who at certain points (oops).
All that being said, I did manage to find an awesome girl to room with. We ended up having a ton in common and were looking for the same living situation, so it worked out perfectly. The entire ordeal, from the moment I started looking for a roommate to the moment we submitted our contracts, took about four months. Obviously, it was no small feat. For this reason, I am now going to extend some advice, incase it proves useful to anyone in a similar situation.
- Do post a bio that captures who you are, but focuses on what kind of college experience you’re looking for.
- Do initiate/engage in conversations with more people than you think is necessary. The more people you talk to, the higher your chances of finding someone you click with will be.
- Do ask insightful questions
- Do remember that these people are all human. They’re feeling just as awkward and uncertain as you.
- Do ask about the social experience the other person is looking for. You want to be on the same page there.
- Do try and let the conversation flow naturally. See where things go and don’t stress too much about controlling the pace/topic.
- Do trust the process. It may seem hopeless and daunting, but you just need to click with one person.
- Do be yourself. Seriously… there’s no point in pretending to be someone you’re not. You’ll just end up miserable later on.
- Do include some specific artists/bands you like, if you’re into music. This was a HUGE help for me. I had a lot of people start conversations with me because they liked my music taste.
- Don’t overwhelm your bio with information about high school. List a few activities but don’t go overboard.
- Don’t feel obligated to carry on conversations with people you don’t click with.
- Don’t agree to anything you aren’t 100% sure about. Trust your instincts.
- Don’t rapid-fire questions. It’ll feel like an interview, and you want the other person to be able to ask some questions to.
- Don’t ask too many questions about high school– I never found these discussions to lead anywhere or reveal much about the other person. People are generally more interested in what you’ll be like in college.
- Don’t agree to room with someone just because you can’t find anyone else. You are 100% better off going random than doing this. If you already aren’t feeling confident about rooming with them, it’s not a good sign. Statistically, random roommate assignments are more successful than roommates who came into the year knowing each other. I’d take those odds over jumping into something with someone I’m not pumped about rooming with.
- Don’t stress out over housing. In the end, it’s not as big a deal as people make it out to be. In my opinion, people get really into finding a roommate because they’re excited about the prospect of starting college, and it’s about one of the only things they can do in the meantime. Who you room with is not the most important part of your college experience, so it’s not worth any lost sleep.
I hope this was helpful or interesting! Like I said, the whole experience was rather overwhelming, and I wish I’d known some things going into it that I do now. I think the biggest thing is to try. Because you can’t be successful if you’re not putting the effort in. That being said, I don’t think going random would have been the end of the world for me.
To anyone else getting prepped for college, good luck and I hope everything works out for you!