Ask a Collegiette: Finding Your College Roommate

Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.

How do you find a college roommate? – Tyler


Tyler,

Getting to know your roommate can be one of the most exciting (and nerve-wracking!) parts of freshman year, and the process of actually finding said roomie can be daunting. To make it easier for you to understand all of your options, I’ve broken it down into categories:

1. College questionnaires

Most schools use a college questionnaire system to help pair you with a compatible roommate. The summer before you move in, you’ll likely get a questionnaire asking you about your lifestyle and habits, like whether you’re clean or messy, whether you’re a smoker or a partier, what time you usually go to bed and what you’re looking for in a roommate.

Alternatively, some schools may use a more minimal questionnaire that just asks you to rank your top dorm choices. These questionnaires are usually matched up by computer software, but if you go to a smaller school, they might be done by hand.

While it can be tempting to lie or exaggerate on your questionnaire, it’s important to be honest about your preferences! I was matched up with my freshman roomie through a college questionnaire, and even though we didn’t hang out much outside of our room, our lifestyles were super compatible, so there was zero roommate drama.

2. Room with a friend or use the freshman Facebook group

Not all schools allow you to do this, but you may have the opportunity to choose your roommate before you get to school. Some freshmen choose to room with a friend from high school, and some meet people at accepted student days or on the freshman Facebook group and really hit it off.

While choosing a roommate yourself can take the uncertainty out of the situation, keep in mind that the people you have fun with aren’t necessarily the people you want to live with. I love my best friend as much as the next girl, but I’m in bed by 10 p.m. and she’s doing homework until 3 a.m., not to mention her clothes on the floor would drive me crazy! If you do decide to choose your own roommate, go over what expectations you have beforehand so there are no surprises.

3. Roommate-matching websites

If your school doesn’t require you to fill out a roommate questionnaire and you don’t have anyone in mind whom you could see yourself living with, online roommate matching services might be worth a shot, particularly if you go to a big school. Websites like Roomsurf and RoommateConnect offer services to match you up with a registered student at your college and put you in contact with students you’re compatible with. Sarah, a junior at Gonzaga University, found her freshman-year roomie on Roomsurf, and the two really hit it off.

“I ended up rooming with her sophomore year, too, and she’s one of my best friends at school!” Sarah says. “The survey process was more of a starting-off point, but actually talking to all of the people on Roomsurf was way more helpful. I talked to about four or five people before I met my current roommate, and things really turned out for the best!”

Keep in mind that your options are limited to those who have signed up for the service, and you may have to talk to a few different people before you find a good match.


Of these three main avenues for finding a college roommate, I definitely recommend filling out a roommate questionnaire if your school offers one. Moving into a room with someone you don’t know can be tricky, and clashing schedules and social habits can really put a strain on a potentially amazing relationship.

Regardless of how you find your future roomie, having a conversation with her before move-in day about what you’re comfortable with (totally cool with the occasional sexile) and what your expectations are (as long as you put my pre-packed bag with my clothes and toothbrush outside the door) will help things run smoothly and foster a healthy relationship with your new roomie.

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