The Pros & Cons of Rooming With a High School Friend in College

Going to college with your high school friends can be awesome. They’ll get all of your inside jokes, they make college feel a bit more comfortable, and you’re guaranteed to have a good friend the moment you step on campus for the first time. A lot of collegiettes go to college with a friend or two from high school, and some take it a step further: they room with them. Her Campus talked to collegiettes across the country about the pros and cons of rooming with their high school friends in college.

 

Pros

You can discuss the rooming situation in person

Since you and your classmate likely live close-by, you can actually sit down together and plan out your room! Because you’re avoiding the random housing lottery altogether, you won’t need to worry about the preferences of someone you haven’t even met yet. So go ahead, talk about decorating your room and coordinate who’s bringing what. It will be way easier to figure this out with someone you already know.

You’ll already have common ground

Rooming with an old classmate means they know your background and what your hometown is like. You won’t have to defend your giant Chicago Bulls poster or get confused looks when you talk about your crazy high school teachers. These girls have experienced a similar high school experience as you and can commiserate over homesickness with you.  

This was a huge plus for Paige, a collegiette at Boston College. “We went to a really a small, Catholic all girls high school, but we were never best friends. So now it's like we already have a ton of common ground,” she says. “It's been really great, I wouldn't trade it for anything.”

Alyssa, a student at Ohio University, roomed with a high school friend and loved it for the same reason as Paige. “I'd say the nicest thing was having someone who had a clue about your past life. Sometimes you come to college and no one really understands you because they don't know where you come from. Having someone who shares history with you is comforting,” she says.

There’s no awkward “getting to know you” period

Entering the random roommate lottery can be nerve-wracking. Living in small quarters with someone else for the first time inevitably means you’ll have to compromise and sort things out as you get to know your roommate. Living with someone you already know and like skips this stage altogether. “Living with my friend from high school was great because we already knew each other so well, so it wasn't nerve-wracking or uncomfortable moving in like it could be with a stranger. We already knew what each other's personalities and habits were like so it was easier to adjust to living with each other,” says Michelle from the University of North Carolina. However, this is only true if you’re rooming with a close friend. You might not have the same comfort level with a mere acquaintance from high school!

You won't get a weird random roommate

Most girls want a roommate who will respect their social, sleeping and cleaning habits. But unfortunately, with a random lottery system, you may get bad luck and end up with someone who has a completely different lifestyle than you. Many colleges have you fill out a brief survey prior to matching, but those can be overly simplistic. “The questions they ask you on matching surveys [at my college] don't ask about sleeping schedules so my roommate and I went to bed and woke up at completely different times. It was a nightmare,” says Emma, a student at Purdue. Living with someone you already know allows you to bypass this system, if you have similar habits.

Cons

 

It can be awkward to turn down a classmate

If your classmate asks to room with you and you don’t want to, it can be really awkward to say no. “I didn’t want to ask my classmate, because I was afraid they might say no,” says Justine, a collegiette at Johns Hopkins. “And I’m glad I didn’t because I became great friends with my roommate!”

If your classmate asks you to live together and you aren't feeling it, be honest. Tell her you’re really excited to just try the random lottery and meet someone totally new. Or if you want to ask someone but are nervous that they’ll say no, don’t be afraid to ask! Suggest it casually to test the waters, and take it from there.

It might be harder to meet other people

Getting a random roommate or choosing to live with someone you meet on Facebook can be a good idea because you can meet new people and learn how to be flexible— both great life skills. Especially if you’re entering your first year of college, meeting new people is essential and can be really fun! Rooming with someone you already know makes it easier to feel content and miss out on all of the fun dorm activities that let you mingle.

Vanessa, a student at Johns Hopkins, came to college with a classmate but decided to use the random lottery system. “I wanted to meet new people. That’s why I came to school across the country. I wanted a different experience. I wanted to get to know new people and get out of my comfort zone and meet people from a different background. Diversity is something I value,” she says.

There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing”

You’ve probably heard advice not to room with your best friend. And there’s some truth to that: many collegiettes worry that they’ll get sick of their high school BFF in college, and for good reason.  Great friends and great roommates are not the same thing.

“I love my [roommate] but the little things are frustrating. You can get annoyed with their personal habits, like cleanliness or sleep schedules. My roommate goes to bed at four in the morning. It can be ridiculous,” says Andrea, a student at the Peabody Conservatory.

Living with your friend is a whole other game than just being friends. With 24/7 contact, there’s a lot of time for drama and conflict.

“I would live with a friend again as long as I knew that we would be compatible roommates – just because you're good friends doesn't mean that you'll be good roommates!” Michelle says.

You might not feel comfortable confronting her

Unlike with some girl you have no obligation to like, it can be really awkward to bring up conflicts with your friend, like all of the hair in the shower drain or her loud friends when you're trying to study. “It’s awkward to confront her because we’re so close,” says Lisa*, a collegiette at Johns Hopkins University who lives with her best friend from high school. Lisa says communication is essential. Any roommate, previous friends or not, can benefit from signing a roommate contract or discussing ground rules first in case conflicts do arise. And if conflicts do arise, contact your resident advisor (RA). They’re a great resource.  

 

All in all, there are many perks and cons to rooming with a classmate from high school. But according to these collegiettes, who you room with is only one facet of college life. You’ll undoubtedly have new, interesting experiences whether you live with your old classmate or a new friend.

*Name has been changed