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Skip the Small Talk: Questions That ACTUALLY Matter When Picking A College Roommate

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

When I was deciding between colleges, I naturally did what every high school senior does and posted on the Instagram class pages of my top schools. I included very vital information about myself, such as “I love Taylor Swift and plan on rushing.” Things that I thought would be crucial in finding my perfect future roommate/best friend. What I didn’t realize is that even if you both “love going out but are always down for a night in,” you might not be compatible in actual living situations. Here are some questions about your habits that actually matter:

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

This is HUGE because even though I enjoy going out at night, I still like to get up early. They’re not mutually exclusive, and my roommate is okay with my alarms going off hours before she gets up. Make sure you talk about specific times you usually get up and go to bed. Don’t just vaguely say you get up “pretty early.”

Are you neat or messy or okay with a little mess in the room?

I am a pretty cluttered person. I am not dirty, but my clothes sometimes get a little scattered. However, my roommate is okay with that! If you need everything to always be in its place, that is also okay! Just make sure that precedent is established before you decide to room together. 

Do you want your dorm to be a place your friends hangout or a place you keep pretty private?

This is huge. Even if someone is a social person, they might not want to mix that with the place they sleep and live. Being the pregame room can get pretty messy and loud so make sure you’re both on the same page about when and in what circumstances guests are welcome in your room.

Do you have any sleeping concerns–snoring, noise, light, etc?

You’re not always going to go to bed at the same exact time. You are going to have separate test schedules or social events. If you have a problem with light and noise while you sleep, speak up! It might seem like an awkward conversation, but in the long run, it is vital to be happy and healthy in your living space. My roommate snores (loudly), but I personally find it doesn’t interfere with my sleeping too much. If you can’t fall asleep with noise, be honest.

At the end of the day, you don’t have to be best friends with your roomie. I know that’s what a lot of incoming freshmen expect, but some of my friends that went random and were brutally honest on the living habits survey are the friends that have the healthiest living situations. When you eliminate the expectation of best friendship, and instead prioritize basic living-style compatibility traits, it takes a lot of pressure off of the living situation itself.

Katy is a first year communications major at UCLA originally from Pennsylvania! She enjoys baking, Taylor Swift, and lifting :)