6 Things to Consider When Choosing Next Year's Roommates

The beginning of freshman year is both overwhelming and stressful. While you need to adjust to new classes, dorm life and making new friends, there is also another important component early on: finding roommates for next year. I know it sounds crazy, it’s still the first semester of a new year and you already need to make decisions for next year! You don’t necessarily need to sign any leases right now, but I’m sure most upperclassmen would agree on recommending that you have it done before the end of this semester. As if it wasn’t stressful enough, not only do you need to find people to live with, but you’re choosing from people you’ve only known for about a month! However, the main reason why this decision needs to be done in the fall is simple: apartments fill up by the end of the semester. Since that time of the year is near approaching, here are some tips on what to consider for next year’s living situation:


1. Choose friends that will be compatible to live with


During freshman year, it’s easy to overlook the different habits your friends have and to get enthusiastic about living with your brand new college friends. However, make sure you are living with friends that you’ll be compatible with in the long term. Trust me, it’s way easier to get along living with friends that have similar living habits. Living with friends that may not share as many of the same habits as you can easily lead to tension in the future. When living together, you’re seeing your friends 24/7 rather than just a few days a week, which is important to keep in mind now. This advice is critical, yet a little difficult to follow because it’s only been a few weeks into the school year. The best way to deal with this is to talk to your friends before signing a lease, and make sure that you have a conversation about living habits and preferences. Don’t rush into anything without asking questions first and being honest!


2. Try not to share a room unless you have to

It’s understandable if you need to share a room for certain purposes, but if given the option to have your own room, I definitely recommend taking it! I think we would all agree that sharing one tiny room is not easy or delightful in any way. Having your own space is essential in your busy college life. By sharing a room, you are losing the opportunity for a space that’s completely yours. Plus, it’s important to keep in mind that, unlike in the dorms, in an apartment, you’ll probably end up spending most of your time in your room instead of in the common room.


3. Three to four roommates is the perfect number

It’s great to live with friends, but when it’s five to six people, things get messy real quick — both literally and figuratively. If you want to live with friends, then I would recommend that you try sticking with three or four people in an apartment. This is the perfect number because you can live with your friends but have a less hectic and messy space. Plus, the best part is that the freezer won’t get too full! Additionally, when there are too many roommates it’s more likely that people will have different personalities and living styles too. The more people, the more problems. So, I would say stick with a number so that you’ll have multiple roommates but not too many to keep track of.


4. Don’t sign a lease if you feel pressured to

If you feel pressured to sign a lease by a friend, then maybe that’s a sign not to live with them! Your opinion on everything matters just as much as theirs, so it’s best to make sure there isn’t just one person in the group making all the decisions. Additionally, this behavior will likely transfer into actually living in your apartment, so it’s best to be cautious of it now. This also goes both ways, so don’t pressure friends who are still unsure. Let yourself and others do their research before blindly signing a lease.


5. Consider how far off campus you’re willing to go

Not only do you need to consider the people you are living with, but you also need to consider the apartment itself. In Madison, there are so many different options for off-campus buildings, so you need to make sure you find the perfect fit that will feel like home. You should live in a place that will work best with your routine. For example, it might not be best to live by Camp Randall if you’re one who likes to go to State Street a lot or has classes across campus. Make sure you and all your roommates like the building you choose; visit the place beforehand. Also, make sure you discuss this all with your parents before signing! You may be surprised by how helpful they can be.


6. Live with people you genuinely like   

Similar to compatibility, live with people that you feel comfortable with and enjoy being around. When you live with your friends sometimes there can be complications, but most times it is like a sleepover every day! So don’t jump into something because it’s the first living option you get. Meet friends you genuinely want to live with.

While it might be a good idea to start looking now, it doesn’t mean you have to sign anything tomorrow. Now is the time for research and finding your options. So then, in the next month, you can find people that you enjoy living with. Your living situation needs to be best for you based on factors like location, unit layout and roommates. And remember, you don’t have to live with a big group of friends or any at all. Even if you’re not living with most, or all of them, your friends will still be friends with you. There are so many options, so take the time now to figure out what works out for you and what will make you happy!