How to Choose a College Roommate

by Buffy Naillon, Demand Media Google

Finding a person nice doesn't necessarily make her a good roommate for you, advises Teen Vogue in an article about finding a college roommate, and while some dorm situations don't allow you to select the person you live with, much of the time, you'll have quite a bit of control over who lives with you. However, Teen Vogue also suggests you should choose your roommate based on factors more solid than having a shared favorite restaurant or TV show.

Schools That Choose For You

If you plan on living in the dorms, you may have only limited possibilities for choosing a roommate. While many schools have given students more of a hand in choosing their own roommates, some institutions still choose for you, usually based on your answers to a housing questionnaire. However, according to Teen Vogue, schools such as Penn State actually strive to put different kinds of students together. The school bases this decision upon the belief that living with someone who's different from you can offer you tremendous growth possibilities. It exposes you to worlds and ideas you'd never experience if you hadn't met your roommate. That said, if the roommate that your school selected for you doesn't fit you, keep in mind that you can change living situations often as early as the next semester or at the latest the next school year.

Modern Twists

Some schools such as Connecticut's Sacred Heart University give students more freedom when it comes to selecting a roommate. Their roommate matching service allows you to submit information about yourself and about the type of person you'd like to live with. However, regardless of whether you find a roommate by using your school's matching tools or you use options such as social media, Craigslist or online matching services such as Room Surf, you still want to connect with your possible choices on the phone if possible. This gives you a better idea of who the person is compared to her profile.

Commonalities and Compatibility

If you do have the option of choosing your own roommate, keep a few thoughts in mind. Discuss your living situation with potential roommates. Talk about factors such as study and sleeping habits, schedules for keeping common areas tidy, entertaining guests--especially those you foresee staying overnight, and the use of one another's property. Other possible possible subjects to discuss should include smoking, pets and shared expenses such as utilities. If your thoughts on this don't jell, you may have constant conflicts. Additionally, a "U.S. News & World Report" article cautions best friends against living together and suggests that moving in with a friend, but not a best friend, may offer a better solution. Stories of friendships-gone-bad abound after best friends live together. This offers you one way to avoid that, allowing you to keep your best friend and find a compatible roommate.

Final Thoughts

Lovable alien meets Superman. Such a phrase seems to come directly from a tabloid headline. However, if you've followed the lifelong friendship that existed between Robin Williams (the alien Mork in "Mork and Mindy") and Christopher Reeve (Superman in "Superman"), you'd know that this unlikely pair of friends met at Julliard as college roommates. Their friendship speaks volumes about the way a roommate situation can turn out even if you don't choose your roommate yourself. If you attend a school that makes it a policy to select your freshman roommate for you, keep in mind you may find a solid friend for life.

Style Your World With Color

About the Author

Buffy Naillon has worked in the media industry since 1999, contributing to Germany's "Der Spiegel" magazine and various websites. She received a bachelor's degree in German from Boise State University. Naillon also attended New York University and participated in the foreign exchange program at Germany's Saarland University. She is completing her master's degree in educational technology at Boise State.

Photo Credits

  • Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images