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Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.
  • after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Main image courtesy of ThoughtCo.

Moving away from home to start college is incredibly exciting. Your summer before the fall semester is sure to be packed with preparing yourself, as well as enjoying time spent with family and friends. Who knows, you may even get to go on a vacation or two! While there are many things to consider when getting ready to head to college, the one that sticks out the most in first year students’ minds is their roommate situation. 

Who will your roommate be? Will you get along with them? Will they turn into a life-long friend? These are just some of the questions that swim around the minds of incoming freshmen. While no one can see the future, before you start school you can prepare yourself for living with another person. After all, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. This is why we’ve put together the top 10 questions you should ask any person you may consider as a potential roommate. In addition, we’re also going to cover:

  • How schools choose college roommates in the first place
  • What you’re looking for in a roomie
  • Questions to ask a potential college roommate

How do schools choose college roommates?

How exactly will you end up with your first college roommate?

college students in a dining hall
Thinking about getting a roommate can be scary, but it’s also an incredibly exciting time! Image courtesy of Princeton University Admission.

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While every college has their own rules when it comes to choosing roommates, most have a few options available to incoming students. You can petition to live with someone you already know (if someone from your town is also attending the same school), you can use a school specific roommate finder to request a roommate, or to find or you can let the school choose for you. Currently, many schools allow students the opportunity to pick their own roommate by requesting to be paired with them, even when it comes to first year students. However, there is something to be said for getting one chosen for you by the college, and many colleges and universities are starting to rethink that policy.

The reason behind encouraging you to live with someone you don’t know or choose based on speaking with them is that it gets you out of your comfort zone. And isn’t that a major part about what college is all about?

While upperclassmen have already formed bonds and choose with whom they’d like to live with, typically first year students are paired with another freshman they do or don’t already know for their first year. 

If you choose to allow the school to match you with another person, your school will send out a housing questionnaire at some point before your semester starts. You’ll need to answer questions about whether you like to keep things messy or ordered, whether you drink or smoke, what your sleep schedule is like, when you’re most productive, what type of dorm you’d prefer to live in (co-ed/non co-ed), etc. The college then uses the answers you give and tries to pair you with someone else who answered similarly. 

While this process isn’t guaranteed to pair you with your next best friend, it does give you the chance to make friends with someone entirely different. One of the drawbacks of requesting to live with someone you know or already share a lot in common with is that it can prevent you from putting yourself out there. When you start college you want to feel free to branch out to other people and social circles, and not stay with someone just because it’s comfortable. 

Things to consider about what you want in a college roommate

What do you want in a potential roommate?

college students walking across campus
Before quizzing potential roommates about what they’re like, consider what you’re looking for in a roommate. Knowing what is and isn’t acceptable before filling out your housing form or requesting a room with someone is an important thing all freshmen should do. Image courtesy of Fox Business.

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Whether you want to request a roommate, or you’d prefer to have the school pair you randomly, it’s always best to first consider what you’d like to have in an ideal college roommate. 

What are your cleanliness ideals?

Whether you’re filling out your school’s housing form, or looking online for potential roommates that seem nice, make sure you don’t forget to think about how you’d like to keep your shared dorm room. Think about whether or not you’d be okay with living with a little mess and clutter, or if you’d really prefer to live with a cleaner type of person. Make sure to either ask this or indicate it on your form. The battle between a messy person and a cleaner one can lead to lots of resentment, so make sure to answer truthfully.

Would you like a friend or just a roommate?

Ideally, you would be friends with everyone, but we know that’s just not the case in life. When you’re imagining your ideal roommate, think about whether or not you’d like a close friend or would rather have someone who is a respectful roommate. There are pros and cons to each. Living with a good friend is great and you’re sure to have lots of fun, but what if there’s a falling out? Or you discover that they cause you to be distracted from your studies?  It could make living together difficult.

Choosing to live with someone who is courteous but not your best friend could make living in a small space easier, and it could definitely cut down on distractions. 

What are your boundaries?

When you are thinking about your first roommate, also think about what your personal boundaries are. Are you okay with them having a different schedule as long as they remain respectful? Would you be okay living with them in a co-ed dorm? It’s essential to consider where you personally draw the line. This means you need to be honest on your questionnaire, and consider the implications of just assuming you won’t be paired with someone who would go over certain boundaries.

The same is true if you request a roommate, make sure you speak to them about these important topics and that you two really would make good roommates.

If you’re considering someone as a potential college roommate, we have 10 essential questions you must ask before you decide to enjoy your freshman year together!

10 questions to ask a potential college roommate

What you need to ask any potential college roommate before the semester begins

two female college roommates hanging out in the dorm
There are all kinds of questions you can ask your potential college roommate, but make sure you get the big ones out of the way first! Image courtesy University of Memphis Blogs.

When the time comes to quiz a potential college roommate, you should plan on being prepared with some questions. While there are tons of questions you could ask your roommate, such as what’s your favorite color, did you grow up with pets, and where’s your dream vacation, these are a little less important when you’re deciding whether or not you could potentially live with someone. After you get through the essentials on this list, ask away about their preferences!

1. Are you more of a morning or night person?

This question is so important because it really says a lot about what you can expect as far as their schedule goes. Morning people are, obviously, more likely to be up earlier and moving around the dorm. You can be a morning person and not have morning classes either, so make sure you’re taking that into consideration also. Alternatively, a night person would expect to keep at least their desk lamp on later, and potentially be typing at their keyboard into the later hours of the night. 

2. What kind of social life do you want to have?

Another great question to ask is about what kind of social life they foresee having. While no one can know for sure, this is a great way to bring up what their feelings are on having guests or significant others in the dorm room. You could also determine if they want to join Greek life, clubs, or sports. 

3. Where are you on the cleanliness spectrum?

While even the messiest person probably thinks they’re still pretty organized, it’s important to reply honestly to this question. If you’re a little messy but completely willing to tidy up when asked, or if you’d prefer to have someone closer on the cleanliness spectrum, this is a great way to avoid fights later in the year. 

4. Do you already have dorm items, and do you want to split the costs of some?

If you’re thinking of potentially rooming with this person, it’s important to know what they plan on bringing, and what they’re interested in splitting. Lots of roommates find it helpful to know in advance who is bringing the TV, microwave, electric kettle, coffee pot, and refrigerator. If some essential items haven’t been bought yet, you could use this time to discuss splitting the cost!

If you’d like to coordinate your dorm decor with your roommate, see if they’re interested in doing that. Having coordinating bed sets and pillows is a great way to tie your room together.

purple college dorm bed spread
Talk to your potential roommate about coordinating decor such as comforters and pillows and see if this is something they’d be interested in. You can check out OCM’s entire collection of dorm comforters here! Image courtesy of OCM. 

5. How/where do you see yourself studying?

While technically you could get your studying done almost anywhere on campus, it’s important to see what their preferences are and if they align with yours. If they prefer to study in the dorm as opposed to the library, you’ll need to take that into consideration when you’re relaxing or want friends over.

6. What are your pet peeves?

Even if you’d prefer not to talk about anything too negative, it can help you get a more well-rounded impression of someone if you know their pet peeves. Some people can’t stand leaving the lights or the TV on at night. Others could get annoyed when someone else uses their things or eats their food. 

Pro tip: This may be a good time to see if your potential roommate is a light sleeper or if they’re prone to snoring. While not exactly a pet peeve, snoring could be the one noise that keeps them up. You could compensate with a white noise machine or headphones!

7. Are there any specific rules you want to establish with a roommate? 

Communicating rules and boundaries are key to successfully living with someone. Ask your potential roommate if they can think of any rules they would need someone they live with to accept. Whether that’s allowing their significant other over, or sleeping with it completely dark in the dorm. Best to find out all the ultimatums before you decide to live with them!

8. What would you be okay with sharing?

This goes back to good communication. Roommates who are respectful should always ask before assuming they can use something that isn’t theirs. 

9. Do you have any allergies?

In case your potential roommate has allergies (such as tree nuts or gluten) it’s better to be safe than sorry. This is also a chance for you to disclose any allergies or food preferences you have. 

10. What do you plan/like to do in your spare time?

In order to get a quick snapshot of what type of personality this potential roommate has, ask them what they like to do in their spare time, or how they relax. One person’s relaxing hobby may not be yours! Plus you can also determine if you share some common interests, which is always good.

Take the time to ask your potential college roommate these essential questions and you should have a better idea if you’re compatible. Remember to answer any of their questions as honestly as you can and see what happens!