7 Things to Look for in a College Roommate

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  • Starting college brings a lot of firsts. And for many students, one of those firsts is living with somebody other than their parents and siblings.

    While choosing a roommate can be exciting, it can also be a little scary. What if you don’t like your roommate? What if they’re mean, messy, loud, etc.?

    Well, by understanding which characteristics to look for you can increase your chances of finding the right one. Let’s take a look:

    Similar Schedules

    Whereas everyone pretty much has the same schedule in high school – attending classes during the same hours and participating in extracurricular activities in the late afternoon and early evening – this isn’t necessarily true in college. There are morning classes, evening classes, midnight study sessions, weekend parties, early- morning workouts, and everything in between.

    If you can help it, try to find a roommate who has a similar schedule. The last thing you want is to have totally opposite schedules where you’re both waking each other up at all hours of the night.

    Clean and Organized

    There’s nothing wrong with being a little disorganized from time to time, but you’ll soon discover that the small confines of a dorm room don’t leave you with enough room to be a slob. When looking for a roommate, try to find someone who is clean and organized. This will prevent a number of feuds and help you get along better over the course of the semester.

    Respectful and Cooperative

    When corresponding with different potential roommates on social media and email, pay attention to how cooperative they are. If somebody is already giving you a hard time or demanding things from you – such as in this viral email from a UCLA freshman – then that’s probably a strong sign that they are going to be controlling and disrespectful down the road.


    There’s something to be said for enjoying a lazy evening watching Netflix from your dorm room bunk bed, but you don’t want to make this a habit. College is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. If you’re a reserved person, then it’s a good idea to look for an outgoing roommate who will encourage you to try a bunch of new things.


    Naturally, people tend to group together based on similar interests and characteristics. We choose our friends based on how well we mesh with one another. And while there’s nothing wrong with this, try to choose a roommate who’s different than you. When you surround yourself with someone who has a different background, unique interests, or totally opposite career goals, you can learn valuable things from them.


    A good roommate is generous with their stuff. As you’ll discover when you’re preparing to move in, it’s much more cost-effective if you both pitch in. One person brings the TV and another person rings the mini-fridge. One person brings a rug and another person brings a floor lamp. One person brings a microwave and another person brings the video game system. When you and your roommate collaborate and share your items, you’ll instantly feel a closer connection. 

    Good Listener

    So much about college is new. As a result, you’re bound to encounter some stressful situations. From breakups to midterms, a lot can happen in just the first few months. And while a call home to mom is always a good remedy, it’s helpful to have a roommate who listens to you and provides sage advice.

    Who Will You Room With?

    While there’s no such thing as a perfect roommate, you can increase your chances of having a good college experience by finding someone who you get along with. Look for these seven characteristics and you’ll be fine.

    Off-to-College reference:

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