National research has shown that at least 76% of first-time college students have never shared a room before coming to college. Naturally, the selection of a roommate is a strong initial source of anxiety for many students. Expectations that you’re going to make a life-long friend are just as common as fears that you may not get along. It is vital to your success and your enjoyment of the college experience that you build connections and relationships to your campus a roommate is one of the best places to start.
There are two ways to obtain a roommate: 1) By mutual request; 2) We will match a roommate for you.
1) By mutual request, you and another person may request to be roommates as part of your Application for Housing. You may make this request at any time by accessing your MyHousing account. Just remember, you need to request your desired roommate AND they need to request you for the match to be official. Once you have both requested each other, your myHousing roommate status will say “matched”.
2) If you do not make a request, we will assign a roommate for you. Many colleges use long lists of questions and personality traits to help identify possible roommates, others simply make assignments without regard for preferences. National research indicates that both of these methods are equally successful.
Through experience, we have found that by asking our residents to answer a few questions, we can avoid most roommate conflicts. Unless you are part of a Living Learning Community, the Department of Housing and Campus Life will determine your roommate assignment on several basic factors: gender, age, hall preference, smoking/non-smoking and room temperature preferences. We find that paying attention to these particular preferences prevents most roommate concerns.
If you have selected a roommate that you already know, living together will likely bring a whole new dimension to your relationship. Sometimes, these changes are very positive. Often, they are not. Thoughts or comments like “Geeezz, I didn’t know you snored so loud?” and “Have you always been a compulsive cleaner?!” or ”You’re a total slob!” are common. Think carefully about rooming with your best friend and consider being suite-mates rather than roommates. After all, college is about expanding your experiences. Look forward to making a new friend and keeping an old one.
Like all other relationships, your relationship with your roommate will have its high and low points. Getting along with your roommate is going to require patience, good communication and compromise. These skills can be difficult to master, especially if you’ve never had a roommate before. Although moving often seems like the only solution to roommate conflicts, this isn’t always the best solution. Most roommate conflicts arise when communication and respect break down, or never really begin. Start by learning about the person who is your roommate. The Roommate Starter Kit below provides a number of topics you and your roommate may wish to discuss to avoid problems before they happen. Communicating your feelings and ideas effectively and constructively is an incredibly valuable skill; one that will help you in all facets of your life. The Conflict Solution Tips below can help you resolve most roommate issues before they become serious. Our staff are here to help you. Your Community Assistant (CA) can help you with support, advice and basic mediation. If the conflict persists, your CA and you and your roommate may work with the Residence Director (RD) to help facilitate discussion and reach resolution. Your Residence Director has the ability and experience to make a determination as to whether a move is necessary or appropriate to solve the problem.
Conflict Solution Tips
- Try to deal with issues before they become problems.
- Take steps to deal with conflict.
- Communicate your expectations of the relationship.
- Confront the problem, not the person.
- Deal with the issue immediately; don’t let things build up.
- Deal with the issue on a one-to-one basis. Don’t involve friends, neighbors, parents, etc.
- Speak to each other. Don’t leave notes or send emails.
- Express your feelings and needs in a non-blaming way.
- Take ownership for your part of the problem.
- Listen and seek to understand the other person’s point of view before giving or defending your own.
- Do not rush in to solving someone else’s problem; take time outs when needed.
- Encourage different points of view, controversy, and honest dialogue – and then respect those ideas.
- Focus on what can be done, not what can’t.
- Make reasonable, realistic requests of one another.
- Solve the problem and strengthen your relationship.
- Use objective criteria when making decisions.
- If you have tried these steps and it still doesn’t work, meet with your CA.
Roommate Starter Kit
- Where is my roommate from?
- What is he/she most looking forward to this year? Least looking forward to?
- What does he/she like to do in his/her free time?
- How are phone messages going to be handled?
- What about neatness and cleanliness of the room? How much mess is too much? What will we do if one of us does not equally share in the responsibility of cleaning the room/bathroom?
- When is it okay to have guests of the same sex visit? What about guests of the opposite sex?
- If one of us is gone for the weekend, is it okay to have someone stay over and sleep in our bed?
- Under what conditions and at what time of the day or night do we each study best?
- At what times of the day do we each function best?
- How do pressure and stress affect each of us? How do we each react when we’re “stressed out?”
- What about borrowing/using each other’s belongings?
- What are our individual needs for privacy?
- How will we handle payment on shared items like the refrigerator or toilet paper?
- How much sleep do we each need? What can we each sleep through and what keeps us awake?
- How will disagreements be handled?
- How do we each react when we’re angry?
- In what ways are we alike? In what ways are we different? How will these similarities and differences impact our relationship?
- Do any of us have a health problem that the others may need to be aware of?
- What are our individual thoughts and beliefs concerning the use of alcohol?
- What part does religion or personal value systems play in each of our lives and what effect will this have on our living situation?