How to Choose Your First College Roommate

There are so many different ways to go about choosing your first college roommate nowadays. You can play it safe and room with someone you knew from high school. You can join the Facebook group for your incoming class and meet someone on there. You could meet someone at your summer orientation – or you could just go totally random and hope for the best. Well, if you choose the last option, then you’ll just have to cross your fingers that the situation works out okay. But if you go a different route, one that involves you meeting the person beforehand in some fashion, there are a few crucial things you should evaluate in order to make an informed decision on this roommate prospect.

Is this person a hermit or a party animal? This question is not meant to imply that every student must fall into one of these categories; quite the opposite, actually. These are two extremes that can be difficult to live with for each of their own reasons. Having a roommate who is pretty much always there can easily get on your nerves. It will inevitably cause issues related to personal space and privacy, as well as possible conflicts when you have friends over. On the other end of the spectrum, a roommate who takes the social aspect of college to an extremely high level can make your living situation problematic. They may host loud social gatherings in your dorm room way too frequently and seriously get in the way of both your studying and sleeping. Things can get very easily distracting as well as potentially risky depending on what this person brings into your room. A roommate with either one of these extreme tendencies will negatively distract you in more ways than one.

Are they messy or clean? If you’re a neat-freak and your roommate never cleans up, you will definitely be unhappy. Make sure you two have at least some kind of alignment on this scale of cleanliness. Finding a way to cooperate regarding these sorts of household chores is integral to being able to live with someone contently. You don’t want to have to harass your roommate to wash their dishes, just as you don’t want to be the one harassed. Wherever you stand on this issue, make sure your potential roommate is well aware of it and okay with it before you two finalize the co-habitation. A difference in opinions on this subject will leave nobody happy.

Is this person a night owl or an early bird? Again, your roommate does not need to be one of these extremes and hopefully won’t be, but it is something you need to take into consideration before living with them. If you love to sleep in late and their alarm is always sounding off like a siren at 6 A.M., things are going to get annoying. Or if you like to get to bed at a decent hour but they are staying up until 5 in the morning with a bright laptop screen shining through the room, you’ll find yourself very disturbed. Sleep schedules are classic ways to pit two roommates against each other, so don’t let it happen to you. Steer away from someone who differs from you in this department greatly because it will not be as easy to tolerate as you might think.

How outgoing is this person? You may like a person and enjoy spending time with them, but would you enjoy talking and spending time with them all the time? Some people view a roommate as someone to constantly chat with and hang out with, while others need their alone time occasionally. If your roommate is the type of person who will always be talking your ear off, make sure that is something you want. If you are big on privacy, this person probably won’t let you have it as much as you’d like. The same goes for the other perspective; if you are the one who wants a roommate to be a constant buddy you can have fun with, then you’ll be very bored and lonely if this person barely ever wants to be social. It is nice to have a roommate who is a friend, but not everyone sees the experience of living together as a never-ending opportunity for socialization. Being able to respect each other’s personal lifestyles is more than necessary for this to work.

When going about the selection process, remember that a person you like may not always be someone you’d like living with. Living with someone is a whole different ballpark than simply being friends with them – you won’t always get along in both situations. That is why thoroughly answering each of the aforementioned questions is so important before making your final decision. Recognize any potentially harmful differences now rather than later. Once you find someone who balances out with you well on all these factors, you’ll have a great choice for a roommate.