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  • Finding a roommate is a normal part of the college experience, but it might feel like a daunting task.
  • There are lots of different ways to find college roommates, from school-sponsored matching services to apps to social media.
  • When you do find a potential roommate, be sure to ask the right questions to determine if you’ll live well together.

Finding a roommate is a normal part of the college experience, but it might feel like a daunting task—especially for those who are moving away from home for the first time. The upside is that living with a roommate can make it easier to meet new people. It can also reduce your housing costs.

If you’re wondering how to find roommates for college, start by exploring different roommate-matching services and approaches. From there, you can fine-tune your search and get to know people who might be a good fit.

What to look for in a roommate

You don’t necessarily need to find a best friend. A good roommate might just be someone who has a lifestyle that’s compatible with yours. Start by thinking about what’s important to you. For example, you might be looking for someone who keeps to themselves and does their own thing. Or you may prefer to live with someone who’s more outgoing and could expand your social circle. It’s also wise to think about red flags to look out for. That may include:

  • Excessive partying
  • Sloppiness or unhygienic lifestyle
  • Keeping hours that are incompatible with yours (early bird versus night owl)
  • A personality that just clashes with yours

How to find roommates for college

There isn’t one right or wrong way to find college roommates, but here are some potential jumping-off points.

  • Roommate-matching services through your college: If you’re going to live on campus and haven’t requested a specific roommate, your college might have you fill out a questionnaire to help them match you with a compatible roommate. It may include things like your sleep habits, cleanliness, personality, and friendship expectations. You can also see if your school offers any special-interest housing, like dorms for LGBTQ+ students or folks who share the same major.
  • Social media: Check to see if there are any social media groups for new students at your college. It’s common for students to post when they’re looking for roommates. You can browse through posts or share your own that highlights who you are and what you’re looking for in a roommate. Just keep in mind that social media profiles may not be entirely accurate. It’s best to meet up in a safe public place or virtually before deciding to live together. A vibe check can go a long way in helping you determine if they’re the right match.
  • Roommate apps: There are lots of roommate platforms out there. Some allow you to create a profile, specify what you’re looking for, and then browse around to see if you match with anyone. Others have you complete a questionnaire before matching you with potential roommates.
  • Freshman orientation connections: If you hit it off with anyone during your freshman orientation, connect with them to see if they need a roommate. Even if they don’t, they might know someone who does. The same goes for any existing students you already know. It’s another way to put your feelers out there.
  • Mutual friends: It’s worth asking if your friends know of anyone who’ll be attending the same college as you. They might make an introduction that ends up working out.

Also keep in mind that it may take time to find a compatible roommate—patience is key.

Questions to ask potential college roommates

Finding a potential roommate is the first step. The next is seeing if you get along. Asking lighthearted questions can help break the ice, but you want to gauge what kind of roommate they’d actually be. Here are some questions that may be more helpful:

  • Do you stay up late or get up early? Are you a light sleeper or heavy sleeper?
  • Do you have any sound sensitivities? Allergies?
  • What are your pet peeves?
  • Will you be entertaining friends often?
  • How do you feel about overnight guests?
  • Do you consider yourself neat and tidy? Or more relaxed about household stuff?
  • Would you be open to sharing chores and splitting any household bills that come up?
  • Can we agree to respect each other’s personal space and privacy?
  • What are your thoughts on sharing food? Clothing? Other personal items?
  • Do you prefer to study in a shared living space?
  • What's your class schedule like?
  • What’s your preferred communication style, especially when it comes to handling conflict?
  • Do you consider yourself to be on the quieter side or the more social side?

What not to do when looking for a roommate

Below are a few examples of what not to do when it comes time to find college roommates:

  • Be dishonest on your match form or roommate app: Embellishing a little could make you sound more appealing, but it’ll probably come back to bite you. You’ll likely be living with this person for the entire school year so it’s important to feel like you can be your authentic self in your living space.
  • Ruling out people you don’t know: College is a time to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Living with someone you already know might make you less likely to do that. Bunking with a close friend could also lead to conflict if you end up not being compatible roommates.
  • Overshare—or leave out important information: Telling a potential roommate your whole life story could spook them. On the flip side, failing to mention that you snore or sleepwalk, for example, could make for an uncomfortable living arrangement.

I have my roommate, now what?

Let’s say all goes well and you connect with someone you think will make a great roommate. Before you start making arrangements, consider taking steps to avoid potential conflict down the road. This will look different for every set of roommates but may include:

  • Making a cleaning schedule for shared spaces
  • Designating quiet hours for schoolwork and sleep
  • Laying ground rules for sharing clothes, food, and other items
  • Making a plan for how you’ll handle visitors and overnight guests
  • Talking about how you’ll split any shared housing costs

The perfect roommate doesn’t exist, but you can still be intentional with your roommate search. Ideally, you’ll find someone who’s easy to live with and respects your living space and boundaries.


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