College Roommate Survival Guide - Advice for Students

Your College Roommate Survival Guide

You're optimistic and excited about starting college, but with that comes some uncertainty. First and foremost, you can't help but wonder what your new roommate will be like. Since you've probably never lived with a total stranger before, it's only natural to be a little anxious. With a positive attitude and the following strategies, however, you'll be ready to meet your freshman-year roomie and have a great first semester.

Here are some ways to forge a roommate friendship from day one:

Reach out

Get in touch prior to move-in day both for logistical reasons, but also to get to know the other person. After deciding who's bringing the mini refrigerator and who is supplying the TV, keep the conversation going so you can develop a rapport. Link up on Instagram or Facebook so you can stay connected over the summer. If you live nearby, you can even try meeting in person.

Set some house rules

Come up with a wish list of things that are important to each of you. The appealing thing about going off to college is the independence you'll have. However, you still need to respect the fact that you're sharing a living space with someone else, so you might as well get all of those awkward conversations out of the way from the get go. You don't have to write up a formal document as extensive as Sheldon Cooper's Roommate Agreement, but having a chat that at least covers the basics -- like designating quiet time for studying, taking turns with tidying up, rules about snack or supply sharing, and how to handle visitors -- can make for a smoother transition.

'Fess up

Everyone has quirks and habits, so be up front about yours. Whether you snore, have a peanut allergy, or play guitar, let your roommate know about anything that has the potential to affect them in some way. Then ask that he or she does the same. At least if you're both up front about your idiosyncrasies, they won't come as a shock later on.

Pick your battles

There will come a time when you'll feel annoyed at something your roommate does, and no doubt, you'll get on his or her nerves as well. It's important that you recognize which things are worth letting go, and which ones are conversation-worthy. For instance, if dirty socks are left in the middle of the floor, it's probably not a big deal (unless they're still there days later). On the other hand, if your roommate invites friends to come hang out all night during your planned study time, you might want to ask for advanced notice in the future. The key to having this conversation is to not be confrontational. It's important to work out a solution together. If roles are reversed and your roomie is asking something of you, try not to get defensive. Do your best to meet halfway.

Know your options

If issues do become serious and you're not getting along at all, or you're worried about your roommate's health, know that you can reach out to the resident assistant for advice or guidance. In serious situations, it's possible to request a roommate swap. Hopefully it won't come to that, but rest assured that you're not expected to stay in a living situation that is potentially harmful to you in some way.

By making an effort to start off on great terms, you can make the transition from roommate to friend in no time. While you might not necessarily become best friends with your roommate, it's entirely possible that you will.