Preparing to go off to college is hard work. Choosing your classes, deciding where to live, and finding a part-time job are just some of the challenges you’ll face. But having to find the perfect college roommate? That might seem nearly impossible.
Rest assured—it's not. If you know how to approach the situation, finding someone to share a space with in college can be a breeze. You'll need to have an understanding of how you live and what you expect from those who live with you, and you'll need to do some networking and research. But if you do it right, you'll be able to find a great new roommate in no time.
Read on to learn seven secrets to finding the perfect college roommate.
1. Make a "roommate qualities" list
You'll never know what type of roommate you want until you do some self-reflecting. Are you messy? Are you clean? Do you get annoyed when things are left out? Are you quiet? Do you like to come home late from parties? Make a list of your own habits and use that as a guide in your search.
It's unlikely that you'll find someone who meets all your criteria, but creating a list of what's important to you is a good starting point. Some people just shouldn't live together, so to avoid a potentially negative situation, look for people who have similar habits as you. The best candidate is the one who has similar expectations.
2. Start with friends (and friends of friends)
If you have a friend who's also looking for someone to live with, that's a great place to start. But know that being friends doesn't mean you'll live well together. Let your friend know your habits and decide if it will be a good fit. If it's not, ask them if they know anyone else who's looking to live with someone like you.
Remember, the roommate relationship isn't always built on friendship. Sometimes it never develops into friend status at all. And that’s okay! As long as you can live together comfortably, that's all that matters.
3. Ask your parents' friends
There's nothing wrong with asking your parents to ask their friends if they know someone looking for a roommate. Your parents may have a friend with a son or daughter similar in age or attending the same school. Your parents are probably more connected than you think. They may not be able to help you find someone to live with, but they could lead you to new friends. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
4. Look into themed dorms on campus
Many universities require first-year students to live on campus. Some schools limit new students to freshman dorms and specific housing options, while others don't even give you the option to choose your own roommate. They simply match you with another student and you have no input on who you're going to live with.
If you're a freshman who still needs to find someone to live with, consult your campus and explore new student resources for advice. Many colleges group students by "learning communities" that connect students with common interests. This doesn't mean you'll have similar living habits, but it's a good place to start. New student services can be a very valuable resource, so don't be afraid to use it!
Living in a dorm isn't everyone's top choice, but it is a great way to make friends. It's also a great way to meet future roommates.
5. Take your search online
You can also check out search engines such as roomsurf.com to help you widen your roommate search. Sign up, complete your profile, take the quiz, and find the perfect match for you. You can then pick a roommate and send your submission to your individual school. It's a foolproof way to find someone you think you might actually be able to live with.
You can always opt to go random and have your college select a roommate for you too. Sometimes this works out better than you could have ever imagined—though sometimes it doesn’t. It's definitely the easiest option, but it can be stressful. Knowing ahead of time if you're going to get along with your new roommate can cut some of that anxiety and stress, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them before move-in day to get to know them.
6. Use Facebook groups
For some, Facebook may seem like a thing of the past, but for others, it's still a great way to meet and connect with people. Many universities have student-run Facebook groups that can help you find a roommate match.
If you look for a college roommate on Facebook, there's one key thing you need to do: be honest. Put yourself out there and describe the type of living environment you're looking for. If you're a late-night party animal, say so. If you want silence after 7:00 pm so you can have quiet time for studying, make that known.
You have to be honest about who you are and the expectations you have. Try it out, and you might be surprised at the matches you get.
7. Post flyers on campus
It may seem like a strange thing to do, but good old-fashioned print marketing can be quite effective. If you've exhausted all your other options, print up a few flyers and hang them in high-visibility areas around campus. In your flyer, make it clear that you're looking for a roommate with certain qualities. Be honest about who you are and what you want.
Does the thought of strangers contacting you creep you out? Don't worry—there are things you can do to protect yourself and your safety. If you don't want to include personal information, create an email address specifically for the flyer. That way you can screen your responses without anyone having access to your phone number, address, or social media accounts.
Related: Roommate Tips for Transfer Students
Finding the ideal college roommate can be a challenge. But if you know where to look and know what you're looking for, it won't be that hard after all. It may seem like a hopeless task in the beginning, but if you follow these tips and tricks, you're sure to find a match that's perfect for you.
Be persistent and put some time into the process. Your perfect roommate is out there—you just need to know how to find them!
We can help with the college search too. Start looking here!