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College Roommates: 11 Most Common Student Questions

Starting college is one of the most challenging yet rewarding times in a young person’s life. You feel overflowed with different emotions and uncertainties, and you may have many questions and may feel a little nervous entering the unknown. You may have questions like who your roommate will be, or will you have to find your own? 

Here are 11 most common student questions about college roommates:

  1. Can you choose your roommate in college?
  2. Do you have the same roommate all four years of college?
  3. Can your college roommate be the opposite gender?
  4. What are good questions to ask a potential roommate?
  5. What if I can’t find a college roommate?
  6. How many roommates do first-year students typically have?
  7. Do all dorms require roommates?
  8. How do you pick a good roommate?
  9. How do colleges pair freshmen roommates?
  10. How important are roommates in college?
  11. What are the benefits of having college roommates?

This article will explore these most commonly asked student questions and provide clear answers. That may settle some of those first-day jitters that may be lingering in the back of your mind. 

College Roommates - common questions.

Can You Choose Your Roommate in College? 

Attending college is already stressful enough. You might worry if you have the money to cover all expenses, and you also need to make sure you have the time to study. Roommates should be one of the least of your worries. 

You can choose your roommate in college if you attend one of the colleges that allow this. But most colleges still have single-sex dorm rooms and assign roommates. There are now over 150 colleges that allow some, if not all, students to decide who their roommates will be. 

Some of these colleges have coed dorms and believe that students should have the right to choose roommates they are comfortable with. 

These dorms are called gender-neutral living. 

These gender-neutral dorms might still be separated by wings or floors and have separate bathrooms, but, you can expect to see people of any gender wandering the halls. 

Gender-neutral living colleges give students the freedom to choose their own roommates, and provide not just heterosexual students, but LGBTQ+ students and non-binary students, the right to live with someone they are comfortable around. 

Do You Have the Same Roommate All Four Years of College?

There are many reasons why you may end up with a new roommate each year. Many times students resign, drop out, or their situation changes. 

You will most likely not have the same roommate all four years of college. There are exceptions, such as you choosing your roommate and finishing college together. However, there is a rather large probability that you will change roommates every academic year or so. 

That will also depend on your college and its policies. 

If you are randomly assigned a roommate, which can happen that you feel you are unsatisfied with for any reason, you can speak with your R.A. and ask for a switch. 

Depending on the circumstances and situation, your college may allow a change in rooms. There is no guarantee that you may be permitted to switch dorm rooms, and it will likely depend on the reasons and your specific case. 

Can Your College Roommate Be the Opposite Gender?

Many colleges continue the tradition of gender-separated wings or floors. However, most only separate student dorm rooms by gender but allow co-ed floors. 

Some colleges allow students to have roommates of the opposite gender. These policies have relaxed over time, and colleges are starting to understand that gender doesn’t always mean comfort. As colleges move into the modern era, some universities are opting to allow students to pick their roommates.

That means that any student can live with whoever they choose, including that of the opposite sex. 

Some traditional families or lifestyles may view these mixed dorms as a negative aspect of college life. There are also concerns regarding sexual harassment or being in danger. Colleges take these concerns seriously, and if you have any issues, immediately report them to your college. 

What Are Good Questions To Ask a Potential Roommate?

Finding the best roommate match is essential when searching for someone to live with during your college years. If your college randomly assigns you a roommate, you may not have the option to ask as many questions as you want. 

However, if you actively seek a roommate, getting to know your potential living partner is essential to finding the right fit. 

Here are good questions to ask a potential roommate: 

  • What is your major? 
  • Do you have a job? 
  • What is your sleep and school schedule? 
  • Have you ever had a roommate before? 
  • Do you smoke or drink? 
  • Can you pay for rent and other utilities? 

You should also be aware of the Fair Housing Act, as some questions might be offensive or against the law. Just be careful of what you ask your potential roommate.

What If I Can’t Find a College Roommate? 

Many unexpected things can happen when you go off to college. You will make friends and create memories with different experiences. However, what happens if your potential roommate that you’ve bet on doesn’t show up? 

If you can’t find a college roommate, check with your college to see what the next steps are. Colleges differ between policies, and if your roommate doesn’t show up, you should check with your R.A. and housing office to find out what to do next and what your options are. 

You should always check if there are any rules regarding no-shows in dorms. Please do your best to contact your roommate to review their situation and be alerted if it changes anytime soon. 

If your housing office and R.A. can’t help you, your best bet would be to reach out to any online community that supports college students and find fitting roommates. Remember to ask the right questions before moving in with someone, even if you are in a tight spot.

Living with someone you are comfortable with is essential.

See College Roommate Doesn’t Talk? Here’s How To Deal With It

How Many Roommates Do First-Year Students Typically Have?

Stereotypical college movies and T.V. shows usually show students having two or three roommates, but that is a rare sight. This common misconception can confuse students when they get to experience college for themselves. 

Most first-year students have one roommate and do not have multiple roommates. Some students can opt for a private room if they have the income to support it. There are many different resources and options for students with roommates and it depends on which college you choose. 

Before deciding what college you want to attend, you should research the policies for roommates and what fits your personality and circumstances best (source).

Many students are reluctant to live on campus due to crowded dorms and other concerns. See My College Roommate Won’t Stop Talking (Study Challenges).

However, some scholarships require you to live on campus, but there are ways around this. For example, you can technically live in a dorm but spend most of your time somewhere else. Many students decide this is the best for them if they have the money to do so. 

Do All Dorms Require Roommates?

Dorms are such a large part of campus life, and you will meet friends and maybe even potential partners here. You will experience new things and discover interests as you grow into a college student. Dorm life will become customary to you and your peers. 

However, how many roommates are usually in a dorm room? 

Not all dorms require roommates, but they are set up to accommodate at least two people to a room. Dorm rooms typically consist of one roommate, essential furniture such as beds, dressers, lights, and nightstands. You may even receive a small kitchen or kitchenette and a bathroom. 

These essentials may vary. Be prepared to research your college’s dorm life before deciding where you want to attend. 

If you pay extra to your college, you may be allowed to have a private dorm. That is common for first-year students and can happen depending on the policies of your college and housing office.

Some colleges have suite dorms or apartment-style dorms that may be less available for first-year students. If you want to live in these dorms instead of the traditional dorm, you will need to sign up as soon as possible and have any roommates lined up before you confirm your interest.

See What Do College Dorms Come With?

How Do You Pick a Good Roommate? 

You have picked out what college you are going to attend, and you already have everything set up and ready. Now, all you have to do is decide on a roommate. However, you are unsure of how to pick the right person for you. How do you know if this person is a suitable roommate for you and your situation? 

Here’s how to pick a good roommate: 

  • Look for similar interests.
  • Find common ground.
  • Complementing personalities. 
  • Shared cleanliness. 
  • Similar schedules.

There are many thoughts to consider when deciding the best roommate for you. You should make sure that necessities can be met, such as rent and utilities. 

Sharing common interests and having common ground such as majors or personalities is also essential. Cleanliness and shared chores are also something to consider. 

A similar schedule can also help when sharing a room with someone (source).

How Do Colleges Pair Freshmen Roommates?

If you have decided not to pick a roommate yourself, or your college does not allow personal choice, you may be assigned a roommate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some of the best friendships form from college-assigned roommates. 

Colleges will usually assign roommates based on a questionnaire filled out before attending your school. This questionnaire matches students based on similar interests, common ground, and study habits. 

You may go into your dorm not knowing anyone, but having a roommate can increase your chances of making friends and reaching your full potential socially. 

If you go to college with a friend of your choice, you may tend to stick with that close friend and not reach out to new people. Sometimes a randomly assigned roommate is best for you and your circumstances.

How Important Are Roommates in College?

If you have a college roommate, you may gain a new friend or reach a broader range of social interactions. However, friendship is not the only important part of having a roommate. 

Roommates may not end up being your best friend, as you may feel awkward, or you both may run with different groups of people. However, that doesn’t mean you both can’t have a rewarding experience together as roommates (source).

Roommates are important because they can help you study or give you a different perspective on a problem or situation in your life. You can be there for each other if need be. Studies also suggest that you may increase your GPA and physical fitness just by having a decent roommate.

What Are the Benefits of Having College Roommates?

Roommates can be your friend or your enemy, or even somewhere in between. Some students will opt out of roommates altogether, and others will be stuck with their assigned roommate There are, however, some great things about having roommates. 

Here are the benefits of having college roommates (source): 

  • You split the cost of living.
  • Friendship 
  • You aren’t alone all the time. 
  • There is safety in numbers. 
  • You save money.
  • You meet more people.

It isn’t always the best situation for some people who prefer to be alone, but there are some profound benefits to sharing a place with someone you feel comfortable around. If you ever have any concerns or run into any problems regarding your roommate in a dorm, be sure to speak with your housing office or R.A.

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