Have you been hit with that suggestion? Maybe it’s your best friend, or maybe just a classmate who’s asking. Perhaps you yourself are considering asking a friend to be your roommate.
It’s decision time, and this choice will affect not only your first year of college but may also carry over to the rest of your college years—and beyond. Should you bring a buddy from home, or take your chances with a stranger?
“Based on all my years of experience, it’s really a toss up in terms of success,” reports Patrick Connor, executive director of Residential Programs and Services at Indiana University. “We have seen hometown friends room together for one, two, three years or more with few problems—and we have seen hometown friends experience serious problems in just the first few weeks on campus. But the same things can happen with a roommate you don’t know at all.”
Joan M. Schmidt, associate director of residence life at Central Michigan University, heartily recommends not bringing a roommate from home. “Knowing someone and living with someone are very different,” she points out. “College is not like high school, but rather an opportunity start a new life.”
Some universities, such as Central Michigan University, offer computer matching. “You enter information about your lifestyle and then get to exchange e-mails with a potential roommate, using code names for privacy, to talk about room issues,” Schmidt says.
“College is all about learning and expanding your horizons, so I tend to encourage people to take a new roommate,” comments John Lauer, director of residential life and housing at Colorado College. “You definitely need to ask yourself ‘What are my hopes for college?’”
Other questions to consider …
- Will my transition to college be easier rooming with a friend?
- Am I looking for a fresh start?
- Is this my decision and not something I’m being talked into?
- Would rooming with someone from home “tie” me to this friend too much?
- Have I considered that I can keep a friendship with a hometown friend at college without rooming with him/her?
- Am I the type of person who is anxious about the transition to college and would benefit from not worrying about my roommate situation?
- Do my hometown friend and I agree about issues such as using each other’s items, having friends over, sleep habits, television/music/noise preferences, etc.?