Congratulations! You’ve accepted your offer of admission at your dream school, and you’re eager to get all of your ducks in a row before move-in day. One of the tasks you’ll have to tackle is signing up for housing, which most likely means you’ll need a roommate. Not sure where to start? No worries! We’ve complied a short list of our best advice for how to find a college roommate.
Start With People You Know
If you and your best friend decided to go to the same college, you probably wouldn’t be reading a blog about how to find a college roommate. Even though your closest circle might have decided to enroll elsewhere, other students from your graduating class may be attending the same college as you. Ask if anyone is looking for a roommate! You might not be best friends, but a familiar face could be a welcome comfort as you begin your new journey at college.
You could also look for a potential roommate in the circle of people you know outside of your classmates. Maybe someone you played sports with or did community theater with is headed off to college, too. You can even ask your mom’s-brother’s-cousin’s-neighbor’s nephew or niece, whom you built sandcastles with that one time at the beach when you were four. Who knows? It could be destiny reuniting you!
Join Your Graduating Class Social Media Pages
Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or a social channel we haven’t even heard of yet, these platforms can be a great place to connect with new people in your incoming class. A lot of students will post a little bit about themselves looking for people with similar interests—things like intended major, their hobbies, their favorite Netflix shows—the same things you might discuss when meeting someone in person. And as always, use caution and don’t get too personal with what you include in your post. Leave some mystery for when/if you meet in person.
Take a look at what other students are posting and see if anyone has similar interests. If you feel like you might have something in common with them, reach out! Or if you’re feeling outgoing, post something yourself and see who responds. If you find someone whom you connect with, you can proceed with the housing application process together.
Fill Out the Roommate Matching Form Offered Through Your University
A lot of schools (including UIUC!) offer roommate matching surveys you can fill out when applying for housing. They’ll often ask questions about your habits, things like “When do you typically wake-up or go to sleep?”, “Are you comfortable sharing things?”, and “How often would you want to have friends over?” Once you fill these out, the university can help align you with someone who has similar habits.
It’s a risk, but going with a random roommate can pay off. The idea that finding the perfect roommate will set the tone for your entire time on campus can add more worry to an already stressful experience, so let it go! Letting the universe (or university, depending on how you look at it) decide for you gives you one less thing to worry about. And if you’re still not sure, remember that your roommate may become your closest confidant, or they may just be someone you live with. Both of those options are just fine!
So, in the spirit of trying something new, go with a random roommate! It’ll give you a chance to make a new friend, and you never know, you might make a great connection with someone you would’ve never met otherwise. And if things aren’t working out, your RA is there to help. They’re your go-to for advice and help mediating roommate conflicts, and can even assist in room changes if the situation gets too bad.
Re-Evaluate for Year 2
The truth is, you can follow all of these suggestions on how to find a college roommate or even go to school with your best friend, but it still might not work out as perfectly as you imagined. And that’s okay! Remember that the housing agreement you sign your first year is not a lifetime contract, and that it’s perfectly normal to switch it up your second year.
As a first-year student, you’ll meet new people and make new friends who will give you a much better idea of who you’d like to live with. So, when the time comes to sign up for second-year housing, you can be certain that you and your roommate are a good match from the start.
Well, there it is, our advice on how to find a college roommate. We hope it helped give you some clarity with this process, and we wish you the best of luck on your roommate search!