Roommate relations and its effect on academic performance…Tips on how to find the right roommate

Post By: COYD Staff

Studies have shown that harmonious roommate relations have a positive impact on academic performance and student retention rates. On the flip side, inharmonious relations can cause a decrease in grades, level of happiness and retention rate. With these types of effects, this factor needs to be taken seriously by incoming freshmen.

Due to these effects, colleges themselves are taken action to prevent inharmonious relation. One issue in particular between roommates that has gotten some press in the past year is the act of being “sexiled.” In September 2009, Tufts University office of residential life reported a “significant amount of complaints” last year from roommates who said that another roommate engaged in sexual activity while they were still in the room. In The Tufts Daily, it states that in response, “the Office of Residential Life and Learning added a new stipulation to its guest policy that prohibits any sex act in a dorm room while one’s roommate is present. The stipulation further states that any sexual activity in the room should not interfere with a roommate’s privacy, study habits or sleep.”

We see that colleges are starting to get involved with facilitating a harmonious relationship between roommates, but ultimately, the best way to prevent a bad roommate relationship is finding a compatible roommate. Below are just a few of the things you need to consider when choosing a roommate or filling out the questionnaire that the university sends you that examine your preferences for a roommate. Remember to fill out the questionnaire with COMPLETE HONESTY. This is not a time for you to change who you are so you can fit a certain “college mold” you think you need to be to be cool. The questionnaire will not be posted on some public website. It is for the ResEd department only so you can be completely honest about yourself. If you like to sleep at 9 PM every night with a night light, be sure to write that on your questionnaire. The more you put on your questionnaire, the more ResEd has to find a compatible roommate for you.

Cleaning habits

Do you clean once a day? Do you clean once a semester? Are you messy? Are you OCD? Cleaning habits is one  of the top reasons for roommate grudges and fights. By stating your cleaning habits, you can get closer to  finding a roommate that has similar cleaning habits so you don’t end up cleaning for 2 people or getting angry  every single time you look at the other side of the room.

Sleeping habits

This is a very important one because some students are night owls and others sleep every night at a certain time on the dot. If you sleep with a night light, make sure to write that down on the  questionnaire. If you have to sleep with the room pitch dark, put that down. If you take naps during the day, make sure to put that down as well.

Sharing habits

Sharing is another polarizing factor for college roommates. Some people do not like it when their roommate eats any of their food in the refrigerator or uses any of their toiletries. Others are  completely fine with it. Make sure to clearly state that on your questionnaire.

Study habits

Can you study with the TV or music or people talking in the background? Do you study during the day? Do you study at night? Do you study more than you party?

Party habits

Are you a hardcore partier or do you just like chilling with your friends?

Make sure to clearly state your habits and preferences to the above factors on the questionnaire even if the questionnaire doesn’t ask for them specifically. There should be an Other Comments section. If not, submit an addendum to the questionnaire so that the ResEd department can fully know your preferences when pairing you up with a roommate.


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