Top 6 Most Common Obstacles for College Freshmen: #2 Roommate Compatibility

Post By: COYD Staff

college roommate

At the beginning of this month, we had a blog posting that discussed roommate relations and its effect on academic performance. In it, we discussed how important it is to fill out your ResEd questionnaire exhaustively so that you can be paired up with a compatible roommate. There were 5 specific things we suggested each prospective freshman specifically cover in their application:

Cleaning habits
Sleeping habits
Sharing habits
Study habits
Party habits

For more information, revisit the blog post for more details.

Today we are going to talk about 3 ways you can have a harmonious relationship with your roommate after you have filled out the ResEd form and been paired with your roommate.

1) Discuss personal preferences from the beginning.

Roommates who discuss their personal preferences from the beginning can avoid a lot of problems in the future. Most of the times, your roommate is not trying to spite you and they usually have no idea that their behavior is bothering you. You should ask the following questions to get a general idea of your roommate’s personal living preferences:

What time do you like to go to bed?
When time do you usually wake up?
Do you smoke? Do you drink?
How do you feel about having guests over?
How do you prefer handling conflict?
What pet peeves do you have?
What are your study, sharing, cleaning habits?

2) Establish the ground rules from the beginning.

Now that you know each other’s preferences, you should discuss shared responsibilities (housecleaning, taking out the trash…etc.) and house rules. Like I discussed in a previous blog posting, there has been a lot of press in the past year regarding the act of being sexiled. 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. Establishing house rules early on can save a lot of time, headache and heartache down the road. Here are a few you should set early on:

Will we create a schedule laying out who will clean the common areas?
What is the acceptable amount of time you can have food laying around?
How will the cost of household supplies be divided?
How many visitors are allowed at one time and what time do they have to leave on weeknights and weekends?
Will you have to give notice for out of town overnight visitors?
Can guests be both female and male?
What are the “sexiled” rules?
Can we have parties in our room?
What is our smoking/drinking policy in the room?

3) COMMUNICATE! (Don’t let things stew!)

For many relationships, communication is the key. Sometimes one conversation can resolve a month long grudge. When you sit down to discuss a problem, be sure to be an active and genuine listener and don’t let yourself get too emotional. Allow your roommate to tell her story and be as objective as possible.


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