Most often, teenagers are used to having their own rooms and have not shared a space with another person, and definitely not a stranger. Adjusting to life in close quarters with someone you just met can be tricky. It helps to be prepared in understanding how roommate pairings work, how issues are resolved, and your options for solving those issues.
We conducted an on-campus living Q&A with the director of Housing and Residence Life for Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM), Iyisha Hampton.
RULES FOR “RANDOMLY” ASSIGNED ROOMMATES:
Do colleges have a system for pairing students together? Colleges have different approaches to finding a good roommate fit. Technology provides several useful tools to assist in this process. Residents at AUM are asked questions about their living preferences during the application process. Answers about cleaning habits, guest preferences and preferred noise levels each receive a numeric value and are used to provide a match percentage. Students who are close matches are paired in the room assignments of their choice.
Can you switch rooms once the semester has begun? Absolutely! Room changes can occur for many reasons. Some students want to experience a new residential community or living and learning environment. We keep this process super simple. A short form is completed that asks about room and roommate preferences. If the option is available, the room change is offered.
HELPFUL TIPS ON MANAGING LIFE WITH A ROOMMATE:
How do colleges handle roommate drama? Life outside of campus life has plenty of drama. Residence hall life is no different. Living with a stranger requires a lot of flexibility. Some room “drama” is as simple as a preferred room temperature or lights out time. Most situations are easily resolved by a conversation. That often includes a Resident Assistant when a happy medium can’t be reached. Students that are most successful in these situations bring an open mind and flexibility to the roommate experience and solve challenges as a team.
How to handle a situation when you and your roommate are incompatible? Rooming with new people or close friends can be tough. Our Housing team uses mediation and mutual agreements to resolve minor challenges, but sometimes… it just doesn’t workout. When that happens, room changes are a good option.
Best Ways to Be a Good Roommate: Considerate roommates are full of C’s
They are compassionate when the needs of their roommates may outweigh their own. If a roommate has a big test, a compassionate roommate will avoid having guests that may increase the room’s noise level.
They are willing to compromise. When your roommate’s preferred room temp is 70 and yours is 60, 65 is just the right thing to do.
They are also courageous. Many times, students will room with a person that grew up in a different way, with different ideals. A courageous roommate is open to staying in, learning from, and valuing that experience.