College Housing Matchups: What to Look for in an Off-Campus Roommate

College Housing Matchups: What to Look for in an Off-Campus Roommate
Are you looking for an off-campus roommate?

College is meant to be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but sour off-campus roommate pairings quickly can turn it into a stress-filled nightmare. For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you find one or more housing partners who are a good fit for your goals and lifestyle.

Main Factors to Consider

College Roommates
Study habits are one thing to consider when choosing a potential roommate.

When you are trying to get your undergraduate or postgraduate degree, you need to ensure that your environment will be conducive to both rest and study. Subsequently, it’s usually best to try to find a roommate who has similar academic interests and understands how you’ll need to come and go. If you need to get up most days for an 8:00 a.m. class, for example, you might not want a roommate who is used to partying until the wee hours of the morning.

Ideally, you should share some interests and schedule similarities outside of academics, too, as this makes it easier for you to relax together and be real friends during your down time. Individuals who spend at least some of their time giving back to their community, such as through charity or other volunteer work, often demonstrate high levels of honesty, empathy and responsibility, so it’s a good sign if you find a potential roommate with these types of non-academic involvements.

Next, consider personal preferences. For example, some individuals can deal with more noise than others or like particular types of food. Others prefer lots of visitors or plenty of personal space. You don’t need to be an exact mirror copy of your roommate here, but the more your preferences differ, the more likely it is that conflicts will sprout up.

Finding a good off-campus roommate also requires a look at candidates’ religious or overall philosophies. Views in these areas usually have an enormous influence on behavior, which can affect your roommate relationship. For example, if your potential roommate happens to be Jewish, they might want to implement certain rules or meal plans to stay kosher. Additionally, religion can influence scheduling, such as when your roommate attends services or prays/meditates.

Finance is the final area to explore in your off-campus roommate search. College costs are increasingly high, and if you’re like most students, taking classes means you have to adopt a frugal approach to living. Ask candidates politely about their spending habits, credit and methods for budgeting. Talk about services they want, too, such as faster Internet, housekeeping or grocery delivery.

Find out what their main sources of income are, as well, keeping in mind that jobs tie to roommate scheduling and that many students use scholarships, grants or loans to allow more time for academic work. The idea isn’t to know everything that’s in their wallets, but rather to get a concept of how well they manage money and what the likelihood is that they’d run into trouble with rent, utilities and other shared expenses.

With the right candidate, you’ll be able to come up with a mutually beneficial system that keeps costs low and minimizes the number of payments required.

Finding Potential Roommates

College Roommates
There are many factors that go into finding your perfect roommate.

Knowing what to look for in a good roommate is only half the battle–you have to actually connect with people and get the word out that you’re looking for a housing buddy. Start by talking with your friends and family, keeping in mind that already being acquainted with someone isn’t a guarantee of getting along in the same living space.

Another good option is to use roommate pairing services provided by your college, if available. Representatives from these services usually use interview and class information to determine which students might be a good fit for each other. If you still can’t find a roommate, post listings in your local newspaper, on websites or in other areas such as campus kiosks.

Once you’ve identified the person you want to live with you, make sure both of you create and sign a roommate agreement. Then move on to signing a formal lease with agents from or another reputable organization.


College Housing Matchups: What to Look for in an Off-Campus Roommate
Using this guide can help you find your perfect roommate(s)!

Finding a good roommate for some or all of your time in college can make your academic experience both more enjoyable and more affordable. School and non-school interests, personal preferences, religious/philosophical views and finance are all key areas you should interview potential candidates about. Make sure you guys have some similar interests, whether its health and fitness, photography, or beer. To find people who might get through the interview process well, look to friends and family, campus services or posting your own notices.

Isaac Walters provides pastoral care and is always keen to offer his support and ideas to an online audience as well as students. He is a regular contributor for a number of relevant websites.

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