4 Tips for Living with a Roommate in College

by John Montesi

Living with a roommate in college is a quintessential rite of passage and an integral part of the college experience. Roommate pairings can lead to lifelong friendships and provide support as you transition to a new living situation and chapter in life.

Nearly all colleges pair freshmen with roommates based on a survey. This can be an exciting or intimidating experience for students, but it almost always works out for the best. Here are four tips on living with a roommate in college—and how to make the most of it.

1. Lean on Each Other for Support

Starting your college career is inherently overwhelming. You have to figure out which academic buildings your classes are in, learn how the laundry machines work, and meet a ton of new people. The good news is that your roommate will be in the exact same situation!

You’ll both be adjusting to college life—sharing a living space, navigating campus, making new friends, and eating in the dining hall. Making the transition together can make it easier to build a routine and feel at home. Don’t be afraid to lean on each other when need be.

2. Communication Is Key

It can be fun getting to know your new roommate and finding out what you have in common. The two of you are placed together based on your answers to a questionnaire about personal preferences, but it’s still a good idea to have a conversation about your living situation and individual habits. Some things to ask your new roommate might include:

  • When do they like to go to bed?
  • Are they a morning or night person?
  • What’s their schedule like?
  • Do they prefer to study in the room?
  • How do they feel about having friends in the room?
  • What are their pet peeves?
  • How clean do they prefer the room to be?
  • If something is bothering them, how do they like to communicate?

Communicating your preferences early on can ensure your room is a place where you both feel comfortable and respected.

3. Use Campus Resources

While housing offices do everything they can to create successful matches, not every living situation pans out perfectly—and that’s OK! Whether you need support that a roommate simply can’t provide or your habits and personalities just don’t wind up being similar enough to create a mutually beneficial dynamic, there are resources to help you.

For instance, the Community Counseling Center at Azusa Pacific University helps students process their roommate situation (or any life situation). Additionally, Resident Advisors are present in every residance hall to help sort through potential issues, and the Office of Residence Life is there for students who wish to change rooms.

At APU, the Residence Life team is committed to creating enriching experiences through community living. There are a number of valid reasons why you may potentially become frustrated or discouraged in your living situation. Knowing that there is always help for situations that may not go as hoped can take an immense amount of pressure off you and your roommate!

4. Embrace the Experience

Living with a roommate can be a valuable experience, providing life lessons that can’t easily be taught in a classroom. You’ll learn communication skills, how to respect another person’s needs, and how to set boundaries and resolve conflict—all skills that will be useful throughout college and after you graduate. Your roommate may even become a good friend; someone you can study with, grab meals with, go to campus events with, or simply someone to chat with after a long day of classes.

Between the Residence Life team and the Community Counseling Center, Azusa Pacific University is committed to caring for your well-being far beyond the walls of the classroom. As you embrace this new experience, know that you’ll always have support.

Want to learn more about living on APU’s campus? Explore the school’s Office of Residence Life webpage for FAQs, advice on living with roommates, and more.