If you’re planning to live with roommates during your college years, it’s important to spend time defining your ideal roommate. Before you decide on a roommate, you must consider a number of important factors, including temperament and reliability. Before agreeing to share your living space with a roommate, interview him or her and make sure that the two of you can live together comfortably.

Know What You Want Out of It

Before you can start searching for a roommate, you must decide what you want from your shared living arrangement. For example, some college students want a best friend that will go with them to parties and movies. Others just want a roommate who will pay the rent and keep to themselves. You may want to live with someone who shares your own interests, or you may want someone with different hobbies to expose yourself to new ideas.

Make Sure that Temperaments Match

You and your new roommate don’t need to be copies of each other, but it’s important that your temperaments match. If you like excitement, parties and lots of socializing, you won’t enjoy having a roommate whose idea of a good time is a quiet night with a book. Likewise, you’ll only be signing up for misery if your roommate insists on holding an eternal party when you just want quiet.

Schedules that Fit Your Needs

Before you finalize your roommate choice, consider your potential roommate’s schedule. You may want a roommate whose schedule aligns with yours, allowing the two of you to work together and hang out from time to time. Alternately, you might want a roommate on a different schedule, allowing you some time to have the apartment to yourself. There are also drawbacks to each style. You won’t have as much privacy if your roommate is always around, and you or your roommate may occasionally wake each other up if your sleep schedules are significantly different.

Make Sure They Can Pay their Share of the Rent

Your best friend from high school may seem like the perfect roommate, but if they already owe you money, renting with them may be problematic. Pick a roommate that you know can pay the rent each month on time. Someone who has a steady job is more reliable than a student relying on their parents for rent money.

Similar Cleanliness Habits

For some college students, a clean dorm or apartment is extremely important to their mental well-being. Others, however, don’t mind some clutter. If you and your roommate have opposite expectations of cleanliness, arguments about the state of your living quarters are likely to erupt at any minute.

Good Communication

Living with someone who communicates well is the key to a good roommate relationship. You and your roommate will be responsible for maintaining your apartment or dorm; no one else will step up to clean up your messes or pay your rent. To avoid messy situations, you need to live with someone who is willing to discuss how to share responsibilities. Even if you do have a roommate who communicates well with you, don’t be afraid to confirm information. For example, if your roommate says he paid the rent, check with your landlord to be sure.

Shared Interests

Although sharing interests with your roommate is not essential to a lasting living arrangement, it can help bring you closer and give you something to talk about. If you enjoy playing video games, having a roommate gives you a built-in gaming partner. Two roommates who enjoy music together can share favorite bands and help expose each other to new songs. Having a roommate who shares your interests will ensure that you always have at least one partner in crime when you’re looking for something to do.

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