If you or your child is getting ready to head off to college, there’s a good chance that they will spend their freshman year of college living in a dorm room on campus with a roommate. It’s hard to go from complete strangers to roommates, so we’ve put together this helpful list of questions to ask potential college roommates.
Review these items with future roommates and make sure you set some clear expectations before your move-in date. Getting to know your potential college roommate will help you better prepare for the experience. Transitions can be difficult, so having a good plan is always a good idea. Open and honest communication is key, so go into these conversations ready to share about yourself and learn more about your roommate. Be respectful of each other and find common ground to create a harmonious and happy living space.
Become fast friends with an Adventures from Scratch Book.
Adventures from Scratch: Friends Edition is packed with activities that will be perfect for getting to know any potential college roommates. Each activity has a few clues to help you prepare, but the fun part is the surprise when you scratch off the activity. You’ll have dozens of fun and unique activities to do with your college roommate to become closer, make some memories, and have fun together.
Why It’s Important to Have Questions To Ask Potential College Roommates
Your college roommate has a big impact on your daily life at school. They could become your best friend, or they are simply someone that you share a space with, but either way, it’s important to have an open line of communication with them. That starts before you even move in. Some schools randomly assign roommates, and other schools will allow you to search for potential roommates and select yourself.
Putting some thought and effort into figuring out what information you want to exchange with your potential college roommate will help you be prepared for your freshman year. Discuss the logistics of your physical space, learn what each person is bringing, and plan for anything you might be missing. Find out some of the basic information about them and start building your friendship in those early conversations. It’s important to be on the same page about routines, so you know that you can live together without issues.
There might be some deal breakers for people and by having questions to ask potential college roommates ready to go, you can avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations later on. Once you’ve moved in, it will be a much bigger ordeal to move or switch roommates, so it’s critical to try and flush out any of those issues ahead of time.
Questions to Ask Potential College Roommates
Now that you’re convinced this activity is crucial for success with finding your future roomie, let’s look at some of the more important questions to ask your potential college roommates. These are broken into sections that cover different aspects of your conversation. Obviously, some of these questions are more important than others to cover, but there are some great icebreakers.
The Basic Personal and Essential Questions to Ask
There are some pretty basic and important questions that are good to start with. You might already have this information from any introduction that you receive electronically, but it’s good to review this information again with any potential college roommates.
- Where are you from?
- What are you studying in school? Have you chosen a major yet?
- Do you have any allergies or medical conditions I should be aware of? You don’t need to get into too much detail, but it’s good to find out if your potential roomie has an allergy that will impact what you can bring into the room or eat in front of them.
- What’s the best communication method for you? Do you prefer texts, phone calls, emails, or something else?
- Are you familiar with the campus and area around the campus at all?
Good College Roommate Questions to Ask
College roommates are sharing their personal space while going through a big life transition. Most college students have never lived with anyone outside of their family. Learn more about the way that they live and set up their personal space.
- Have you ever shared a room with anyone before? What makes you excited about dorm living?
- Do you have any personal preferences or boundaries that I should be aware of?
- How do you handle conflicts or disagreements? Do you prefer to talk things out in the moment or wait until you can cool off a bit and think about things?
- Do you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert?
- Are you planning to bring any large items or furniture that might require space in the room? Do you want to split the cost of any electronics or small appliances we need? Like a mini-fridge or coffee maker? It’s good to make a plan so you don’t end up with multiple couches, but nothing to cook food with.
- When is your preferred move-in day? It’s good to stagger move-ins a bit so people have plenty of room to come and go without disrupting another set of movers.
- Are you comfortable with sharing some belongings or would you prefer separate spaces? Some people like to swap clothes or share condiments and food items, but you want to know ahead of time what the expectations are.
- What are your deal-breakers for a good roommate? It’s good to share anything that you have as a deal breaker as well. If there is something that would really cross a line for you, you want to know about it ahead of time so you can agree to move on to the next potential person on the list.
- Do you have any dietary restrictions? It’s good to know these things in case you ever cook for each other or split takeout.
- Are you comfortable with significant others visiting the space? What about possible overnight guests, like siblings or close friends from home?
- What is your decorating style like? Do you want to coordinate how we decorate the room or just split the space and do our own thing? Are there colors that you love or feel strongly about?
- Do you like the thermostat set on the warm end or cooler? Are you good with the window open?
Lifestyle and Daily Routine Questions
College students are newly free from the rules and routines of their family life, so it’s good to get an idea of how they operate on their own. Learn about their ideal routines and daily schedules to see if you can get aligned. It’s okay to be on opposite schedules unless their morning routines will likely wake you up each day or keep you up at night later than you’d like.
- Are you a morning person/early bird or a late-night person/night owl? Most people have a tendency to lean one way or the other, but it could depend on class schedules.
- What kind of alarms do you set to wake up in the morning? Do you use something quiet or are you the type of person that sets five different alarms and hits snooze?
- How would you feel about setting our own quiet hours for our room?
- Do you have any pet peeves that I should know about and try to avoid?
- What are your sleeping routines? Do you use a sound machine or blackout curtains?
- How often do you like to clean?
- When organizing your clothes, do you like to hang everything up or fold things in a dresser? If you have a small amount of closet space to split, it’s good to make sure that you’re on the same page.
- Do you feel comfortable entertaining guests or other college students in the room?
- Are there any routines you have that might impact shared spaces? Some examples might include exercise routines, sacred rituals for a religion, or anything that might require privacy or quiet in your shared room.
- How do you like to handle chores that are shared? Are there any cleaning chores you prefer doing or want to avoid? Where do you fall on the cleanliness scale?
- Do you prefer a night out or a night in?
- What is your comfort level with sharing food, like condiments or snacks?
- Are you planning to participate in a campus dining program or make all your meals at home?
- Is your bed made every morning?
- Do you plan to work while going to school right away? Do you currently have a job that you will be keeping during the school year?
- Are you planning on going home for breaks, like the holidays or spring break? If you aren’t going home, what kind of plans are you hoping to make?
- Do you shower in the morning or at night? This is more important to know if you share a bathroom.
- What is your self-care routine? Are there any specific things you like to do each day for self-care?
- Are you excited about any sporting events on campus? Do you plan to go to any games to cheer on the team or participate in any intramural sports?
Academic and School-Related Questions for Potential Roommates in College
College courses can be all-consuming and you should be sure that you’re in a space where you can focus on your coursework. Check-in with your potential college roommate and ask some questions about their learning style and what they are studying. It wouldn’t be great if you have a roommate that goes out a lot and focuses more on the social activities when you’re trying to study, or vice versa.
- How do you prefer to study? Are you comfortable studying in the room or do you prefer the library or another quiet space?
- What kind of class schedule do you have? Are you taking a heavy class load?
- Do you prefer morning, afternoon, or night classes?
- How are you getting around on campus and in town? This isn’t important unless you’re living off campus and could possibly carpool or walk together to and from the campus.
- Are you involved in any extracurricular activities that might affect our living arrangements?
- What are your expectations regarding noise levels during study time?
- Are you interested in Greek life on campus at all? Have you looked into any specific fraternity or sorority? Do you plan to rush?
Fun and Lighthearted Questions to Ask Potential College Roommates
Roommates will often become your close friends. You’ll spend a lot of time together in a small shared space, so you’ll get to know each other better because of proximity and convenience. It is OK if you don’t end up becoming best friends as long as you get together and have a peaceful existence that allows everyone to be comfortable at home.
- What are your favorite TV shows? Movies? Books? Having a few shared interests is great because you can watch things together or swap book recommendations and chat about favorites.
- Do you have any music that you feel strongly about—good or bad? Hopefully, you don’t have a strong dislike for their favorite genre of music.
- Are there any podcasts that you listen to?
- What is your hometown like? Is it different from the city we are moving to?
- What is your favorite type of social media? Are you active on any social media apps?
- Which part of college life are you most excited about? Which parts are you most nervous for?
- What hobbies and interests do you have? What do you do for fun?
- Are any of your high school friends or classmates registered at the school?
- Do you plan to sign up for any extracurricular activities on campus?
- What’s your favorite candy? This is always good to remember to surprise them later if there’s any fun occasion.
- Describe your perfect day. Be as detailed as possible. This is a great conversation starter.
- What is something surprising about yourself?
- Tell me about your favorite vacation you’ve ever taken. What is your dream vacation for the future?
- Are you worried about being homesick? What kinds of things do you think will make you feel better even when you’re far away?
Set Up the Conversation With Your Potential College Roommate
Once you have your initial list of questions to ask a potential college roommate, you’re ready to set up time to chat with your potential roommate. Geographical location will impact how you go about this conversation. If you’re able to meet up in person, it can really help you get to know them, but if you aren’t close by, schedule a phone call or FaceTime to chat. Pick a spot you can be comfortable and spend plenty of time going through your list of questions and hearing theirs in return.
If you want to prepare in advance, you can email them a list of questions so there aren’t any surprises or questions that they don’t feel comfortable answering. Obviously, you probably won’t ask every single question listed above. Pick the things that are most important to you to choose the right roommate.
You can always chat more than once and cover more information. Get the important stuff out of the way to see if you’re compatible with each other. On later phone calls or meet ups, you can start to get into the fun stuff, like movies, music, and other fun topics.
Closing Thoughts on Questions to Ask Potential College Roommates
College is an incredible experience where people learn so much about themselves and make lifelong friends. Starting with a list of questions to ask potential college roommates will set you (or your child) up for success when bonding with a roommate. Living with someone will present challenges and new situations, so being open and honest is important. Have these conversations and then plan some fun activities to enjoy each other’s company. By the time you finish college orientation, you’ll be a tight-knit group.
Frequently Asked Questions
Coming up with questions to ask potential college roommates will help you learn more about them before moving in. This helps reduce the potential for conflict once you’re sharing a space.
Be careful when coming up with questions to ask potential college roommates to avoid anything discriminatory or disrespectful. Keep it relevant to living together until you get to know each other.
Plan some fun games and activities to help get to know each other. The Adventures from Scratch book has fantastic options for fun activities for people getting to know each other.
Whatever you come up with for questions to ask potential college roommates, you should be prepared to answer yourself. Share whatever you’re comfortable with, but make sure to match your expectations.
Make a list of questions to ask potential college roommates ahead of time, and make sure to address any deal breakers that you have personally about living with someone.