The Search for a Roommate


Mackenzie Brannon

Mackenzie Brannon’s dorm room in East Halls at Penn State.

Emily Ishler, Staff Writer

College life means a lot of stress for your senior year. From debating what major to do, to which college fits best, to how you’re going to afford it all, it’s one of the most stressful times of your teenage years. Even when you have it figured out, the question remains: who are you rooming with? Furthermore, how do you even begin to find a roommate?

Some students decide they’re going to a room with their friends. Other students try to find a roommate online through different Instagram or Facebook pages. The rest decide to let admissions choose a random roommate for them.

If you decide to find a roommate online there are a couple of questions you should ask. When are you starting: summer or fall? What do you plan on majoring in? (It can be different than yours, this is just to see if you will have a similar workload.) Are you a morning or night person? Are you a clean and organized person, or a throw-things-wherever type of person? What do you like to do for fun?

Followed up with, are you a person who likes to stay in or go out? What type of music do you like to listen to? Based on what they say you may find yourself either intrigued by them or thinking about finding someone else. Either way is fine because finding someone who matches your personality is important.

When searching online, reaching out to as many people as possible is key. Some students also find it helpful to post on their class page (at whatever college they’re interested in) pictures of themselves with a bio. There are a couple of key things to include: your name, where you’re from, your major and when you’re starting, things you enjoy doing, and any social media so people can reach out to you. Include fun pictures of you doing things that you enjoy, places you’ve been, or pictures of you with friends/family. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to represent you.

Many seniors from previous years and in the current year say it’s like a dating app; to an extent that’s true. It may feel weird and awkward to talk to random strangers and ask all these questions but just know every student searching online is doing the same thing. That said, don’t take it personally if someone ghosts you or says they’re rooming with someone else.

While you may not become close with everyone you reach out to, you can still make friendships. Freshman at USC, Caroline Simon was lucky and ended up with some of her closest friends.

“I found 2/3 of my roommates on Instagram and the 2 that I found are some of my best friends at USC. One of my other good friends I met by way of the process of trying to find a roommate… I would say I had great success with finding my roommates before school but it was definitely stressful and somewhat of a coin toss,” Simon explains.

While students can find a person they click with online, they can still have random things happen to them.

Freshman at Penn State, Kenzie Brannon talks about her unique experience: “My roommate and I got along really well, she was from New Jersey, and the process of picking her was super successful. Unfortunately, my roommate was homesick and halfway through the semester she dropped out of the university.”

It was quite a turn of events for Brennan but she jumped on this opportunity to use it to her advantage.

“At that point, I had already made so many friends. I jumped on that and chose my friend. […] The morning she dropped out I emailed [admissions]. I went straight to them in East Halls and it worked out perfectly fine,” Brannon elaborates.

Finding a roommate online isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Going random is always a possibility too.

Ben Kuhns is a sophomore at Penn State. “I just went with random. We didn’t become really good friends but we still talk and hang out every once and a while,” Kuhns said to how he chose a roommate.

Finding a roommate is just another part of college, but it can seem scary and intimidating. Even if you end up with someone you don’t like, you will meet other students on your floor or through your classes and activities. There will be plenty of time and opportunities to find a new roommate for the following years.