The many methods of selecting a roommate: is there a “right way”?

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The many methods of selecting a roommate: is there a “right way”?

With her college decision made, Isabelle Hotard begins filling out her roommate questionnaire.

With her college decision made, Isabelle Hotard begins filling out her roommate questionnaire.

Sarah Danielson

With her college decision made, Isabelle Hotard begins filling out her roommate questionnaire.

Sarah Danielson

Sarah Danielson

With her college decision made, Isabelle Hotard begins filling out her roommate questionnaire.

Sarah Danielson, Copy Editor

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The search for the perfect college roommate can bring much stress. Worries about how to find the “right roommate” cloud students’ minds, often bringing the fear of making the wrong decision or presenting themselves negatively.

However, more than one formula can bring about a roommate that fits the bill. Below are three different ways to find a roommate, each viable options for any PV student.

#1: The Random Option

Many students, through the random option, choose to pair themselves with a roommate by chance, often with much trepidation. Some struggle with the negative aspects this option provides, like the lack of control and complete dependence on outside factors for the selection of their future roommate. However, many PV students still decide on this option despite these potential drawbacks.

Senior Isabelle Hotard is considering taking the random route. She will be attending Saint Louis University in the fall. An interesting aspect of SLU is the presence of living and learning communities which are, as Hotard stated, “assigned spaces in different dorms for people with certain kinds of interests.”

“ [These living and learning communities] are supposed to give you a group of people with the same interests as yourself and provide more opportunities to do activities together that help you learn about whatever it is that community is about,” she said.

Since these communities already group together like-minded individuals, Hotard feels it would “definitely increase my chances [of having a good roommate] because if we are in the same learning community we will have similar goals and have similar places that we want to go in life.”

Hotard also wants to avoid pinning things down before even getting to college and starting the experience. To her, not having a choice may ultimately be a positive thing. “I like to keep my options open; I don’t wanna try to predict who I’m gonna get along with and I’d rather just expose myself to different people,” she said.

Whatever happens, Hotard is ready to go with it. “[I] trust that in whatever situation I’m put in I’ll be able to make it through, even if it is negative.”

#2: Rooming with a Friend from the Past

For many PV students, the college experience will include peers from high school. A significant amount of students choose to room with someone they already know.

Senior Susan Anil is still deciding on where she will attend college. However, if she chooses to attend the University of Iowa, she already knows who her roommate will be: Katie Bullock. Anil and Bullock are close friends in high school and are willing to take their friendships to new heights by rooming together at the University of Iowa.

Anil had many reasons behind her roommate decision. Aside from the fact that Bullock is one of her best friends, she cited the fact that rooming arrangements often cause stress and can take a while to get used to. However, her strong friendship with Bullock would make this transition easier. “I would rather work through those struggles with my best friend as opposed to a stranger,” she said.

However, Anil acknowledged the drawbacks that can occur with this option. “One of the drawbacks a lot of people talk about is not meeting more people or getting out of your comfort zone because you are so comfortable being with your roommate,” she said.

Anil is not worried about this in her situation though. She and Bullock have clearly thought out possible pitfalls. “[Bullock] and I are very independent people who also have differing interests, so we are confident we won’t fall into that trap,” Anil concluded.

#3: Meeting and Choosing a Roommate Online

After getting accepted to a college, many students quickly join a social media group with other accepted students. This allows them to meet new people and perhaps find their ideal roommate.

This social media searching can come in many forms. For Senior Mackenzie Wisneski, who has committed to the University of Northern Iowa, this group was originally Panther Picks. Panther Picks is UNI’s roommate service, which matches people up based on questions they have answered.

However, Wisneski was unsatisfied with Panther Picks. After only got low-scoring matches and generic bios from other individuals, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She began DM’ing her future peers on Instagram.

This is when she finally started to make real progress. When she would message someone, her goal was clear. She said, “I would be real with people and then they would open up back to me.” Because of her openness throughout this process, she found a roommate who she is comfortable with.

She was drawn to her future roommate for many reasons. “I liked [her page] because she had personality on it and because she was the same major as me,” Wisneski said. Although Wisneski also found other people to be friends with, she and her roommate found a special bond.

To Wisneski, technology is a great way to connect with people. Because her future roommate lives in Ames, this has allowed them to converse easily. Although Wisneski realizes that technology can be a negative vehicle, she also believes that it can produce many positive results as long as the people using it are being real with one another.

Wisneski is now entering her college career with what she considers to be a “built-in friend.” Although she realizes they will also make other friends, she believes it is “nice to have somewhere to start.”

How-to-Make a Bio

Although it can be easy to be a less genuine version of oneself in an effort to appear “better,” Hotard and Wisneski stressed the importance of being real over technology. In fact, Wisneski was drawn to her future roommate because of her realness; Wisneski remembered that she was won over after her roommate mentioned her love of sloths on her bio.

“Be so real over technology instead of being fake, don’t put up a front,” Wisneski said. Hotard reiterated this point. “Just be really honest and be true to yourself because otherwise, people have no idea what they’re getting,” she said. So, although it may seem tempting to be generic, being generic to avoid standing out may lead to incompatibility later.

There is no ultimate option for how to go about finding the “right roommate.” Every person is different and the process is subjective. So, prospective students only need to worry about what method of roommate selection will fit their needs the best.