As students choose their future colleges, many choose to forego the university system and find their own roommates online

By Kate Magill, ’13

The acceptance letters have been ripped open, and the enrollment checks are sent. Now the only step left in the college preparation process is to find the perfect roommate. In past years, colleges have taken the lead in this aspect of university life by either randomly assigning roommates or using their own questionnaires to find matches. However, recently an increasing amount of incoming students have chosen to forgo the school’s system and find their own roommates online in an attempt to ensure a perfect match.

This growing trend of finding one’s roommate online began with the site Room Surf in 2009, which holds networks for over 1000 colleges. According to the site, their matching process starts by allowing students to create a profile and connect with their school’s network on the site. Next, students fill out a roommate survey, in which they answer questions about their personality and living style, as well as how they would like their future roommate to respond and the importance of each issue on the quiz. Finally, the site pairs students based on compatibility.

However, Room Surf is not the only way for students to go about finding a roommate, as Facebook is now used as a medium to discover matches. Multiple colleges have now set up their own pages for incoming classes, on which students can write or post a video about themselves and what they are looking for in a roommate.

One student who has chosen this format is senior Hadley Schuermann, who found her future roommate for the University of Cincinnati through the school’s Facebook page. Schuermann said she chose to find her roommate this way in order to make the process of going to school less anxiety-filled.

“Going off to college is nerve-wracking on its own, so it’s nice not having to worry about having a stranger as a roommate,” she said.

Schuermann was happy to find her roommate online in an attempt to forego the bad experiences she’s heard other students have had when randomly assigned to a roommate.

“I wanted to make sure we were compatible,” she said. “I’ve heard horrible stories about going in random.”

Senior Annabella Williams also chose to find her own roommate for Miami University, and said she did so not only so that she could room with someone with similar interests, but because she saw the positive experience her sister had with finding her own match the previous year.

Williams also said that by using Facebook, she could talk with and get to know her future roommate, as well as view her profile and photos. By doing so, Williams said she was able to see more of what her roommate’s interests were, and what her lifestyle was like.

“By finding a roommate through Facebook I was also able to look at girls’ pictures, which sounds weird, but it really gives you an idea of the type of things they like to do and what their personality is like,” she said.

For both Schuermann and Williams, finding a roommate with whom they got along and shared interests with were the main reasons they chose to find their own match. After deciding to do so, Schuermann visited Cincinnati’s Facebook page for incoming freshman, and to show that she was interested in getting to know another student as a potential roommate, she liked some of their posts and chatted with them online. After talking with a few people, Schuermann found her future roommate, and asked her questions similar to those found on Room Surf in order to see if they were compatible.

“I asked what she was going to major in, what she liked to do outside of school, what movies, TV shows and music she liked, if she stays up late, how organized she is and what she’s looking for in a roommate. I wanted to know things that would make us compatible roommates,” Schuermann said.

However, finding her match is not the end of the process, as Schuermann and her roommate still have to make it official with the school. Until then, the pair is not technically bound as roommates.

“When we apply for housing we have to put each others ID numbers, given to us by the school, and then it will be binding,” she said.

Having had such a positive experience finding her roommate, Williams said she highly recommends that other incoming freshman choose to find their own roommate. She said that doing so not only helped her find someone that she could relate to, but that it has made the college process less stressful.

“I would definitely recommend that people try to find a roommate through Facebook,” she said. “It allows you to talk to them, look at their pictures, and become friends before you even start college. The process is so easy and quick…my roommate and I are already really good friends which will make next fall so much easier.”