20 questions to ask your future college roommate

For incoming freshmen, the idea of moving to college and becoming accustomed to living with a roommate can be daunting.


In the current state of the world during a pandemic, this task becomes even more overwhelming, as you have to consider health precautions on top of other concerns. We at The Alestle are here to help with your transition to college life by providing the most important questions to ask your future roommate.


What is your major?

First and foremost, get to know your roommate. After all, we’re all here to pursue higher education. Asking about a roommate’s major can open up conversation about class schedules and personal interests.


What student organizations or jobs are you interested in?

Student organizations can often provide the most fulfilling and meaningful college experiences. SIUE currently offers 329 student organizations with a wide range of focuses. Ask about your roommate's interest in professional, honors, Greek, service and other organizations. Learning about their job interests can also give you a better insight into how they plan on spending their time.


Are you an extrovert or introvert?

Make sure there is a clear understanding of how both of you prefer to communicate and act around others. For many, this may be their first time living with someone outside of immediate family. Be mindful of their preferences on communication and energy levels.


What are you bringing?

Forgetting to ask this question can lead to unnecessary spending. With a college roommate, there are many shared resources to account for, such as cleaning supplies or a refrigerator. Start this conversation early to avoid overspending on items your roommate may have already purchased.


Do you want to coordinate room decor?

This question boils down to personal preference. However, it might be helpful to ask if your roommate would prefer to coordinate color schemes or decor. 


What is off-limits in our room?

Every incoming college freshman grew up in a different living environment. Some might be comfortable sharing belongings, while others might not. Ask which items should not be shared or used without permission. 


Who will pay for any shared items or resources?

After establishing what each of you will be bringing to college and what items are off-limits, you can then discuss who will be responsible for shared goods. Items to consider might be toiletries, a television, gaming systems, a vacuum, mirrors, an area rug, medicines and cleaning supplies.


How should we keep our living space clean during the pandemic?

Speaking of cleaning supplies, much of your college experience will be altered by the current pandemic. Think of ways both of you would feel comfortable in maintaining the cleanliness of your room. Also consider the safety precautions each of you can take within your living space. 


How do you feel about guests within our room?

According to the University Housing Living Guide, guests are permitted in residence hall rooms as long as they currently reside in the same residence hall as their host. However, this doesn’t mean your roommate has to be comfortable with people coming over. Ask about their comfort level with guests visiting and with your exposure level to other people outside of the living space. 


How can I respect your living space?

In the wake of the pandemic, living space preferences could radically change due to cleaning and guest services in policies. Make sure you know your roommate’s boundaries. It’s important to figure out how to be a courteous and respectful roommate, now more than ever.


Are you a morning or night person?

Living with a roommate for the first time can quickly become the clash of two completely different lifestyles. Once you have a general idea of how your roommate spends their time, figure out how their sleeping schedule fits into the mix. Then, you can be more respectful of their time and accommodate their personal schedule.


Do you prefer to take showers in the morning or evening?

On top of schedules, showers and morning routines can also collide. Establish an understanding between you two and/or your suitemates about when the bathroom will likely be occupied.


How do you prefer to study?

Study habits can vary among students. Some might prefer to study in the peace and quiet of their own room, while others may prefer a communal space such as the library. Ask about your roommate’s study preferences and how you can best respect them while not compromising your own.


Is a quiet living space important to you?

Often, we don’t realize the volume level of some of our habits. Moving to college, we might not be aware of how loud, or even annoying, our three hour TikTok binging session is. Considering whether any of your habits might irritate your roommate could save you from a lot of tension later on.


What are some of your pet peeves?

On the topic of trying not to annoy your roommate, finding out their pet peeves is crucial. What might seem like a nonissue to some could be troublesome to others.


If you have an issue with me, how should we resolve it?

Disagreements are inevitable. However, they can be resolved through healthy communication. It’s beneficial to establish how issues might be resolved before they arise. Roompact is a helpful tool for establishing these boundaries.


How often will you be in our living space?

Scheduling questions might not be the most fun, but they could be the most necessary for avoiding conflict. If you’re not used to living with someone else, privacy can be difficult to maintain during this transition. Find out how you can be respectful of each other’s need for alone time.


How often will you be on campus?

Although most necessities will be available on campus, there are circumstances in which getting off campus can be useful. Ask about their transportation and whether they will have a car to run errands in town.


Do you have any health issues I should be aware of?

While often easily forgotten, allergies and other health concerns can be of the utmost importance. Some other important areas of discussion might be mental health  concerns or disabilities, if your roommate is comfortable disclosing such information.


When are you moving in?

Finally, find out when they’re moving in. Going away to college is an exciting experience that shouldn't be taken away by COVID-19. While the experience will be different, it is still worthwhile. Make the most of every moment.


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