Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

How to choose a roommate

Sarah Doremus/ Collegian File Photo

The semester has just begun, but it’s never too soon to start planning for next year’s housing. Whether you’re moving off campus or into another dorm, picking a roommate is one of the most exciting – and stressful – things about college. Before the advent of online habit surveys and the all-important Facebook, people could only roll the dice and hope not to get stuck with a horribly mismatched partner.

In today’s high-tech world, you can find almost anything you need or want to know about your new roommate with a click of a button. Because there is the option to find and request your roommate without ever meeting them in person, a little strategic Facebook stalking is in order. Listed below are a few key things to look for when selecting a roommate.


Facebook stalk them, obviously! Students almost always post a general description of what they’re looking for in a roommate on their class year’s Facebook page. If someone catches your eye, creep them on Facebook. Creep extensively.

This obviously isn’t something that I would normally encourage, but if you just scan their interests and profile pictures, then you might miss their photo album titled “The Year I Didn’t Shower.” Extensive creeping is very important since you will be sharing less than 200 square feet of living space with them.

If, for example, your roommate attended a conference in Vermont on the joys of not bathing and decides to practice his or her newfound wisdom in the dorm, then guests may be required to wear a Hazmat suit to your room by mid-September.

While you’re creeping, have a friend or two look over the prospective roommate’s profile. They might find something totally unacceptable that you may have missed.


Make sure your morals roughly line up. I’m not saying you two have to attend the same church together on Sundays and hold joint Bible study classes; I’m just insinuating that if you are strongly against marijuana use, then you should be careful not to pick a roommate with the Twitter name “Crazy4Cannibus.”

More importantly, if your roommate holds firm beliefs against alcohol or cigarette use, but you do not, it is best to stay clear of them. They are unlikely to be amused when you stumble into your room with a trash bin on your head every Saturday night.

Likewise, if you are firmly against drinking or smoking, do not pick a chain smoking roommate. Your room might develop a smoky odor, and neither you nor your roommate wants to be judged by others.


Attempt to identify what kind of friends your prospective roommate tends to have. Your roommate and their friends do not have to be your best friends forever, but they will most likely make frequent appearances your room. If your roommate’s friends seem to be drama-addicted ‘Gossip Girls,’ you might be dealing with Serena and Blair-esque drama every Friday night. On the other hand, if their friends appear to be similar to your friends in tastes and habits, you might have a good core group of friends without having to join the live action role-playing club.


This may sound superficial, but decoration tastes play a fairly important role in creating a positive living environment for both of you. You two don’t need to come up with a matching Laura Ashley color scheme, but if you plan to decorate your side of the room with floral pastels, it might be best to avoid a roommate who enjoys satanic paraphernalia or posters of weird horror films. It just makes for a more comfortable home for both of you. That being said, if your music or movie tastes are radically different from theirs, it isn’t a huge deal – just make sure to mention that headphones are a must, should you decide to room with them.

Of course, discussing sleep and cleaning habits is vital. However, two people cannot live peacefully with each other if the only things they agree upon are a mutual love of Clorox wipes and sleeping until two in the afternoon.
Finding a roommate that will provide a relaxed, pleasurable dorm experience is more important than finding someone that won’t dissolve into hysterics when a piece of lint is spotted on the linoleum floor. It takes some serious dedication to stalking potential roommates on online social networks, but, like many times in life, you’ll be glad you Facebook creeped.


Emily Merlino is a collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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