6 Tips for Living With a Roommate in College in the U.S.

Having a roommate who shares the same room as you isn’t common throughout parts of the world, but in the U.S., students live with roommates at almost every school. While some students may be used to having ‘apartment mates’—a roommate? Not so much.

Whether you will be sharing a room with a fellow student or living with a group of roomies, having a roommate can be a great experience. Having roommates gives you a great opportunity to network with other students. In turn, it can provide avenues to branch out and explore different academic and social interests you may not have considered before.

Since there might be some roommate politics involved, you may have some questions about college roommates, and what living with them really entails. Here are a few tips on how you can live peacefully with your roommate (or roommates) throughout your years at school.

Know thy neighbor

Nothing is more awkward than sharing a living and sleeping space with someone you don’t ever speak to. If you’re living with a roommate in college, you should make every effort to chat and get to know them. Who knows, you might just make a lifelong friend.

Money woes: don’t be afraid to talk about expenses

You will likely be sharing certain costs of living, such as food and other everyday expenses when living with a roommate in college. It’s important to have an early discussion with each person in the home to talk about how you will divide up living expenses in a fair manner. As for food, be sure to talk about whether it makes sense to split the cost of groceries evenly or if each member of the home should purchase their own food.

Give each other space

When you’re living together with anyone, but especially living with a roommate in college, it’s always important to give and take your own space. Everyone has days when they just want to sit in bed and eat pizza, but the best way to be relaxed both in your room and around your roommate is to minimize the amount of time you spend inside those four walls. If you give each other space, you are less likely to stress each other out!

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Respect your roommate’s personal belongings

This brings us to the next point of respecting personal space. While you may keep most of your personal items in your own bedroom, some of your belongings may stay in the common spaces in your home. If you would like for your roommates to either ask permission to use these items or not use them at all, explain this so they will understand. It’s likely they’ll also have belongings that are off-limits to others. By taking the time to understand the preferences of each person and respecting personal space, you will be taking steps towards creating the best possible living environment.

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Be flexible

It’s highly unlikely that the two of you are going to miraculously have the same living habits, and a lot of the time you’re going to have to meet halfway. You may be a late riser while your roommate loves to wake up with the sun and put some music on to start their day! Some aspects of your lifestyle, while delightful at home, won’t apply when you’re living with a roommate in college. You need to be willing to adapt.

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Ask way!

It’s important to understand that your roommate may come from a different background and has a different lifestyle. It’s likely they’ll have cultural norms that you’re not familiar with. Within the first few weeks of living together, you will have a much better understanding of how your roommates live day-to-day. So, don’t be afraid to ask your college roommate questions and try to get a better understanding of the needs of each person in the home. You may even learn about a new culture!

So, there you have it, some tips on navigating the slippery slope of living with a roommate in college. And you never know, you may end up becoming best friends for life!


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