African-American student checking his phone between classes

How-to: Find the perfect college roommate

By our guest author, Sarah Purnell

As a current junior in college, I look back on the excitement of starting my freshman year: receiving my acceptance letter, picking my classes, decorating my dorm, and — oh yeah, finding my college roommate!

In a toss-up between leaving it to fate or turning to social media to find a roommate yourself, it can be a stressful process if you’re not sure where to start. I turned to social media to find my roommate, and, at first, it felt like a dead end. It took me several attempts and connections until I found someone I was compatible with. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do.


  • Join the right social media groups. Many schools have a Facebook and Twitter account for each graduating class (generally called, “[School] Class of 2021,” for example). I used my school’s Facebook group. Find and follow your class groups — it’s a great way to meet a potential roommate, but also to identify some familiar faces on campus once school begins.
  • Reach out to people. Don’t be afraid to message someone or comment on their social media posts. Everyone is in the same boat and looking to socialize prior to arriving on campus. Put yourself out there; you likely won’t regret it.
  • Ask the important questions. While it’s great to learn about someone’s hobbies and favorite show to binge watch, it’s even more important to know some basic lifestyle preferences. Looking back, this is what I would have asked after chatting for a bit: How clean do they like their room? Where do they study and how often? Does their sleep schedule match up with yours? Are they interested in joining Greek life? Make sure to get the low-down.
  • Use roommate matching. Try a third-party matching site, such as Roomsurf. And if you don’t find someone online, don’t be discouraged. Fill out your school’s roommate-matching form, and have the university do the legwork for you. I used Roomsurf to see what kind of people I matched well with; however, I’ve also heard mixed reviews from friends, such that it’s better at a large university where there are more freshman signing on.


  •  Use untrustworthy sites. Steer clear of roommate-matching sites that you’re skeptical of or that no one else at your school seems to be using.
  • Jump on the first person you talk to. Many of my friends learned this the hard way. Make sure you’re talking to multiple people before you decide on who you think would be a good match. While it is exciting, the first person you talk to isn’t always the right one.
  • Judge a book by its cover. Remember that people are not always as they appear on social media. Try to really get to know a person before popping the roommate question. If you live close to each other, you could try to meet up for lunch or coffee to chat in person.
  • Begin your search without knowing what you want. Before you start the roommate-hunting process, know what you’re looking for. Do you know which dorms you’re interested in living in? Are you looking for a BFF or just a friendly living arrangement? Have an idea of the kinds of characteristics you’d like your roomie to have.
Dana Fulton
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Dana Fulton

Social Media Content Manager at Wells Fargo
Creative professional with years of sales and marketing experience, specializing in segment-specific strategy and customer-centric communications. Skills include problem solving, collaboration, critical thinking, and clarifying the complex.
Dana Fulton
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