6 Things to Discuss Before You Move in With Your New College Roommate

Jon Fesmire | August 9, 2018 @ 8:04 AM

You got into a great college and you’re enjoying your summer, but it’s just about time to leave home and move into your dorm! Yep, that’s nerve wracking, but also exciting. Will you get along with your college roommate? Will you have trouble getting along, or will you become best friends?

Either way, you’ll probably find out who your new roommate is going to be before you move in. Want to tip things in the positive direction? Contact that student you’re going to be living with and have a chat.

Here are six important things to discuss.

Who Brings What

It can be tough to leave things at home, but consider carefully what you really need. This will include your computer, a selection of clothes, and so on.

What you don’t want is to double-up on items in a shared dorm room. Chances are, you and your roommate will want to have a mini-fridge, a microwave and a TV. The thing is, the room only needs one of each, which you’ll then share. Discuss who will provide what.


Living in dorms, you’ll probably eat most of your meals in the cafeteria.

You’ll still want snack food in your dorm room. What you can keep in there will be limited to the size of the mini-fridge and a cabinet or two.

Discuss diet with your roommate. Do you both eat basically the same things, or does one of you have a more restrictive diet? If your diets line up, are you willing to share all your food? Come up with your rules for who gets to eat what.


In your new cohabitating situation, it’s your job to clean your side of the room, and your roommate’s job to clean theirs. However, there are bound to be mutual chores. Perhaps one of you takes out the trash, and the other makes sure the fridge and cupboard stay organized, or perhaps you switch off on chores every week. Now’s a good time to figure that out.

Also, realize that one of you is almost certainly going to be messier than the other. If that’s you, let your roommate know it’s okay for them to remind you to please straighten up your side of the room, then thank them and do so when they ask. If it’s them, inform them that you’ll remind them, and that they should clean up their mess. As long as you straighten up for ten minutes or so every day, your side should remain in good order.

Don’t think of this as nagging or being nagged. It’s an opportunity to acquire good cleaning habits, which will serve you well the rest of your life.

Guests and Significant Others

You and your roommate will make new friends in college, so discuss how you’ll handle having guests over in your room. When is it alright to bring a new friend over spontaneously? When will you have to plan for it? Maybe you’ll have a rule that any time from 10 am to 7 pm, you can have a friend come over, but if you want a guest to come in later than that, then you need to inform your roommate. You should also discuss how many guests can be there at once.

If you or your roommate have a significant other, what rules do you have for alone time? You could have a code, like putting a tie on the door, that says that your girlfriend or boyfriend is with you and you’re enjoying private time. Just make sure you have solid rules for when this is acceptable.


Discuss your interests. Chances are you have at least a few in common, and they may suggest things you can do together. Are you both into action movies? Then catch a movie together sometimes. Do you enjoy college sports? Then go to the home games. You may enjoy some of the same TV shows, and you can watch those together in your dorm with a couple friends over.

If you don’t have many similar interests, you can still be good roommates. You’ll just end up doing less together. Do your best to remain friendly even if you’re very different people.


All of us have quirks. Maybe you forget to put the lid back on the milk when you put it in the fridge, or maybe your roommate is always misplacing their shoes. These are areas where you’ll need to be patient with each other. So, bring up the quirks they’re likely to notice, and ask what theirs are. You may even learn more about them and you’ll each have a good laugh before you even meet on campus.

With that conversation out of the way, you’ll both know what to expect when you meet in person. Remember to also follow good dorm room etiquette, and have a great time in college!

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