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Steps towards Finding a Positive Roommate Fit

By: Joey Sammut

Even though the current academic year is less than halfway through, I can guarantee that chatter regarding housing for next year has already begun! Our housing selection process for the 2013-14 academic year will occur in February and March for upper-division and lower-division students, respectively. Your student will get more specific information in January about how this process works.

Even though our process will not officially start until 2013, there are plenty of items you and your student can start considering now when it comes to housing for the upcoming year. For many students, the first question they want to answer for housing next year is “Where should I live next year?”. In my years working at GU, I have found that the real first question should be, “Who should I live with next year?”, as the answer to this question has a much stronger correlation to a students’ success and happiness in the coming year.

In that vein, I offer some important points that parents and families can consider when talking to their student about possible choice(s) for their future roommate(s):

Logistical factors. Do both/all roommates go to bed and get up around the same time? Are they both accepting of the same level of messiness (a lot, a little, or nothing at all)? Do they want the room to be mainly for socializing or studying?

Friendships. Oftentimes, we see students pick their new best friend(s) from down the hall as their future roommate(s)-to-be. What could go wrong? Both/All students then are surprised, then, to find that living together is vastly different than living next to each other! Make sure your student and their potential roommate(s) except the same roommate relationship (do they both expect to be best friends? Just acquaintances? In the same social circle?).

Cost. Apartment and suite style living does cost a little bit more than living in a traditional hall. Check out our rate chart here:http://www.gonzaga.edu/Student-Life/Residence-Life-and-Dining-Services/On-Campus-Living/2012-13-Housing-Rate-Summary.asp. It’s important that all roommates understand and agree on cost before deciding to live together.

Major/Involvement. It’s not that only business majors can be friends with each other, but we find that students with similar workloads (lab/science-heavy vs. paper-heavy) often work better as roommates. As well, students with similar levels of involvement on or off campus (extracurricular activities, sports, jobs) often have similar traits and characteristics which can lead to a more welcoming atmosphere for all.

Joining a Learning/Living Community. Gonzaga currently offers 6 Learning/Living Communities for freshmen and sophomores, and these are related to various academic and lifestyle interests and goals. More information can be found here:http://www.gonzaga.edu/Student-Life/Residence-Life-and-Dining-Services/On-Campus-Living/2012-13-Theme-and-Interest-Communities.asp. These communities can be a great way to continue to broaden critical thinking, integrative learning, and social horizons.

Privacy. Honestly, sometimes a student might have had a rough go at having a roommate and would like a single room for the next year. Housing has various singles on and off campus that can accommodate those needs, and there’s no shame in wanting your own space!

Sociability. This is a common complaint that I hear from students in apartment communities – it’s hard to meet new friends! We find that the “open-door”, social-type nature of many of our traditional halls doesn’t necessarily translate over to apartment communities. If your student frequently mentions how much they enjoy spending time in their hall or with their neighbors, suggesting that they live in a traditional-style hall again might be a good thing!

Here’s hoping that your student finds some great roommates for the coming school year!

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