31 Quick Questions to Ask a Potential Roommate Before Move-In Day

31 Quick Questions to Ask a Potential Roommate Before Move-In Day

Once I decided where I’d be going to college one of the things I was most excited to do was find a roomie. I was so excited to have someone to coordinate dorm decor with, someone to hit up our dining hall’s late night with, someone to have dance parties with during study breaks, and someone to be my built-in BFF. However, as I began my roommate search, I realized finding a person that would be all those aforementioned things (and someone I knew I could coexist with in a tiny dorm room) was harder than I expected. After scrolling through my school’s freshman Facebook page, stalking potential roomies on social media, and sliding into their DMs, I learned that the key to this whole process is asking really good questions. Below is a list of questions you need to ask a potential roommate before you decide to live together. These helped me find an incredible roommate, and hopefully they’ll do the same for you.

  1. What are you studying/want to study? By asking what they’re majoring in, you’ll be able to learn more about what your potential roommate is passionate about and get a very general feel for their interests. This will also help you understand their study habits, their course load, and if the two of you could have similar classes—which could mean at-home study sessions together (a total lifesaver).
  2. How did you decide to attend ___ college/university? This question will help you understand what drew your potential roomie to your university in the first place. Are they drawn to a particular program? A legacy student? Pumped up for sports games and other campus events? Ask this one to find out.
  3. Where are you from? When getting to know a potential roommate, the best place to start is with the basics. Asking them where they are from is an easy way to figure out if they’re coming from far away or if they’ll have the ability to go home every weekend. I asked my freshman year roomie this and we bonded over the fact that we’re both Midwesterners.
  4. Do you plan to go home often? If your new roomie lives nearby, here’s a good one to ask to figure out if you’ll have the space to yourself most weekends. Even if your potential roommate is coming from across the country this question can be worthwhile to understand which (if any) holidays or long weekends they plan on heading home for.
  5. Have you ever lived with someone else before? This question is a great one to ask. If your potential roommate has shared a space before, it’ll probably be easier for them to adjust to sharing a teeny-tiny dorm room. Don’t fret if they haven’t lived with someone before though! Learning how to be a roommate is part of the adjustment that comes with college.
  6. Do you know anyone else on campus? Ask this one to figure out if they’re heading to college with their high school bestie or if they are the only one from their area attending— there are pros to both answers. Knowing people around campus makes it easier to have someone to hang with during the first few days while knowing no one forces you to seek out new friends yourself.
  7. What time do you usually go to sleep/wake up? Before you commit to sharing a space with someone make sure you know their living patterns. While it seems like a minor detail, ask them about their sleeping habits to learn when they’re usually up and about and if that works with your lifestyle.
  8. What is your schedule like? Here’s a good question that will help you get a feel for how frequently they’ll be home. Compare class schedules to figure out when you’ll both be home and when you’ll each have time to yourself.
  9. How do you like to study? Study habits are crucial in college—it’s what you’re there for after all. If you and your roommate both like to study in the comfort of your room make sure you can do so compatibly—imagine getting settled in your desk to study in peace and quiet only to learn that your roommate blasts music while hitting the books. Not fun.
  10. How would you feel about guests? This one is important. Get a feel for your potential roommate’s ideas about having guests over so you can make sure you’re on the same page before you decide to move in together. On one hand, no one wants to be kicked out of their own space but neither does someone what to feel like they can’t have a friend stay over.
  11. How organized/neat do you like to be? Chances are you and your roommate will have your own “sides” of the dorm but make sure you’re aware of how tidy they like to keep their space before sealing the deal. If you’re a neat freak it can be annoying to live with someone who leaves their clothes all over the floor and vice versa.
  12. What are your pet peeves? It’s better to establish what ticks you and a potential roommate off before you decide to live together. You wouldn’t want to move in only to realize one of your new roomies’ habits it the thing that annoys you more than anything else in the world, right?
  13. Do you like to keep your room hot or cold? This one is a good one to ask for general housekeeping purposes. You’ll be sharing the space so it’s important to make sure you’re both comfortable in it.
  14. Do you have a job/want to work on campus? See how busy your potential roommate may be by asking this question. If you’re both hunting for on-campus jobs it could be great to have a built-in buddy to help with the job search.
  15. Will you have a car on campus? Are you planning to bring your car to school? Is your potential roommate? If you’re both thinking about bring cars you can figure out the daunting task that is finding an on-campus parking spot as a team. Having a car isn’t always necessary, but it does it makes late night Target runs a whole lot easier.
  16. What are your favorite things to do? Here’s where you can get to know them a little better. By asking a potential roommate what they like to do you can get to learn more about them and also see if you two share any common interests.
  17. What sports do you play (if any)? Looking for a roommate and workout buddy in one? This question can help you figure out if your future roomie is someone you can hit the school gym or join an IM team with.
  18. What activities were you involved with in high school? Will you continue them? Ask a future roomie about the activities they did in school to learn more about how involved they like to be and what keeps them busy outside of homework. This can also be a great question to ask to find similarities between the pair of you.
  19. What activities do you want to get involved with on campus? One great activity to do with a potential roommate is to go through your school’s list of clubs and find ones that interest each of you. Even though my freshman year roommate and I didn’t join all the same clubs, we made a list of what we were each interested in and hit up the club fair together during orientation week.
  20. How many siblings do you have? A great way to get to know someone is by asking about their fam. Learn about their relationships with siblings and parents and ask about their favorite family memories.
  21. Do you have any pets? Your dorm probably doesn’t allow pets but don’t let that stop you for asking your future roomie about any animals they have at home—you’ll probably get an adorable puppy photo or two out of the deal.
  22. What kind of music do you listen to? During my roommate search, I talked non-stop about One Direction whenever I got asked this Q and ended up finding someone who was boy-band obsessed but also helped me expand my iTunes Library. I’d 100% recommend asking this one so that if you decide to be roomies you can work on your midnight dance party playlist ASAP—trust me, you’ll need it during midterms.
  23. What are your favorite foods? ISO a roommate who’s also down for brunch dates and coffee shop trips? Ask about their favorite foods to figure out which nearby restaurants you can visit together.
  24. Do you have any allergies/illnesses to be aware of? Make sure you ask a potential roommate this! Being a good roommate is all about being considerate so if they have allergies or illnesses, make sure you’re accommodating. The last thing you want is to accidentally cost your new roomie a trip to the ER by showing up with a big tub of peanut butter.
  25. Do you like to travel? A lot of people are very passionate about traveling and asking them about where they’ve been is a great conversation starter. If your potential roommate is into travel, ask them about their favorite destinations to learn more about them and the experiences they’ve had.
  26. Do you want to study abroad? Looking ahead, ask this one to understand the things they plan to do during the next four years. Find out the places they dream of visiting and the adventures they hope to have.
  27. Do you like to meet new people? Freshman year, you’ll be thrown into an environment where everything feels really really new. You’re bound to meet new people during your first months of college but ask this one to learn a little more about how social they are.
  28. Do you plan on going out at all/how often? You need to ask this question! Even if you and your roommate have different takes on the party scene make sure you can both respect each other’s opinions about going out before you decided to live together.
  29. What is your dream job? As cheesy as it sounds, this little question helps you learn a person’s goals, aspirations, and dreams. Even though it’s a seemingly simple question, you’ll learn so much about a potential roommate by asking them this.
  30. What items do you plan on bringing to share, etc.? If you could picture yourself living with this person, it’s time to start asking about the room itself. Ask them what they are planning on bringing for the room, how they’re hoping to arrange the space, and if they’d be down to coordinate decor.
  31. Would you be willing to pitch in to buy ___? Big ticket items like a futon, a mini-fridge, a microwave, or a TV can be nice to have but dropping all that cash on something that’s shared is a pain. Figure out what items you’d be willing to go in on and make a plan for how to split them up if you don’t live together the following year.

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Opening image by Gabriela Casella.

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