Coming to college means a number of things, and for some it means living with a roommate (who isn't your sibling) for the first time.  

Below is some helpful information about roommates including how the Office of Residence Life uniquely matches roommates, as well as how to effectively communicate with your roommate both prior to move-in and during the year.

Roommate Selection

The Office of Residence Life seeks to match students based on the list of questions answered on the housing preference form including sleep and study habits, and major and academic college.  The staff carefully matches students based on similarity to ensure success here at NU in academics, a social setting, and residential living. Students will be able to find out their roommate information at the end of July via the myNU portal where they will be able to log in and obtain contact information for their roommate and their residence hall placement.

Communicating With Roommates

Upon receiving your roommate's contact information, the staff in the Office of Residence Life highly suggests that you reach out to your roommate and begin the communication process.  Some roommates become very good friends, choosing to socialize and study together. Others become friends, but spend time outside of the room with different social groups. And others do not become friends, but still accept each other as roommates and live compatibly together for the year. Remember that you will meet many students other than your roommate. In addition to your hallmates, you will make friends through classes, sports, work and other student activities here on campus.

Living together in one room, especially if you have never had a roommate before (or lately), requires work! The type of relationship you develop with your roommate depends in part on your expectations, but more so in how effectively you communicate those expectations to your roommate from the very beginning.

As you think about your roommate and how you hope to interact (regardless of how well or little you may know him/her), both of you might consider the following as talking points:

  • Communicate (...and not just via social media or texting!)! Call them and TALK to them! This is the most effective tool for living together happily.
  • What do each of you expect of your living arrangement?
  • What can you and your roommate discuss that may prevent future problems?
  • How much of your personal or life experiences are each of you willing to share?
  • How do you both intend to discuss habits, values and priorities?
  • Could some of your practices or activities be potentially offensive or annoying to the other person?
  • How will both of you resolve disagreements?
  • How do you act when you are angry, depressed, stressed, or happy? How do you expect your roommate to behave when you are feeling any of these emotions?
  • Which of your belongings can and cannot be borrowed? (i.e. clothing, food)
  • When are visitors and/or friends welcome? For how long?
  • How neat do you both expect the room to be?
  • What study habits will make both of you successful students?
  • Be ready to make compromises. You can't have everything your way all the time!
  • Always treat your roommate with respect ... after all you do  live together!  
  • Attempt to make contact during the summer to plan the upcoming year will help ease some anxiety about meeting for the first time.

Once you arrive on campus, check in and start settling in. In the first week, your CA will work with you on a roommate agreement. Both you and your roommate are expected to fill the form out together. Your community advisors are there as resources to help you through the agreement if needed. On your roommate agreement, you will indicate your preferences regarding sleep, study and social time. As you adjust to life at NU, you may find that these preferences change. Be open with your roommate, and always communicate your needs; be responsive to your roommate, recognizing that s/he is changing too. Expect the best!

The communication skills you can develop in an effective roommate relationship are among the most valuable skills you will gain at college for your personal and professional life.  

If you have questions about how to communicate with your roommate, please don't hesitate to contact your CA or the Office of Residence Life!