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College Roommates: Picking a Great Roommate for your Post-Freshman Years

Written by Brendan L on Friday, 21 June 2013. Posted in Student Life

College Roommates: Picking a Great Roommate for your Post-Freshman Years

Picking a roommate after your freshman year can be a bit more complicated than your first year at college. Whether you were assigned a roommate for you dorm room, or you picked them yourself, your continuing years have a few more factors that may affect where you live and who you live with.

1. What are you Looking for in a Roommate?
During your freshman year in a residence hall, you’ll likely make tons of friends and have many options for roommates for your years of college to follow. However, whether you’re deciding to live with a friend or you’re deciding to live with someone you met through Craigslist or Villas at Tropicana’s Roommate Matching service, you need to keep in mind what you want out of your roommate experience and whether or not that matches with what your potential roommate wants. In many ways, finding a roommate is like a dating relationship: is it for love … or for money? Or maybe it’s the other way around, and dating is just like finding a roommate. Either way, having a roommate to some people means having someone to split rent with, and minimal communication/interaction after that. For others, it means having a new BFF to hang out with. Knowing what your expectations for your roommates are and what your potential roommates expectations are for you will help you both decide if you are a good match for each other. See? Just like dating. 

2. Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth (and None of Them Want to Wash the Dishes)!
Deciding how many roommates you want to live with can greatly affect how your year goes. Some students are fine sharing a bedroom with 2 or 3 bedroom roommates, and 5 or 6 housemates in order to save on rent. Other students … not so much. It’s great to have a house full of roommates to talk to and hang out with, but once the dishes and trash start piling up, things get a little less friendly. Factor money into the equations, and you have a recipe for disaster if you are moving in with less-than responsible roomies. Think about whether some issues could be avoided by selecting roommates that have similar habits of cleanliness. And consider signing a By the Bed Lease if want to spend less time hustling to gather everyone else’s rent and more time mastering your cooking skills in your kitchen.

3. Get Real
One thing that a lot of first-time apartment renters run into is having unrealistic expectations for their roommates they’re moving in with. Maybe your roommate’s version of clean isn’t the same as your version, but is it worth fighting over or is it worth living with? Knowing when you’re going to negotiate and compromise versus what your bottom line is will help you find a great person to live with. Don’t ever compromise on things that are important to you, such as your safety or the security of your home. Knowing that you are willing to talk through things like who takes care of certain chores and expecting that there will be issues you can overcome will alleviate roommate hostility that may occur.

4. Don’t Procrastinate
“Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.” – Thomas Jefferson
If you wait to find a roommate, you’ll soon find yourself in a panic because you’ll likely have waited too long. You may end up picking a roommate that you wouldn’t have chosen if you’d had shopped around a bit more. If you have three months to find a roommate, you have no excuse; get on the Trop Roommate Matching portal, Craigslist, Facebook, etc., and put yourself out there! 

About the Author


  • In addition to all the fun I had living at the Villas, something that I also think is important no matter where I live is customer service, and the relationship a tenant has with the property manager. Whenever I had a problem with anything, like the water not running right, or being locked out, there was always someone around or someone I could call to help me out, and they were always fast about it, which I really appreciated. Overall, living at the Villas was an awesome experience.

    - Annie J.

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  • We really had a welcoming, community feeling to our building which made it that much better to come back to every day after class or work. The Villas at Tropicana has really felt like a home to me and I can't wait to come back for another year.

    - Ashley J.

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  • I loved spending my senior year at UCSB in a nice apartment that was in Isla Vista but wasn't submersed in the party atmosphere.

    - Emeri K.

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