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Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before You Move in

College roommates playing video games


Of all the factors that can make or break your first semester of living on campus, your relationship and experience with your roommate is among the most important. Just like your classes, a large part of your success will hinge on you being prepared and having proper expectations.

It's always a good idea to talk with your roommate before you move in to go over some ground rules and expectations. Even if you already know each other, it's helpful to discuss these issues in advance.

Here are some essential questions to ask your roommate before you move in.

Who Brings What?

It makes sense to coordinate with your new roommate so that you can most efficiently furnish your new place. If you discuss nothing else, definitely take time to decide who will bring the microwave and who will bring the mini-fridge.

Likewise, you might want to discuss if you’ll both buy ink for one printer or if you’ll both have your own. Being sure to coordinate so you have the essential items covered will go a long way towards making sure your new place has one of everything you need. That's why this is at the top of the list of questions to ask your roommate.

When Is Bedtime?

You want a schedule that allows you to sleep until noon, but your roommate loves doing yoga with the sunrise. You still can keep your respective schedules, but one of you might need to sleep with an eye mask or do the bulk of your studying in a common area within your dorm. You can find a happy medium between differing schedules like these if you discuss the topic in advance and work out a solution that suits you both. 

About Privacy Expectations

It's easy to assume everyone is comfortable with the same level of openness that you are. But you really can't leave this topic off the list of questions to ask your roommate. For instance, would it be okay if your friends stay over to hang out in your room at 11:00 p.m. on a Tuesday? Or can your best friend from home sleep on your futon for a week? It's best to discuss these things in advance.

Don’t tiptoe around what the expectations are. Up front and open communication will help stop disagreements from happening and instill a sense of respect.

About Cleaning Preferences & Schedule

Each roommate should have a set of tasks they do each week or month. You wouldn't want trash to pile up or grime to cover the bathroom (if you have one), or even have litter all over the floor. When you establish that you like a clean living space, little tasks divided amongst yourselves can really spare your sanity and your friendship.

When to Turn It Down

Sometimes, something as simple as music can cause a disagreement. So like anything else, err on the side of caution and be respectful. Would you want someone blaring loud bass when you're trying to study? It's important to state your needs and empathize with the needs of others, too.

Compromise is a lifelong tool for success, whether in school, at home or at your workplace. Likewise, learning to live with another person is a valuable and money-saving skill. But before you can compromise and live together in harmony, you must be able to communicate openly. That's why it's so important to address these questions to ask your roommate before moving in.



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