Finding the Perfect Roommate

by Elie Doubleday & Calla Slayton

College. A big, new chapter in life that’s not far off for the seniors. New classes, campuses, and activities are just around the corner. However, one of the newest and most exciting things to come with college is roommates.

Roommates can truly make or break your freshmen experience. With so much weight for this decision, colleges send out surveys to match first-years — and since we (Elie and Calla) are living through this exciting time right now, we decided to give you all a sneak peak into the experience!

Elie’s Hamilton Roomie Research:

When I was touring colleges, so many of them emphasized how in depth their roommate surveys are. They were described like eHarmony surveys and almost everyone said they were super happy with their roommates. So when I got my roommate survey (which took forever to get here), I was psyched.

And then I opened it and discovered it had like seven questions and a blank space for me to write in anything I think might be relevant for them to know when choosing a roommate for me.

The few questions I had pertained to the number of people I want in my room and what time I go to bed and how neat I am. And then I was just told to fill everything else into the blank space. And that’s intimidating because what if I forget something crucial??

I filled it out in the span of about 10 minutes yesterday when I was supposed to be coming up with an article idea (hence why I’m writing this one). I then proceeded to ask everyone who knows me reasonably well what they think is important for me to put down.

I got a combination of the fact that I’m not outdoorsy, that I’m a neat freak, and that I’m obsessed with Harry Potter and Sherlock. Flattering that these are my most memorable qualities.

I turned it in last night, and received a notice telling me I am now unable to edit it. I have since been freaking out about forgetting something. The nice thing is that I filled mine out next to Calla, who had a more extensive one than mine, and I was sure to include information mentioned in hers in mine.

Calla’s Carleton Companion Crusade:

Similar to Elie, many Carleton tour guides talked about how extensive the college’s roommate survey was. Carleton has a whole Residential Life Committee that reads through the surveys and pairs up students to get the best fit. So, I was pumped when June 1st rolled around and I finally could start the online form.

The early questions were quick and easy. Do you want to live with all first-years? Do you want to live with people who identify as the same gender as you? What time do you go to bed on weekends?

After I breezed through the starting questions, I came across some tougher ones. Do you want to live on substance free floors? How clean do you want to keep your room? Finally, the dreaded long answer questions came around.

I was asked to describe what I wanted in a roommate and then talk about what roommates could expect out of me. It very closely resembled  a dating profile now that I think about it…

I’m a relatively clean person and definitely a night owl. I enjoy exercising and playing sports, however, I do struggle with finding the determination to get out and do so. Music is a big part of my life and my roommate will have to get used to me either singing or humming.

I love food, so my roommate can expect for there to always be some cookies or snacks around. I don’t know what I’ll study yet, but I’m open to having a roommate whose interests are different than mine.

The survey took a surprising amount of time and effort. We’re rarely requested to think this deeply about ourselves. The answers I provided were going to be the basis for choosing the other person I was going to live with for a year. My answers mattered. After consulting with friends and current students at the college, I finished my application after school.

Despite completing the survey, I waited to hit submit, so I could sit on my answers for a bit and make sure they were what I wanted. As it turns out, when I went to the page last night, I found all my answers hadn’t saved, so now I’m back to square one. Lord help me.


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