Finding a roommate is a lot like online dating. Are you a night person or a morning person? How often do you shower? Are you more of a party animal or a stay-in-and-play-World-of-Warcraft type? Finding a college roommate can be a tricky process, particularly if one is attending private or out-of-state school, where most students are coming from outside the Bay Area. However, with the help of the Internet, there are many easy ways for high school seniors to socialize with their future peers and select a potential dorm roommate.
Arguably the most popular site to discover a roommate, Roomsurf requires users to fill out a short survey, measuring factors such as organization level, personal hygiene and typical bedtime. Students list how they would prefer their roommate to respond to these questions, ranking factors from very important to insignificant. The website provides the user names of students who have the desired responses. However, in the free version of the site, only the first names of matches are given and users can contact potential roommates only through the site. With the premium version, requiring a payment of $20 or participation in a sponsored game or survey, users have access to the Facebook profiles of matches, allowing students to contact their peers off-site and providing a more detailed picture of their match’s personality.
The majority of colleges have a Facebook page or group specifically for each class of incoming students. In these groups, students can post about themselves and introduce themselves to their peers and potential roommates. This provides a great platform for students to meet others with similar interests and learn more about their peers with a hearty dose of Facebook “profile stalking.”
Students can also initiate Facebook conversations, giving users a more vivid idea of their potential roommate’s personality before committing to sharing a dorm.
With the rise of this social media platform in recent years, Twitter has also become a way for students to connect with each other. Twitter provides users with a more in-depth and candid look into their peers’ personalities, unlike the often more polished and restricted Facebook profiles that are often cleaned up for college recruiters and parents.
“You learn more about the person through Twitter,” said Gabby Parker, an incoming freshman at North Carolina State University, who found her roommate, Anna Glover, via Twitter. “[People] tweet a lot of things, especially their own individual thoughts, rather than a summary of themselves like you would see on Facebook or Roomsurf.”
Parker said hashtags allowed her to initially find Glover and discover that they were in the same class.
“[Glover] had tagged #NCSU18,” Parker said. “I looked at her Twitter and thought she seemed nice, so I messaged her. Overall, [Twitter provides you with] a better idea of who they are and how they act.”