There are some things meant to be left up to chance. Buying a lottery ticket, for example, or saying “I don’t care it’s up to you” when being asked what you want to eat. But after a long day of classes, you probably don’t want to come home to someone stealing your belongings or sniffing your hair brush.
With the monopoly social media has on human interaction I find it surprising that rising college freshmen would even consider having a roommate selected for them. These days, a post in a Facebook group including your major, interests and a few pictures from your everyday life opens doors to connecting with people just like you.
College Choice, an independent online publication dedicated to helping students find the university best suited for them, conducted a study called “The Roommate Effect” in which they took college freshmen and matched them with what could be considered a “good” roommate and what could be considered a “bad” roommate, and then analyzed how one’s actions affected the other. The study found that 8.6 percent of students matched with a roommate who was a binge drinker began to pick up drinking habits. In addition, the average male GPA dropped .28 points when they were matched with a roommate who was a frequent drinker while the average female GPA dropped .12 points.
It’s unrealistic to believe you’ll find your best friend prior to meeting them in person, but the online matching services and utilization of tactics such as the “insta-stalk” can almost ensure that your future roomie will at least be in the same ball park of your interests. Sites like RoomSync and RoomSurf require users to fill out a survey regarding sleeping and study habits, hygiene, organization, personal beliefs, smoking habits, drinking habits and sexuality. After your answers have been entered, RoomSurf then asks you what you believe your ideal roommate should respond. In doing this, freshmen can rest assured they won’t be sleeping next to a smelly, messy, chain smoker…unless they’re into that.
A 2012 poll by the Association of College and University Housing Officers found that at 32 out of 45 universities surveyed first-year students were able to request roommates of their own. This seems to be a growing trend, and almost inarguably a direct correlation to the rise of connections through social media.
What really continues to baffle me is why colleges are continuing to enforce the rule that they are to decide your roommate for you. Like one, you don’t know me; two, who do you think you are; and three, hello I’m the one doing the work here.
In my experience, the day I committed to Drexel University I put my thumbs to work and made my way onto the Class of 2021-22 Facebook page (as many do) and provided a quick summation of, well, my entire life, accompanied by pictures that show me living in it. Sooner than I expected my now roommate messaged me and after some uncomfortable platonic flirting, it turned out we had a lot in common It works!
I understand the argument that “college is a time to try new things” and “growing up means meeting new people” and maybe I’m just a control freak with a major social media reliance but I am extremely confident in my decision and 10 out of 10 would recommend.