College Living: How to Find The Perfect Roommate


You’re living in a property near campus, but keeping up with the cost of school, transportation, food, utilities, and rent is more than you can bear. You don’t have the option to return to your parent’s house, and taking on another job would make balancing your course load difficult.

So, what do you do? Do you continue struggling, add more pressure with a full-time job, or give up on your educational endeavors? Perhaps finding a roommate is a better option.

Although you’ve come to enjoy your space and privacy, having a roommate would lighten your financial burden and ultimately improve your educational experience. Of course, reaping the benefits of a roommate depends on who you select.

Living with the wrong person could create more problems. Learn how to find a roommate. While only time and experience will tell if you’ve made the right choice, using these tips will help increase your chances of making a suitable pick.

Identify Your Needs And Desires

Evicting someone is difficult, especially if they’re paying rent. As you’ll be legally bound to live with this person for the duration of your agreement, searching for someone that best matches your needs and desires is essential.

What do you need help with? What are your expectations? More importantly, what are you looking for in a roommate?

As you develop the answers to these questions, create a list of house rules, roommate qualities, and interview topics to help you find an ideal candidate.

Put It In Writing

While it would be nice to take a person at their word and have a positive living experience, it doesn’t always go as planned. Don’t wait for something to happen between you and your roommate to protect yourself. Create a contract in advance that clearly defines the rental rate, terms, and rules. Spell out consequences for contract violations.

You can use a free template to create a legally binding agreement. Once you’ve chosen a roommate, have the contract signed and notarized.

Ask People You Know

Interacting with someone daily is different than living with them, but choosing a person you know to be your roommate provides comfort.

You’ve spent enough time around them that you’ve identified some of their interests, habits, disciplines, and values. You’ve also discovered some similarities that make them worth keeping in your inner circle.

Make a list of people you know and trust. Avoid romantic partners and professors, as sharing a living space can change the dynamics of your relationship. Ask the people on your list if they’re looking for an affordable place to stay.

Describe the residence, show pictures, provide a list of house rules, and disclose your rate. If they’re interested, schedule a tour and finalize the deal.

Use Roommate-Matching Sites

Did you know there were sites that help people find roommates? These platforms take a lot of the guesswork out of choosing the right person.

You create an account, provide details about the property, list the lease terms and house rules, and get matched to people in your area that are most compatible with what you’re looking for. 

Some roommate-matching sites go further and evaluate factors ranging from communication preferences and eating habits to cleanliness and reviews from previous roommates.

Use these digital resources to your advantage to narrow down your options. As you get matches, schedule tours and interviews to help you make an informed decision.

References And Background Checks

Finding a roommate is nothing like making friends or building a love connection. You should look at this as a business arrangement or job interview. Ask potential roommates for a list of references. You can talk to previous landlords and roommates to better understand what it will be like living with this person.

Lastly, spend the money on a background check. No matter how friendly a person is or how highly their references speak of them, you have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

A background check adds an extra layer of protection. It enables you to assess whether your potential roommate has a criminal past. While this doesn’t have to exclude them from the list of options, it does give you more insight into who you’re dealing with.

Living alone and off-campus is a financially challenging experience that many college students face. Finding a roommate is a practical way to relieve your burdens. Be that as it may, choosing a roommate isn’t something you take lightly. Use the above advice to develop a plan to find a roommate that makes your life easier.

Sandy Jensen
Sandy Jensen, a celebrated writer in the home and garden niche, boasts over 12 years of hands-on experience. Her educational background includes a Bachelor’s in Landscape Architecture from Cornell University. Before joining our team in 2016, she worked as a landscape designer, combining her love for nature and design. Sandy's expertise shines through her articles, offering readers practical and aesthetically pleasing gardening tips. Off the clock, she enjoys hiking and nature photography, further nurturing her connection with the outdoors.

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