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Stacy Kowsz on Saturday, 08 March 2008. Posted in Residence Life

First-Year Students:
Most all of our dorm rooms at RIT are doubles.  Yes, you can request a particular roommate if you already know someone coming to RIT whom you want to live with.  However, most freshmen are assigned roommates by Housing. 
Housing sends students a questionnaire to fill out, and they use this information to try to match compatible roommate pairs.  From what I remember (I filled this out 3 years ago), the questionnaire was only a single page.  I definitely remember that I was very skeptical about how so few questions could really help Housing get a good idea of who I should live with.
They asked questions like:
•    Are you a morning person or a night person?
•    What genre of music do you listen to?
•    Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5, where 1 is messy and 5 is super neat.
•    Do you smoke?
I was pretty sure that these questions couldn’t do much for pairing up good pairs of people who have to live together for a year.  However, I give credit to the RIT Housing for doing a fairly good job at this task.  They have somewhere around 3,000 (rough estimate made by me) incoming freshman to deal with and organize, and their success is impressive. 
In my experience, most people have been happy with their roommates.  I was assigned to live with one of the nicest girls my freshman year.  We had surprisingly a lot in common.  We both loved crafts: scrap-booking, rubber stamping, knitting, sewing, etc.  We had similar music tastes (not surprising, since Housing asked us that).  She was Engineering, and I am Chemistry, so we had somewhat similar classes (at least physics and math).  We both liked naps.  We were pretty laid back and liked meeting people.  We liked visitors.  We did our own things and led our own lives, but I was happy to see her when we were both around. 
Of course, Housing can’t be perfect.  Sometimes, despite their efforts, two roommates are paired who just don’t work together.  In this case, if both roommates are not happy with the situation, then a move can be arranged.  The easiest way to do this is to find another pair of people who are willing to switch things around.  If you can arrange to move in down the hall with a friend and to have the displaced roommate from that room move in with your original roommate, then all you need is to obtain an easy signature, and it will all be official.  Your RA (Resident Advisor) is there to help you try to figure this all out. 

After your first year, it’s best to plan who you want to live with.  If you leave it up to Housing, things may not go as well as in your first-year.  I think this might be because Housing doesn’t have as many people to work with, so there are fewer choices.  Most people request who they want to live with, and the few who don’t have to then be matched.  I had a bad experience with this.  I ended up with a roommate with whom I really had nothing in common with.  She didn’t want visitors in our room; I did.  She just liked to play computer games; I don’t at all.  Overall, we didn’t really have anything in common.  After your first year, you’ve met a lot of people, and I suggest you find housing for your second-year with people whom you already know.  Maybe, at some later date, I will write about some suggestions of picking who you live with, because it’s a pretty important thing, and more difficult than you might think.  So, props to RIT for doing a pretty good job on arranging roommates for the incoming first-years.