Big Choice: Choosing a college roommate

Going random appears riskier, has potential for success


Goergia Institue of Technology

The D. M. Smith Building in the Georgia Institute of Technology campus.

By Katie Earles

On May 1, the 301 Grady seniors gave a collective sigh of relief. Gone are the days of writing 500 word personal essays, counting community service hours and fretting about extracurriculars. College decisions have been made, and all there is left to do is shop for dorm decor and, in some cases, a roommate.

Many college-bound seniors are faced with two options in terms of who they will live with in the coming year: scour social media outlets to find a roommate or take a chance and have the college select them for you.

“I decided to pick a roommate because after living with four girls in one room at Outdoor Academy my sophomore year, I knew I had very specific rooming preferences,” senior Grace Schneider said.

Schneider will attend Tulane University in the fall.

“I ended up meeting my roommate through a Snapchat group; we talked for a few months and then met up at an admitted students day,” Schneider said. “We have the same sense of humor and style, so we instantly clicked. We couldn’t be more excited for next year.”

Rather than search through a social media outlet, some seniors  opt to  room with another student coming from Grady, someone they already know they are compatible with.

“When I was looking for a roommate, I didn’t even think about going random,” said Jared Steckl, 2017 Grady alum and University of Georgia freshman.  “One day I asked [my roommate if he would room with me], and he said yeah. Everyone started saying that we were going to hate each other because we were best friends.”

Even though he was rooming with a friend, Steckl admitted some apprehension.

“I was definitely worried because I didn’t know what to expect, but rooming with him made us have a closer relationship,” Steckl said.“I would call him my best friend; I wouldn’t want to live with anyone else.”

However, there has been recent scrutiny of the benefits of self-selection. On March 2, Duke University announced that the incoming class of 2022 will not be able to self-select a roommate; the roommate selection process will be governed entirely by the university, making pairings at random. According to Inside Higher Education, officials made this shift in hopes to stem the recent movement of students self-selecting peers with similar perspectives and backgrounds to their own, fueled by social media connections made before arriving on campus. However, not all current Duke students agree with the new policy.

“I think Duke’s decision hurts the freshman community because it throws students into a new college environment without any safety net,” said Keegan Hasson, 2016 Grady graduate and junior at Duke University. “For a lot of people, that can be really overwhelming. I chose my freshman year roommate and had an easy time branching out. We were still assigned random housing with strangers then, but they now are some of my best friends.”

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