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Roommate Contracts

At my school, we are really fortunate and they actually hand match roommates. As freshmen, we take an extensive quiz that asks us all about our living habits, activities, lifestyle, where you want to live, basically anything you could possibly think about, the quiz covers it. They really encourage freshmen to trust the system and go with a random roommate your first year. It’s a great way to branch out a little and meet someone new!

Once you get here and things have settled down a bit, we sit down with our roommate and our residence advisor (RA) and we come up with a roommate contract! I think it’s a great idea that every school should consider. It takes the stress off you because you then don’t have to approach your roommate alone and have those awkward conversations regarding rules and boundaries for your room. I thought this would be the perfect way to start out a new semester on the right foot, whether you have a new roommate or your roommate from last semester, it's a good idea to set down some ground rules. 

This contract is an agreement between you and your roommate from topics ranging from food to overnight guests. At the end of the meeting, we are both required to sign it and we keep a copy (we hung it up on our fridge) and our residence advisor keeps a copy!

Here at Furman, roommate contracts are actually required every school year, even when you’re a senior! I think it’s great! So I thought I could share the idea with you and now that hopefully school has settled down a bit and you’ve gotten into a routine, you could either bring this idea to your school or just do it with your roommate!

DISCLAIMER: I know everyone's roommate situation isn't all butterflies and sunshines so this could be an awkward thing to bring up (it's only awkward if you make it awkward)! I was so fortunate enough to have the best roommate a girl could ask for! For some reason the roommate gods were on my side when Furman housing was matching. So when we sat down to do our contact we basically agreed on most everything, however if you and roommate aren't this lucky try compromising by meeting on the middle! 

Here are the questions/ topics included on ours to give you an idea!

1. Guest and Visitation: Consider same gender and opposite gender guests for weekdays, weekends, and hours. How often/ long can they stay? Where should they sleep?

2. Cleanliness: Discuss personal belongings, taking the trash out, vacuuming, dishes, etc. Is there a schedule for this?

3. Possession: Plans for borrowing, using, and lending clothes, TVs, computers, toiletries. What items are off limits?

4. Food: Will you share food? What about giving friends the other roommate’s food? Will you split the cost? Do you expect food to be replaced when one eats the others?

5. Study/ Sleep Habits: What time on average do you want the lights off for bed? Can music be playing out loud when you do homework? Is there a certain time no one else is allowed in the room? Where will you both study? Is it okay to leave a light on if one is studying and the other one is sleeping?

6. Communication: How will you relay messages to each other? How will you resolve conflicts?

7. Room Security: Do you expect your door to be locked every time one leaves the room?

These are just a starting point! If there is anything you think should be added, please comment and give your suggestions! 

How did you lay down the laws to your roommate without offending? 

I hope your semester is off to a great start!




  1. Love this post, Shannon! Definitely keeping it on file for when I go to college in a year and a half! ;-)


  2. Having a roommate can be a huge change for people - like me! I grew up never sharing a room and now I share my entire living area with another person. Luckily my roommate and I get along flawlessly. We're always together! Love what you suggested as far as where to set boundaries and get that talk going!

    Constance || Prep Northwest

  3. Alone time should be added. I NEED time by myself to be myself, even a human in my space not talking to me is overwhelming all of the time. So, a discussion about when each person is away for the other to have private time would be important to me.