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I think that room mates are good for your freshman year. The article makes a good point that you can break the habit of making friends with the same type of people. This is a good way to network through the new people you meet and the groups they are associated with. But how compatible the room mates are to you has a effect on the outcome of what you will get out of it. If you were roomed with someone who is exactly like you, you will probably gain nothing. But if you're with a stranger who is unlike you, you will have to learn how to deal with different types of people in a positive respectful manner. You can get more out of this than you can loose.

Sydney Morris

In her article, Anna Altman shares the opinions of many writers on the topic of college roommates, and whether it is best for roommates to be mutually requested or randomly chosen. Those who state that is best for roommates to mutually request each other, whether it be through mutual friends or pairing sites such as RoomSync, argue that it not only helps the students, but also the university. For the students, it can prevent the excess stress of not getting along with a roommate. For the university, it can save money and time from having to rearrange rooming situations that did not work well. Those who support random roommates urge that it can "expand" students' "horizons" by forcing students to interact with people who are different from themselves. They suggest that "this is the one time" a student can live with "someone who is completely different."
Though I concede that there are both positives and negatives to both scenarios, I believe that students should be allowed to chose what is best for them. For some, college is the first time they have left the town they grew up in, and being placed in a new environment with a random roommate could be too much for them to handle. For these students it may be best for them to room with someone they know from home, or who they have previously met before. However, some students may be eager to try new things and be exposed to many different types of people. These students may thrive in an environment where they are constantly exposed to new things that a random roommate can provide. But regardless of what is beneficial to each student, it is imperative that the students are allowed to make the decision about what is best for them.

Emmy Byrnes

I think having a stranger has a roommate as a freshman is a good thing. I think it is a great experience for each student. It's good thing because you go in with an open mind. Honestly I think having a someone new as a roommate would expand a student horizon to meet and mingle with new students at their school. This will make the students want to make new friends. I also really like that the author use different sources to get all different views about this topic. One thing that I thought was neat is having an app to find a roommate with the same likes. I like the idea that having an app to help you find someone because some students could find it to much to deal with not knowing who they are going to be with. Which I can understand that, the thought of not knowing who you are going to be with could be very stressful for someone. I just thought that was a great to find a roommate that was perfect for you to be with. I really enjoy reading about this topic because I really do plan to transfer to a college where I know I will be rooming with someone that I know I won't know.


I believe that having a stranger as a roommate is a wonderful thing when you are starting your first year of college. It lets you open your mind and open your social skills and meeting new people. It is also giving you an opportunity to see other cultures, religions, interest, and styles in other people. You never know what to expect. You could know nothing about that person and then all of a sudden become the best of friends with them due to having common interest. Having someone you do not know as a roommate is a wonderful idea for colleges. You get to meet people from all over the United States. It is a great opportunity.


I think that having a stranger as a roommate is also a good thing. It would really teach you how to get along with all types of people and that to not judge. It would also show you that if you get to know someone new they might be a good or a bad person. Also that you should always give new people a chance not to just blow them off due to looks.

ashley castillo

I think that having a roommate that's a stranger is also a good thing. The article had good points about rooming with someone with the same likes as you. How are you going to learn to get along with other that are completely different than you are, if you cant even room with someone different than you. I would love hate that situation. I like my house clean and done a certain way, a roommate might be the opposite and I hate picking up after people. But I would also like to get to know someone new and learn to work with there good and bad habits.

Chauncey Walker

Well, from my personal experience rooming with a complete stranger or strangers can be a very valuable experience. Eighth grade through sophomore year i had to room with 12 other girls who had very different personalities, and who also varied in race and up bringing. It was hard for me to adapt to this living. I had to clean up after people i didn't even know not matter how nasty they were because it was part of the chore that was assigned to me. Before this the only other people I've ever lived with were my mother and little sister. Olga Khazan basically said that roommates adopt each others habits. That's pretty much what happened with me and the only close friend i had at this school i went to my 8th grade through sophomore year. I noticed that the longer we lived in the dorm together, the closer we got and then the closer we got the more we tended to act like each other. Our speech were the same, our body language, and even other looks. It became so often that everyone thought we were related. So, living with a variety of people can really be a good thing. From this experience i have not only learned from the mistakes I've made like for one i remember this one time i had sneaked out of my dorm with some of the other girls that i lived with and we went to the boys dorms. We got caught half way there by the campus security and we all got detention for 3 weeks. But i also learned how to do different things that i thought i could never do like sewing a dress together. And i also developed life long friendships which for me is a big thing because it was always hard for me to trust others.

Samuel Jesse Blockson

I think is is very important to have a roommate that you do not know your freshmen year. The writer gives good examples on why she thinks that school should keep picking for the freshman. Yes more young people want to be with someone that they now or some one that they are comfortable with. But the writer said the college is for you to get to know other people. College roommates are so that you can learn to except the differences of other people. As Anna Altmen said "Roommates influence whether and which social organizations an individual joins, a choice that can have a profound effect on social networks throughout college and later in life as well as on career choice. Being assigned a roommate of a different race, for example, makes a student “more comfortable with interracial interaction,” Mr. Sacerdote says." This is really true.

Taylor Malseed

Emmy and Rachel made great points here as to why having a stranger as a roommate is a good thing because it forces you to go in with an open mind and expand your horizons. However, based off my personal experience as a college freshman, I believe that students should be allowed to choose a roommate that is best for them. Like Sydney said, many students come from out of state, far from home and being placed in a new environment with a random roommate could be too much to handle. Not necessarily rooming with someone who you were best friends with, but someone you knew of or have mutual friends with. I was a little home sick at first coming from out of state and wish I had someone I new better to turn to. In my opinion, rooming with someone you are familiar with still gives you the opportunity to branch out and meet other people through Greek life, student organizations, classes, etc. My freshman year I went in with an open mind and was put with a stranger that made me feel very uncomfortable. I felt like I couldn’t be myself and avoided the room as much as possible. Unfortunately, this affected my whole freshman year and I always look back on it wishing I had gotten the same experience as my friends, who did know their roommates. This may have just been the case for me which is why I see both the positive and negatives of having a stranger as a roommate and agree with a lot of points made in previous comments.

William Rey Worley

In response to Chauncey, I find it very interesting that you feel Olga Khazan was implying that roommates take on habits of each other. I would like to address both my support of this and my questioning of this. One point to make about this is that, you seem to assert that roommates will grow to be more and more like each other the more time they spend together but is this a positive or negative thing? You say that as you spent time with your roommates you became more alike, but one could raise concerns as to if you were taking on their habits or you felt alienated and wanted to fit in more by being more like them. The fact that someone would become more like their roommate could actually be better used as evidence against having roommates you do not already know, especially when you give the example of how your roommates negatively influenced you, leading you into trouble. One could raise the question that if you were paired with someone you picked, you would not have taken on a deviant personality adopted from the roommates you were randomly given. I am not saying this is a bad thing, just that it is interesting to consider both the positive and negative outcomes of such a thing. Emmy makes a great point about how a person is subject to being forced to mingle with people who may be unlike themselves or their normal group of friends. It is wonderful that this is related to expanding the students horizon, but this can be expanded upon. If a student is subject to friends unlike who the student would normal mingle with, the student would become more open and diverse. The student would be subject to other ways of acting and thinking and allowed to possibly alter their own ways accordingly. Finally, I fully agree with Sydney in that while random roommates may be accepted as a benefit, it is not a perfect fit. Everyone is different and has different needs, what is useful for one person may be detrimental to another. This is a fork in the discussion which was reasonably answered by Sydney, simply make having a random roommate a choice. Allow a student to choose what would be best for them. However, a fault to consider in this response to individual needs is that a student who feels they need a roommate they know may be a student who is most in need of being subjected to other styles of people. The student who wants a roommate they know may be the student in most need of experiencing this diversity.

Josie Myers

Although I have no experience with a long-term roommate, I do believe that it is a valuable experience to live with someone completely different. I think that trying to match personality is good in principle, but if you end up being too alike, that could also be a problem. My best friend and I have already made a pact to never be roommates because we believe that it could ruin our friendship. Being forced to live with a new person will help you later in life when it is expected that you deal with difficult people maturely.


Long-term rooming with a with a with a roommate would be a good experience to have during college. I personally have never done this, but my brother has and it helped with creating new friends and influenced his college experience. Rooming with a person who is similar to you but not the same would help students who go out of state for college as well that way they have common ground with each other. Also this would be a great way to experience new cultures or backgrounds.


When attending college for the first time, it can be frightening not knowing what to expect or not having anything to connect with. Rooming with a stranger can add to the fear. However, rooming with someone you may not know but still have similarities with can help with the feeling of uncertainty. Having a room-mate that is different from you but similar at the same time makes the feeling of fear go away quicker by having something to connect to but it also allows for a new experience and learning. I feel that having a long-term room-mate that shares similar characteristics with you but still is different in their own way, rather than a complete stranger, has a more lasting and beneficial affect in the long run.


I think rooming with strangers is a good thing especially in college because it helps the students figure out what type of friend group they should hang out and which ones they shouldn't hang out with. The roommate helps determine their decision.


I think a roommate is a good thing because it forces you to get to know a new person and that's what college is all about

Hannah Butler

More recently, the standard way of thinking about college roommates has it that they should be prearranged in order to prevent as much conflict as possible. However, in “A College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger,” Anna Altman argues that living with a random person is an important experience for a college freshman. She states that rooming with a stranger is important because it tests one’s limits and can “expand horizons and open eyes” of many students regarding everything from behavior to extracurricular activities. Altman also mentions that students can become more comfortable with other ethnicities and socio-economic groups by living with a stranger, which can be helpful for their futures. Lastly, she claims that another benefit of random roommate assignments is the opportunity to gain negotiation and compromise skills.

By focusing on the “college experience” gained from having a random roommate, Altman overlooks the deeper problem of the experiences that could be lost permanently. Like Altman says, college is meant for students to get out of their comfort zones, but what she fails to recognize is the fact that freshman year of college is overwhelming enough and a roommate should be a sense of consistency and comfort. A student is dealing with plenty of change as it is and living with a person completely different from him/herself will only make the stress worse. While challenges can be beneficial, there are other ways to encounter and face them. For example, new clubs, classes, and friends can all expose students to unfamiliar races and socio-economic groups. Lastly, students will accumulate many new skills with a roommate no matter how much they know or don’t know them. Living with someone else is a learning opportunity in itself and the acquaintance of the roommate will not change this. Overall, there are so many risks involved in having a random roommate and the few benefits can be sought elsewhere on campus.


I believe that having a random person as a room mate is a good thing. For, you learn to socialize with other people. College is a very different place from high school. The people are "more mature," and much more diverse. if you are, in a way, forced to get along with the new room mate then it might open up the door to meeting other people and thus expanding the new freshman's horizons.


Despite the general concept of being matched up with a complete stranger based on superficial elements (race and music interests) sounding a bit strange, it is considered an important part of college living and ultimately life. Based on personal experience, rooming with a complete stranger is a great way of stepping out of your comfort zone and make friends. However, some students have not been as fortunate as I have in my experience with the way roommate match ups work. The article states that some colleges have implemented a matchmaker-like assessment where potential roommates are paired up based on similar interests. Although Stephanie Wu argues against the online dating-like algorithm as it does not accurately predict the possibility of a successful relationship between roommates, I believe that similar interests is a good start for a potential friendship to flourish. The article also states that sharing a room with a stranger also has a greater impact on the way an individual interacts with things that are different, for example, "rooming with someone from a lower socioeconomic class can increase support for policies like financial aid that help close the wealth gap". Rooming with a complete stranger does seem like a scary concept, but it is a vital part of the ultimate college experience we all know and love.

Katie Bartholomew

I think Roommate's can be a new and fun experience to incoming freshman and I also think it could jumpstart some really good friendships. However I am one of those people who really do not like having to share rooms with people. I need my own space to think and breathe and I can barely do that in a room with someone I know let alone a stranger. I have currently not had to live in a dorm in my first year of college but I know once I transfer to the University I'm looking at I will need to find living arrangements. So this brings me to wonder If I should just deal with dorm life or should i find an apartment and live on my own. Coming from my stand point that roommates are just simply not my thing I believe the apartment life will be well suited for me. So maybe instead of trying to match students with strangers to live with for an entire semester colleges find a way to put students in a living situation they enjoy. If a student wants to be alone, let them be alone. If they want roommates, find them roommates. I think this would be a much more effective way to handle the situation.

Kelley Stevenson

I believe that college is definitely a time for new experiences, and meeting new people. When you meet new people, it gives you a chance to converse with one another, and dispurse your points of views, thought, and opinions about a multitude of topics. It also gives you a chance to broaden your perspective on life, and even open your mind up to new experiences, and trying new things. Me personally, I haven't had the opportunity to experience living in dorms, but I'm quite sure that if I had, I wouldn't regret it , or change it for the world.

Colin Bunker

Samuel Blockson made a great point about the article “A College Education Should Include Rooming with a Stranger” by Anna Altman and his point is that having a roommate with a different background from you makes you a better-rounded individual. College is a great time to step out of your comfort zone and meet new people and try new things. This all starts with the roommate. A random roommate gives you the opportunity to start college, the first day, with new people, with new ideals, and new interests. Samuel pointed out that roommates rub off on each other and this adds to the importance of having a random roommate in college. You might find that your roommate introduces you to undiscovered interests which can alter your current career path or choice of major. Also, College is a time to meet new people and make connections. A random roommate doubles the amount of people you are with because you are not only hanging out with people that share your interests, but also with people who have similar interests to your roommate. This can be important when entering the job force to have connections with different types of people.

Carnetta ford

I think it's good to have a roommate you absolutely do not know. It's a better way to meet & hang out with new people. Who knows you might have something in common with that person. Also, you can be introduce to a new culture. When your a freshmen you don't know anyone anyway. So why not have a stranger as a roommate.

Jin H

I agree that living with strangers can be a very valuable experience. I like talking with different persons who come form various places. Interacting with strangers actually improves my communicating skills and gives me some different knowledge. I had lived a guy who came form Africa, he knows a lot about guns, knowing shooting skills, how to maintain them. Living with strangers sometimes is a trouble, we have to adopt strangers’ strange habits. One of my roommates loves to sleep on the sofa, wherever he stays. However, in my experience, if you want to get a good roommate, some things you should do. The first is to get familiar with them, to invite them to go to local restaurants or bars is a good choice. And then you should show your attitudes to life such that you do not like noise, communicating before your roommates bring friends. Last step may be the hard one, being a true friend. Taking care of your roommates and often showing friendly smile to them may work.

Patrick Hill

Devin makes a very good point here that roommates are good for your freshman year. Being matched up with roommates is very crucial for gaining the social experience college is meant to give you. You are no longer living alone in your own littler world, you now have to share your world with someone whom is not exactly the same as you. As Devin points out this can have positive and negative effects. The positive effects being that it can work as a networking system. Lets say you and your roommate hang out with different people, well you can bring those two groups together to make a bigger friend group. By stating this Devin is showing that having a roommate different than you is more beneficial and I couldn’t agree more. If you have a roommate who is just like you, you gain nothing from the experience. I can relate my roommate experiences to this. Throughout my college years I have been very lucky with roommates. I have gotten roommates that are not exactly like me but we are very compatible and good friends. They have influenced me to be a more rounded person and experience different views on life.


I think that having a stranger as roommate for college is good. It forces you to get out of your comfort zone and learn how to communicate with someone else. You can create a different friend circle with your new roommate and become more social. Being in college requires responsibility. You and your roommate can become reliant on each other and hold each other accountable.

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