10 Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before You Move In

As you are enjoying summer break, it might seem like fall semester is still ages away. But it will be here before you know it and there are a few things you can do to prepare for the upcoming school year. One thing to prioritize this summer is getting to know your future roommate.

Whether you swap socials, text, or even meet in person, you can set the stage now by getting to know each other a little bit.

Not sure what to say or what questions to ask? We are here to help!

You probably already know to ask all the basic questions… When do you wake up? Are you more messy or clean? What’s your major? What are you bringing? When do you move in? And so on.

But let’s take it a step beyond the basics.

Father helps move his daughter into her Residence Hall at Miami He is pushing a red bin full of her things and she is carrying a cardboard box

Try asking these ten questions to get to know your roommate on a deeper level and be more comfortable and prepared to live together. These questions will help you to set expectations, get to know the real them, and may lead to conversations about important boundaries that need to be established. It will also help you and your roommate be better prepared to fill out your roommate agreement when you move into your residence hall next semester.

1. How would you prioritize the following activities: work, play, clean, and rest?

It’s more important to know how your roommate prioritizes these things than to actually have the same order. This will allow you both understand the values of the other person and where their priorities lie.

2. How should we handle approaching each other when we have a request or complaint?

Does your prospective roommate prefer to hash things out face to face, or is text appropriate?

This will make sure that the lines of communication stay open and that you both feel comfortable confronting the other.

3. Would you rather use our space more as a place to relax, a place to study, or a place to entertain? What percent of each is ideal?

Get to know if your roommate intends to do homework and studying in the room, or just use it for relaxation and socializing. Then make a schedule of expectations so you both can use the room for your preference.

4. How often will you go home or out of town? Translation: How often will you be home?

Does your roommate intend to go home for holidays, weekends etc.? You should also talk about any expectations of each other while one of you is away (having guests over, sleeping in the other’s bed etc.).

5. What are your deal breakers in a roommate?

Both of you should list them out. Are you a neat freak? Are your clothes off limits to borrowing? Food? What about guests? Be honest. Own your quirks, and establish clear boundaries upfront.
Two male roommates in their Miami University Residence Hall they are standing in front of their decorations with their arms over each others shoulders

6. Sharing is caring, or every person for themselves?

When it comes to sharing anything from clothes to cookware with a roommate, work out if you’re comfortable lending your things to others. Some people like to keep their belongings to themselves and others love to share wholeheartedly. Also set up expectations for sharing. For example, maybe if they borrow your shirt they have to wash it before returning it.

7. How seriously are you taking social distancing and other COVID precautions?

Find out how they weathered the past year and what they are doing now to avoid spreading the infection (yes, it still matters). Who are they seeing? Are they limiting their social circle? Are they comfortable with guests? Clorox everything? Vaccines?

8. What does your ideal weekend look like Thursday through Sunday?

Do you like to explore hiking trails? Visit the farmers market? Grind out homework? Go uptown with friends? Hit the gym? Be transparent about your hobbies and preferences. You definitely don’t have to share all the same interests, but talking about it now can help you respect each other’s choices and set expectations.

9. What is your protocol on overnight guests? Under what circumstances can someone else stay over and how often?

Are guests allowed? Banned? What are your thoughts on having overnight guests… whether it is a younger or older sibling or boyfriend/girlfriend? Be upfront with how you feel in the beginning and avoid a future rift. Be honest with yourself and what you are comfortable with.

10. What does your social circle look like at Miami? Do you want to branch out or are you looking to mostly maintain those relationships?

Figure out whether your roommate is looking to start fresh or whether they are already set in a social group. How will you fit into each other’s pre-existing groups to expand your social circle? Also if they don’t know many people, be sure to include them and check in on them to see how they are doing socially.

These questions are a great jumping off point for you and your roommate to begin working together to form a relationship and a healthy living environment. Having discussed these topics will help to put you ahead of the curve when the school year starts and you begin your journey together at Miami.

For more information and things to discuss with your future roommate check out the Roommates page on the Residence Life website.

Grace Cooper