The only advice you’ll ever need for college roommates

Ah yes, the student apartment. You might be a freshman, or simply moving in to an apartment specifically for students. Either way, you might need some much-needed advice when it comes to college roommates.

The reality is, you get lucky or you don’t. Your new flatmates may become your best friends or your biggest pain in the butt. Someone doesn't clean, and someone is a clean-freak (hello, Monica). Classic roommate clash right there. Don't worry: we have the only advice you'll ever need when it comes to college roommates. Goodbye, bad roommate experiences!

Image of person with college roommates

Establish boundaries

Living with new people, especially if they are complete strangers, means you don’t know much about each other or how you are used to living. Some people may be independent already and know how to clean and cook and balance their lives (we are jealous of those people). But there might be others who have never held a spatula in their life (a spatula, by the way, is a large spoon you use to cook with).

It’s always a good idea to sit down with your new mates and talk about what ‘rules’ or agreements you want to apply to your new flat. Think about things like what you want or don’t want to share, noise levels, and having people over. You should always try to find the middle ground; it’s not fair if someone says no friends allowed ever, and another says parties every night. So, try to compromise.

Sharing is caring

Speaking of sharing: what are you willing to split the costs on? Maybe you want to share cleaning supplies and toilet paper, because that’s something everyone uses. Or maybe you all want to buy a plant for the kitchen and call it Bob. You can also keep a list or rotation of who’s turn it is to buy what each week/month.

If you decide to alternate taking over costs or want to pay each other back when one of you buys the necessities, a great way to do this hassle-free is through apps. With WieBetaaltWatt (who pays what), for example, you can add shared expenses and distribute the costs evenly.


Yeah, it’s great to have new friends and live with new people, but it’s not nice if there’s no respect for each other’s things and space. Don’t take things if you haven’t been told you can share them or use them, and don’t go into their rooms if you don’t have permission (unless it is an emergency, of course). No one wants to come home to find you using their towels after a shower or using their makeup for a night out without asking first. What's more, one wants to come home to find you snooping around in their room, because that's just strange.

Be as tidy as possible

Your room can be as messy as you want- it’s your room, after all. But keep the communal areas clean. The kitchen, eating space, living space, and bathrooms are spaces you all share. And yes, you may be 4 or 5 people, which means rooms get messier a lot easier, but you should all agree (and actually try) to clean up after yourselves. It’s as easy as washing your mugs after you make your coffee, or cleaning your new kitchen appliances. Maybe you agree to have a cleaning schedule so that everyone does their part each week.

Don't make enemies

Best case scenario, you become best friends and do everything together. But that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes, you might not click with someone or you just have different opinions or habits. Even if you can’t agree with everything your new college roommates do or say, it’s still worth it to be polite. Make an effort to have a good relationship; you don’t want anyone to hold grudges against you or sabotage your shampoo by putting bleach in it (that’s what they always do in movies, right?). Try to stay friendly and polite, and put some distance between you if you butt heads.

Image of college roommates fighting

Sometimes college roommates aren't meant to be

After a certain point, you might realize that you just can’t live with them. At this point, it's worth to explore alternatives through College Life Housing.  And yeah, this may be a little bit extreme, but trust me: you’ll be so much happier living somewhere else if there are things you really can’t look past with your college roommates. Also, screaming matches and passive-aggressive silent treatments can really stress you out, and your living situation really shouldn’t be the thing that keeps you up at night (that should be thinking about your future, my friend).

Living with new college roommates should be fun and hassle-free! Just remember: be respectful, establish boundaries, and most importantly, have fun! Every student will experience this at some point, so just hang tight. Who knows, maybe your college roommates will become friends for life?