Living with a roommate can be one of the most rewarding and memorable experiences of your college career. But without proper communication and respect it can sometimes be challenging. Learn the essentials for establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with your roommate.
Steps for Success
Step One: Roommate Assignments
The first step for many students in ensuring a healthy relationship with their roommate comes before Mooov-In: the room and roommate assignment process.
Selecting a Roommate
Students are able to select a preferred roommate, or they can opt to be matched to a roommate by University Housing and Dining.
Roughly half of the students living on campus select a preferred roommate.
- Select a preferred roommate in your housing portal after you have a completed housing contract. Create a roommate group and invite your preferred roommate to the group. You will need your preferred roommate's UT EID. Your preferred roommate must have a completed housing contract to be able to accept your request. You and your preferred roommate must be in the same roommate group to ensure that the assignment system works properly.
Students who do not select a preferred roommate will be matched by UHD.
- UHD will match roommates together by looking at age, classification and major.
- Lifestyle, culture, or other personal information is neither requested nor used to make roommate assignments.
- UHD cannot access any information from the Roommate Profiler, and it is not used by UHD when matching roommates. The Roommate Profiler can only be used by students.
After the Assignment
Official room and roommate assignments begin going out to incoming freshmen in mid-July. Once you receive your assignment, you will have your new roommate's contact info.
Start talking now. Find out what items you are planning on bringing to the room, what your new schedule looks like, etc. The more you can talk before you move in, the more prepared you will be once you start unpacking all of your belongings and setting up the room.
Some helpful things to talk about before Mooov-In are:
- Who is bringing the TV or other large items for the room?
- When are you planning to check-in?
- What is your class schedule going to be like?
- Are you a night owl? Morning person?
Step Two: Roommate Agreement
Living away from home, sharing a room (often for the first time), and immersing oneself in a diverse student community can be a rewarding as well as a challenging experience. As part of our mission, Residence Life is committed to providing a positive living environment in which all students are welcome, productive, and feel safe. However we recognize roommate conflicts do occur and resolving them is a shared responsibility between students, parents, and housing staff. In order to help facilitate communication and honesty among roommates, as well as to minimize the severity of potential conflicts that can arise, Residence Life provides students a Roommate Agreement.
Students are required to work with their roommates to fill out a detailed Roommate Agreement during the first few days after Mooov-in. These forms will ask roommates to have conversations in order to reach agreements on a variety of topics in order to meet each person's needs. Topics include:
- When the room should be quiet.
- When guests are welcome.
- Expectations for tidiness.
Each student also has a Resident Assistant living on the floor available to assist with conversations necessary to successfully complete the Roommate Agreement.
Handling Roommate Conflicts
Living with a new person for the first time is not always easy, and disagreements are bound to happen. Some conflicts can be resolved with a simple conversation, while others may need help from an RA. Resolving a roommate conflict is a process, and Residence Life is here to help and support you through it.
If you and your roommate are having a conflict, here are some things you can do to help the situation.
- Talk to your roommate to discuss your concern directly and respectfully. If the issue concerns items already agreed upon in the roommate agreement, be sure to address what was agreed upon. Remember, your roommate may not know that they are doing something that bothers you unless you talk with them openly and honestly.
- Seek help from your Resident Assistant if the conflict persists. Your RA is trained and available to assist in the mediation process, and conflicts can often be resolved at this point. All students need to bring the spirit of communication and compromise during the mediation process.
- If additional assistance is still needed, seek out help from your Complex Coordinator. Each community has a Complex Coordinator who is a professional staff member. Complex Coordinators are fully trained and available to assist with these types of issues.
Residence Life Staff Role
As part of our mission, Residence Life is committed to providing a positive living environment in which all students are welcome, productive, and feel safe. However we recognize roommate conflicts do occur and resolving them is a shared responsibility between students, parents, and housing staff. When working with students on a roommate conflict, we will:
- Take a proactive approach to roommate relationship building by providing the Roommate Agreement as well as programs that incorporate useful life skills designed to encourage students to communicate in an open and respectful way.
- Provide trained Resident Assistants and professional staff to assist with the mediation.
- Assess if any policies have been violated and if so, hold students accountable via the conduct system.
- Advise about room transfer process so that students are fully aware of their options.
Residence Life understands that a stressful living environment can affect a student's college performance, and we are proactive in our approach to roommate conflicts. The student's RA or CC are always available to help work through a conflict.
Parents/guardians are instrumental in providing support and assistance to the student.
Tips for Helping Your Student Through a Roommate Conflict
Helping Your Student Evaluate the Situation
- As you have in the past, it is important that you listen to your student. You can serve as a sounding board for them, providing both support and perspective.
- Remind your student that any conflict has two sides. Encourage your student to consider why their roommate might see the situation from a different point of view.
- Encourage your student to remember that roommate conflicts take time and effort to work through. Living with someone requires ongoing communication. Realistically speaking, a one-time meeting cannot solve all past and future problems.
- Assure your student that having a roommate conflict is not a rare occurrence. Many students go through hard times with their roommates, and most are able to resolve their differences in a way that meets everyone's needs.
Helping Your Student Address the Problem
- Encourage your student to talk directly, but respectfully, to their roommate about their concerns.
- Encourage your student to seek out the assistance of their RA or a Complex Coordinator.
- Be supportive of your student. Your encouragement is especially appreciated during stressful times.
- Allow your student to resolve their own roommate problems. Doing so will leave them better prepared to resolve problems on their own in the future.
- Encourage your student to whole-heartedly pursue other means of conflict resolution before requesting a new room. Often, students can successfully work through roommate problems. Additionally, the process of working through a roommate conflict provides them the opportunity to build valuable life long skills. An immediate room change would result in your student losing out on the benefits the opportunity offers. However, if the conflict cannot be resolved after working through mediation steps, a room change is a very good option. It's far better to live in a more positive environment than to refuse to leave a negative environment in order to prove a moot point.
Contacting Residence Life Yourself
- Consider Residence Life staff to be allies. We also want students to have the best possible experience.
- Talk to your student first before you call Residence Life yourself. Your student may not appreciate you calling Residence Life without their knowledge.
- Before calling Residence Life, familiarize yourself with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Simply put, in context of a roommate conflict, FERPA does not allow Residence Life Staff to discuss specific details of a student's conflict with their parent/guardian. However, the Residence Life staff will be happy to review with you the overall process in which we help residents work through conflicts. Your student is your information source if you want conflict specifics, so talk to them. Just keep in mind, they only have one side of the story. If a student wishes to sign a waiver so that Residence Life staff can speak to you directly regarding specific conflict details, they can obtain a waiver from their Complex Coordinator.
- By all means, contact your student's Complex Coordinator yourself if you feel a situation exists that has overwhelmed your student's ability to work through it. We are happy to talk with you about your concerns and will arrange for your student to access necessary resources and support.
Room Transfer Process
While we do not release students from their contracts based on roommate conflicts, we do have a room transfer process in place. If a student decides they want to switch rooms, they need to take the following steps:
- Fill out a room change request. Students are able to indicate hall and roommate preferences for their room change.
- Once the request is received, a Complex Coordinator may contact the student to talk over the reasons behind their request. The CC will then either approve or deny the request. The CC will also indicate to the Housing Reservations staff if the room change is an urgent need.
- If the request is approved, it will be forwarded to Occupancy Management where it will be handled based on housing application date order. If the request has been labeled as an urgent need, Occupancy Management will attempt to make the room change as soon as possible.
- When a vacancy is available, the student is notified. Some room changes are able to happen within the week of them being requested. Others may take all semester. It depends on the availability of the hall and room type that the student is requesting.
- If two students want to do a mutual room swap (where they trade places with each other), they still go through the first two steps above.