Roommates 101

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Nearly all of the students who come to Georgia Tech have private rooms at home. Those who do share a room with a sibling typically have bedrooms larger than most of the double rooms at Tech. In addition, most students have never lived away from home, lived with a stranger or coped with the stress of the Georgia Tech curriculum. Add all these variables together and the potential for roommate problems becomes quite apparent. How can your student overcome this? By deliberate discussions about the basic fundamentals of social beings: asking permission, respecting the wishes of others, compromise, and sharing. The following is what we communicate to our residents.

The Basics

You and your roommate have most likely come to college with different values, beliefs, and customs. Differences can be exciting, but they can also offer new challenges to your interpersonal skills.

Building a foundation of open communication can enhance roommate success. Start by becoming acquainted with each other so you know what to expect.

Some of the goals of sharing a room are to create an atmosphere where both your personal and academic needs can be met, and it is always nice if a friendship can develop as well! Keep in mind that your roommate/suitemates/apartmentmates are not going to be just like you. You will need to adjust and compromise.

Being a Good Roommate Means . . .

  • Talk to each other with no outside distractions
  • Do not feel like you have to be best friends
  • Keep a good sense of humor
  • Borrow only with permission
  • Give studying and sleeping top priority
  • Try to be neat
  • Take accurate phone messages
  • Discuss potential areas of conflict
  • Be open to compromise
  • Show considerate of your roommates' privacy
  • Be honest and assertive, and standing up for yourself
  • Complete the roommate contract
  • Ask your Peer Leaders (PL) or Resident Advisor (RA) staff member for help and assistance

Roommate Contracts

Roommate contracts may be utilized by Residence Life staff to help facilitate community living. This can be done at the start of the academic year or anytime throughout the year. All roommates will discuss and come to an agreement on the contract. The terms of the contract must be honored. A violation of the contract may result in judicial action.

Common Conflicts

Over time, Residence Life has learned to anticipate the basic pattern of roommate conflicts. Most can be summarized in five categories:

  1. Use of space in room (too much "stuff" from one person),
  2. Presence or behavior of guests,
  3. Noise, sharing of personal property,
  4. Differing or changing expectations of the roommate relationship, and
  5. Differences in personal values.

Supporting your Student

Be sure that you have heard "both" sides of the disagreement, or that you are not adding to the concerns. Remember, you do not have to live there! Ask if your student has shared this concern with their RA or PL. If not, please encourage them to do so. And while you want to get the situation resolved to your student's satisfaction, please remind him or her that willingness to compromise is important.

Housing's Policies on Room Moves

Because we start the beginning of the year at 100 percent occupancy, we simply have no space into which a student can be easily moved for a roommate conflict. We are prepared to help mediate a conflict and to work with all parties involved to create a livable situation. Please be sure your student keeps their PL or RA informed of the situation.

Click here for more information on Residence Life.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Created: 08/31/2012
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016


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