Meghan Pottle | Staff Writer
It’s the next eHarmony, Match.com, and OkCupid–it’s the search for a college roommate.
Every year, incoming college freshmen have the choice to be randomly matched with a roommate or search for a roommate online on their own. The thought of being randomly assigned with a roommate scares some students, forcing them to go out on their own in search for someone with similar interests and routines.
Toni Greenslade-Smith is the Director of Housing Administration at the Ohio State University and said that OSU offers students the opportunity to go out and search for roommates, but many come back and decide to be matched randomly.
“We have profile questions that we ask them to complete in the housing contract that we will use to match them with a student if they don’t find a roommate,” Greenslade-Smith said. “We ask their preference for overnight guests: are they neat or messy, are they an early morning person or a night person? Based on those responses, we put students together.”
Several colleges, such as the University of Cincinnati and OSU, have Facebook pages and groups that incoming freshmen can join in hopes of connecting with other students online. Incoming students can post short biographies and information about themselves, similar to the kind of information you would find on an online dating website.
Senior Maddie Solimini plans to attend the University of Cincinnati in the fall and is rooming in a quad with three roommates that she found online.
“After I applied, I just joined the Facebook pages just to kind of look around and see what people were posting and get an idea of what I should say,” Solimini said. “It was actually really nerve-racking because I didn’t want to say something and make it sound weird or wrong and make people not want to room with me. But, I just said some of my hobbies and what I like to do and my personality in a nutshell.”
Senior Brooke White is attending Miami University next year and said she found her roommate by putting her basic information on the Miami Facebook page.
“It’s just kind of a weird experience because you will have random people message you and they’re trying to get to know you, but it is over messaging so you don’t really know what they are like,” White said. “You put a profile out and then people start messaging you and I think that’s what they do on online dating, so it’s very similar to that. It’s scary how similar it is.”
Greenslade-Smith also said that searching for a college roommate is somewhat like online dating because it is about students finding the right fit and being more upfront.
“For example, we had an issue that developed where we had two students that met each other on social media, thought they got along real well, asked to be roommates, we put them together. Well, one has to sleep with the window open. She never told her roommate that, which if it doesn’t come up in conversation, it might not be something you think about, but it drove the roommate crazy. We ended up having to process a room change,” Greenslade-Smith said. “It’s just one of those things, the more forthcoming students can be about their habits, what they’re like, what they’re looking for, and that kind of thing, the better off they’re going to be as we look to put them together.”