How can I prevent myself from getting a roommate in college?

Unless you have special circumstances, there is no guarantee that you will be able to live without roommates in college. However, you can try a few techniques to increase your odds of getting a single dorm room.

To try to avoid getting college roommates, you should:

  • Note any special circumstances in your room selection application.
    • These can include physical health conditions, mental health conditions, or other situations which would make it uncomfortable, difficult, or impossible for you to share a room with roommates.
  • If any such special circumstances exist, call the ResLife office to politely explain them and see if there’s anything they can do to help you out.
  • Make sure your college even offers single dorms, either in general or to students of your year.
    • Most colleges and universities, such as UMass Amherst, use a defined “Room Selection Priority” system which tends to favor students who have accumulated credit hours.
    • This means underclassmen may have a difficult time securing a dorm room without roommates.
  • If all else fails, and getting a single room is your top priority, consider becoming an RA (Resident Assistant).

Why do colleges force you to have a roommate?

Colleges “force” most of their students to have roommates for two reasons:

  1. Necessity: They simply don’t have enough dorm room space to give the majority of their students a single.
  2. Diversity, inclusion, and community-building: College is one of the first times in students’ lives that they get out of their bubble and interact with people who don’t look, talk, sound, or think like them. This is a good thing, and serves to make college a more inclusive and exciting environment. There is no more surefire way of encouraging this bubble-bursting than to get people of different backgrounds in the same room together.

Is your roommate situation not working out? Here’s how to request a switch:

What percentage of college students have roommates?

As discussed in our article on the number of roommates you can have in college, recent studies have found that just 13% of first-year college students have no roommates.

Average number of roommates for freshman students
Source: Skyfactor, 2016

So while following the tips outlined above can increase your chances of bunking solo, don’t get your hopes up too high.

Learn more about living (or not living) with college roommates:

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