Do I contact my roommate before school starts?

Whether you’ve already received your roommate assignment for the upcoming semester or you’re eagerly waiting for your housing information, the question of whether or not you should contact your roommate(s) has definitely crossed your mind. The answer to that question is yes!

It may feel awkward, especially if you are on the shyer side, but you will be living with this person or persons for the year so you might as well get the awkwardness over with before you get to school. Here are some important reasons why:

  1. To decrease nervousness: It’s nerve racking not knowing what to expect, especially when it comes to your living situation. An easy fix is to get to know your roommate! Learn a little bit more about their background and it will help make your living situation easier.
  2. To plan: You want to determine which shared items you will bring and which they will bring. This is also incredibly helpful for you if you are an international student with roommates from the country you are studying since they can likely bring the stuff that would be hard for you to travel with.
  3. To ask questions: You may have some questions about school that your roommate can answer. If you have a roommate from the country you are studying in, your roommate would be great to ask questions about the local weather or local restaurants/venues.

Hopefully we’ve convinced you to reach out to your roommate! Now you may be wondering, what do I say to them? What if I run out of things to talk about? Here are some ideas to start the conversation!

Send an email just saying Hey! (here’s an idea to get you started)

Hey (insert roommate’s name),

            I’m (insert your name). I just found out you’re my roommate for this year. I’m from (insert where you’re from) and looking forward to meeting you. I would love to get to know you better before school starts! (optional sentence: I use text more frequently than I do email, so feel free to text me at [insert phone number]).

Looking forward to hearing from you!

(insert name here)


Important questions to ask:

  1. Where they are from
  2. What day/time they move in
  3. What items you should bring for your room

Things to talk about:

  1. The type of music they enjoy
  2. Their favorite TV shows
  3. What they like to do in their free time
  4. Their family
  5. Their major or, if undecided, what major they are thinking about
  6. If they are planning on joining Greek life (if your school has it)

Don’t be discouraged if your roommate does not respond. Many times students don’t check their email frequently or are too nervous themselves to reply. Either way, reach out and start chatting. It will make for a smoother transition into the school year.

And remember, it’s okay if your roommate does not share all the same interests. It’s even okay if they seem completely different from you. That just means you can learn from each other and experience new things, but also have the space to enjoy your interests independently. Either way… muster up some courage and reach out!

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