Asking the wrong roommate question

<p>I filled out a pretty lengthy roommate questionnaire. It asked the normal stuff...smoker or non-smoker, night person or day person...and also a few off-beat questions like music preference. It asked us to describe what we wanted in a roommate, and what we thought we'd be like as a roommate. It also asked about our attitude toward alcohol (I believe there was a little preface about underage drinking being illegal, but the question still being an important one...I may be misremembering, but either way, it definitely asked about our attitude, not our habits). Also asked attitude re: overnight guests and a few other such topics.</p>

<p>As others have said, the "most important question" will vary from student to student, and no reasonable questionnaire will cover them all. But I do think that the OP is correct in believing that this is an important (and potentially divisive) issue for many students. Both my freshman year roommate and myself had responded that we didn't drink + were uncomfortable around alcohol. Yes, attitudes do change, but at the time, this was a big issue for both of us + it was comforting to know that the school was interested in addressing it. If the questionnaire hadn't asked, I would have made a note (may have gone ignored, but I still would've put it out there).</p>

<p>ETA: Whether or not lengthy questionnaires actually have a great impact on roommate compatibility, I appreciated having to fill one out. Regardless of how much the school actually looked at the questionnaires, there were psychological benefits to thinking that they'd be considered. It also forced me to think about a lot of important questions that I otherwise might not have, and part of the thought process included how I'd deal with a differently-minded roommate. Just my $0.02.</p>

<p>At a friends college, they asked 'what are the 3 most recent books you have read?' They said that was very reliable in matching compatible kids as roommates and suitemates.</p>

<p>Your child should consider joining a facebook group for their incoming class (X University 2012 or whatnot). The kids often do their own searching for roommates on those forums -- sometimes with something as formal as a questionnaire, sometimes simply by exchanging e-mails and getting to "know" one another a bit before asking the "will you room with me?" question.</p>

<p>Many moons ago I got to fill out a very detailed questionaire. I asked for a non-smoker who spoke German or French and had lived overseas. I got a young woman whose mother was German, father was Bengali and were living in Paris. I think the housing office must have been patting themselves on the back by making that match. We got on very well.</p>

<p>CMU had three questions. Lark or night owl? Messy or not? (there was a gradation for how often you thought you'd clean your room - every day, once a week, once a month and never I think.) Oh and whether or not you smoke. There are only two dorms that even allow smoking.</p>

<p>My son's questionnaire only asked about smoking--Are you a smoker? Could you live with a smoker? It makes me a little nervous. But he is in a freshman honors learning community, so I guess they will have compatible interests. There are already Facebook groups for his class and his dorm because room signup has begun online. He started a Facebook group for his floor (and I always think of him as an introvert ;) ).</p>

<p>The other thing that makes me nervous is too much information too soon--gives you lots of time to obsess about your living situation instead of just moving in and adapting to the flow. But it's a different generation, and social networking shapes their universe.</p>

<p>Slightly OT, but I can never resist a story: My family moved before my senior year in high school. Still homesick for the Lone Star State, I asked for a freshman roommate from Texas--it was my only request. I got my wish, and we were great roommates and friends even after we roomed with other people. I recently got back in touch with her and reminded her of that story. She couldn't understand my attraction to Texas because all she wanted to do at age 18 was get as far away from there as possible.</p>