Choose a roommate you can live with using these guidelines

One of the first challenges of going off to college was meeting the stranger the University chose to be your roommate. Today, more and more students are passing over that tradition and making the choice themselves through the Internet.

As the Internet has matured, many websites have been created to offer people a chance to browse through a database of potential roommate candidates. More and more incoming college freshman turn to Facebook to find their first roommates, and sites such as Roomster.com and Uloop.com allow students to select potential matches from the University of Illinois network. Whether you use the Internet or post an ad on a bulletin board, here are some pointers to keep in mind to help with your roommate search:

*1. Be patient*

A search for the right roommate requires time and tolerance. You want to find someone who is compatible, and picking from a pool of unfamiliar people can take a while.

*2. Be honest about who you are and what you want*

If you want to live with a roommate, make a commitment to honesty, since that is what you expect from others. When creating your profile or ad, don’t succumb to pressure to put what you think others will want to hear. For example, don’t write that you like to party and drink every night if you’re not a very social person. If you present an accurate picture of who you are, you’ll attract potential matches that fit your needs.

*3. Reach out to potential matches*

If you find someone who meets at least some of your criteria, be sure to contact them as soon as possible. If you’ve found them on Facebook, send them a message and say a few things about yourself, just to break the ice. Make sure to meet them in person and talk about what you expect; share your views on sharing food, houseguests, bills, noise, etc. Agreeing on these things before you move in can help prevent fights in the future. But if things don’t work out, you can move on with your search.

*4. Figure out your routine*

Once you’ve met your roommate, compare your routines. Put together a list of things you do on a daily basis, and compare that list with your potential roommate’s activities to determine if the match will work. If you’re a night owl and your roommate is an early bird, figure out the best times to turn off the lights and reduce the noise level when you need to study.

*5. Sign a rental agreement*

Even if your roommate is a friend or someone you have known for a long time, put the terms of your rental agreement in writing. Having an agreement is a great way to make sure that you and your roommate are on the same page. Addressing things when they’re little can help your roommate be aware of something he or she may not otherwise know.

*6. Be friendly*

If the match is completely random, don’t go into your roommate relationship thinking that you are going to be best friends. You should be friendly with your roommate and be able to get along with him or her, but also make sure you have your own social circles. As the semester progresses, realize that things may come up unexpectedly. Be comfortable setting new rules and boundaries.