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The Atlantic Features College's Roommate Match


“I absolutely do not think we would have found each other [if we’d been allowed to choose],” said Rachel Harshaw ’17 in an interview in The Atlantic titled Colleges would rather freshmen not choose their roommates. “Going into my freshman year, I was so wanting to pick my own roommate.” Explaining her consternation at being assigned roommates, “none of whom appealed to her when she did her pre-matriculation internet sleuthing,” she said, “But at the end of the day, if I hadn’t taken those friendship risks, it’s kind of scary to think about where I’d be.” Harshaw currently lives with two of her roommates in Boston.

The September article addressed the conflicting desires of colleges and first-year students. “…schools prefer to use dorms as a way to introduce young adults to new perspectives. Left to their own devices, many incoming freshmen are inclined to preselect their roommates—and when they do, many opt for peers they already know or to whom they assume they will relate. The advent of social media platforms such as Facebook in the mid-2000s … fueled that impulse.”

Hamilton does roommate matching the old-fashioned way. Doing roommate matching by hand “helps us feel like the small college we are. This is not the most efficient way to do it, but it does have the personal old school touch,” said Associate Dean of Students Travis Hill. Using questionnaire responses on everything from sleep, study, and housekeeping habits to “specific characteristics about yourself that may have a bearing on your housing assignment,” Hill and others make the matches.

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