With the excitement of starting college comes the anxiety of moving into the residence halls—and for many students, moving in with a roommate for the first time.
While some students choose to live with an existing friend, approximately two-thirds of first-year students leave the matching to Calvin and move in with someone who was selected for them by Calvin’s specialized roommate matching process.
Step 1: The technical match
Calvin uses a special software program that generates ideal pairs based on your responses on the housing application. After analyzing lifestyle aspects such as musical tastes, sleep preferences and cleanliness, the software matches you to another person with complementary preferences and habits.
Step 2: The human touch
The computer-generated match is just the first step in the matching process. After the program has created a potential roommate match, the Calvin residence life staff reviews every pair by hand. During this stage, residence life is able to address all sorts of specific details. For example, if you indicated a nut allergy in the comments section of your housing application, you will be placed on a nut-free floor. If you are interested in the outdoors or athletics, residence life will work hard to place you with someone who shares this passion, rather than someone who prefers indoor activities. While the goal of this roommate matching system is to create a pair that lives well together, many of the matches are so successful that deep friendships form, and people end up living together throughout college.
In the end, it all depends on you
While residence life has an amazing record of producing successful roommate pairs, they rely on the honesty and accuracy of the information you provide on your housing application. When you are filling out your housing form, give as much specific information as possible to ensure that the process is as beneficial to you as it can be. Once you’ve arrived at Calvin it’s up to you to make the most of your new living situation. Talk about your preferences regarding sleep, study habits and having friends over—then record your decisions in a roommate contract. Whether you’re new or lifelong friends, being a good roommate takes work, communication and compromise.
Daniel and Michael: Matched by video games and musical tastes
What they were worried about:
“The only thing I worried about, and probably what most other kids worried about, was that I might not get along with my roommate.” —Daniel
“We have shared interests in video games and shows and stuff, but the main thing that’s made it easy for us to live together is being willing to show interest in what the other guy is into.” —Michael
“We actually just talk a lot. I think we’ve become more able to just talk about anything that friends would talk about. We like a lot of the same bands, movies and TV shows, so it was really easy to relate to each other right off the bat.” —Daniel
When you disagree:
“We don’t disagree on much (other than whether we should go to Commons or Knollcrest for dinner). We know when to give a little and to take a little back.” —Daniel
Advice to new students:
“Calvin does a good job of matching people, so there’s not much to worry about. It was almost eerie in our case. We’ve been asked a lot if we knew each other before coming to Calvin. The answer is no, but by now it’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know each other.” —Michael