Tips for parents on roommate matters
Helping your student learn and grow
College is an ideal time for your student to learn and grow, and having a college roommate is a true growth opportunity. Parents and families are partners in the college experience and can serve as a great support. Let your student experience and navigate each step of the roommate process.
A great way to start. The first step of your student’s roommate process will be completing the roommate questionnaire on the housing application. It is important that your student be the person responding to the questions, and to do so honestly to result in a more open and satisfying roommate relationship. If you as a parent complete your student’s profile questions with how you think your student would (or should) answer, the resulting profile will likely not be fully accurate. Additionally, if you are standing over your student’s shoulder while answering the questions, it may cause some variance in how your student responds in front of you. We encourage you to provide that space for your student in this important first step.
Be familiar with resources. If you haven’t yet, spend some time reviewing the information and links on all of the Roommate Success Guide pages. Your student may not have time to digest all of the information, so you can provide a great bridge to the information.
Listen. Provide an ear for your student to share concerns and vent frustrations.
Remain calm. Parents should be prepared for what we refer to as the “dump call,” the phone call during which your student unloads all of his or her concerns. After having a chance to vent, your student will typically feel much better, but the parents are up all night worrying. Don’t slip into panic mode – it’s tempting to call the university requesting a room change, or tell your student to come home for the weekend, but these won’t allow your student to resolve the problem. Be supportive and acknowledge what your student is saying without taking drastic action.
Keep your student on the path to independence. When your student complains, asking ‘What do you think you want to do about it?’ will show that there is a solution and that your student is the one finding it. Even if it’s painful to watch your student struggle, it will help in the transition to becoming a responsible adult.