College is the first time some students have to share a room for an extended period of time.
While some people come to Wartburg knowing who they want to room with, there are others that decide to have a roommate selected randomly for them.
“I think that if you live with someone you don’t know versus someone you already do your experience is going to be different, even if it is different for a month or two weeks or something it is going to be a different situation,” Wes Brooks, director of residential life, said.
The questions on cards mailed out to new students are decided by admission staff. One factor is looking at questions used by other colleges, Brooks said.
“The little things are the most impactful for roommates is what we found. It’s the when do you go to bed, when do you wake up, what kind of music do you listen to, what kind of TV shows do you watch,” Brooks said.
After all of the cards have been returned the answers are put into a database where they process them in terms of matches, Brooks said.
“We generate a list and all of the people that have ones fall into this and twos and so forth as their number one choice,” Brooks said.
Lists are generated for different categories then used to create matches, Brooks said.
This is not the only factor in who gets paired with whom. Admission has some input as well as athletic teams if they have to move in early.
“If you were not living close to someone or with another person that was an early arrival for sports or student employment or whatever the case might be it could get kind of lonely in those first weeks,” Brooks said. “Then all of a sudden they are having a bad experience before classes even start.”
While the goal is for each roommate pairing to be positive, that is not always the case.
Students are not forced to remain with their paired roommate, the hope is that they will be able to talk through whatever is causing problems, Brooks said.
Macy Walz did not have a good roommate right away. Walz said her first roommate and she never communicated, and she did not feel comfortable in her own room.
“I tried to stay really positive about it and give it some time but nothing ever changed so I knew I had to get out,” Walz said.
Even if some roommate pairings do not work out, there are those that do.
“My roommate experience my first year was great. I was very lucky. We got along just great and had no conflicts,” Zach Sommers said.