The information on your Housing Application serves as a guide to match you with another person(s). It is a time-honored tradition at Barnard to read each Housing Application individually and match you with your roommates by hand. Each year this has lead to successful roommate pairings.
Students are able to request to live with somebody they know, however, they are strongly encouraged to be paired with their roommate through our roommate matching process. Please note that roommate requests will be honored only if all the respective students list each other on their Housing Response Form.
Over the years, many incoming Barnard students have expressed anxiety about deciding whether to request a roommate or to be paired with a roommate(s) through our matching process. It may seem easier, or more comforting, to live with someone you know well, someone you have met during an Open House, or someone you met on Facebook. However, attending a particular high school or sharing a racial or religious background does not predict a successful roommate relationship. Our lifestyle questions on the Housing Application have proven to be an accurate predictor of successful roommate pairings.
Students are strongly encouraged to be open to the roommate matching process, as it is a time-honored Barnard tradition that successfully matches students every year. Some students find that living with a person they knew prior to attending Barnard can be isolating, as they are less inclined to reach out and meet new people. Many students find that having a friend already on-campus (who is not their roommate) increases their social network.
Requests specifying only one particular residence hall or type of accommodation cannot be considered, nor can roommate preference based upon race, ethnicity, religion, religious practices, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, physical characteristic, or national origin.
Living with a roommate(s) can be one of the most exciting parts of your first semester at Barnard; it can also be one of the most challenging. Everyone has her own habits and ways of approaching life. While sharing a room with others, there’s bound to be some tension now and then.
Communication is key. If you are feeling uncomfortable with anything that is going on in the room, the very best thing to do is approach your roommate(s) as soon as possible to talk about it. Most people are surprised to learn how accommodating roommates are willing to be, if and when they are approached in a constructive, non-hostile manner. If you want to approach your roommate(s) about any issues, but you are not sure how to start the conversation, speak with your RA. She not only has training in these types of situations but also has experience with her roommate(s) from her first year. She can help you work out a strategy of how to raise an issue in the most non-threatening way possible. A good way to start communicating with your roommate(s) is to discuss the topics in the FYF Roommate Agreement Workbook, which you will receive during orientation. Take a few moments in the first week of your arrival to discuss the questions presented there. You will be required to fill out a roommate contract to turn in to your RA.
Every attempt will be made to match you with a roommate(s) with whom you share a similar lifestyle. It is important for roommates to discuss their similarities and differences at the time they receive notification of their assignment or upon move-in as a means to better understand each other and to establish a cooperative relationship.
We believe students from diverse backgrounds can live well together if they communicate, compromise, and are honest with each other. You may find that you and your roommate become best friends or that you are able to coexist peacefully and be great roommates.
In any relationship, conflict is natural and healthy! When you are experiencing troubles with your roommate, the first step is to speak with her. If you're still experiencing troubles, your RA will be able to help you with strategies to approach what is troubling you.
It is our general policy not to offer room changes. If a student is experiencing severe trouble living with her roommate, our staff will work with her and her roommate to mediate the conflicts that they are having. Following mediation meetings (with the RA, Hall Director, and/Director), the Director of the First Year Focus Program has the discretion to explore the possibility of a room change if she feels that it's in both students' best interest and if space is available.