Based on the available space in the First Year residence halls (in double-, triple-, and quad-occupancy rooms), most First Year students will have roommates.
The information on your Housing Application serves as a guide to match you with another person(s).
Students may request specific roommates on their housing application and requests must be mutual in order to be considered.
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 the matching process. It may seem easier or more comforting to live with someone you already know, someone you have met during an Open House, or someone you met on Facebook. However, attending the same high school or sharing a common background does not predict a successful roommate match. The lifestyle questions on the Housing Application have often proven to be a more accurate predictor of successful roommate matches.
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.
If you do decide to mutually request to be roommates with other student(s), we encourage you to discuss the roommate matching questions from the Housing Application to check that you would be compatible for living together.
Please note that the College makes room and roommate assignments without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, religious practices, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, dietary preferences, abilities, and/or age.
Getting Along with Your Roommate
Living with a roommate(s) can be one of the most exciting parts of your first year at Barnard; it can also be one of the most challenging. Everyone has their 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. They not only has training in these types of situations but also has experience with their roommate(s) from their own first year. They 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.
The Housing Portal will use the roommate matching questions form the application as a guide to assign students; however, due to the finite population of students to assign it may not be possible to place students with others who answered the questions the exact same way. Roommates should discuss their similarities and differences when they receive notification of their assignment or after moving in as a means to better understand each other & to establish a cooperative relationship.
What if You Don't Get Along with Your Roommate?
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 respectful roommates.
In any relationship, conflict is natural and healthy. When you are experiencing troubles with your roommate(s), the first step is to speak with them. If you're still experiencing troubles, your RA will be able to help you with strategies to approach what is troubling you and/or help mediate a conversation with your roommate(s).
Typically room changes are not available for First Year students due to the residence halls being full (although 1-for-1 direct room swaps may be possible). If a student is experiencing severe difficulties living with their roommate, Res Life staff will work with them and their roommate to mediate the conflicts that they are having. Following mediation meetings with the RA or Residence Hall Coordinator, the Community Director has the discretion to explore the possibility of a room change if they feels that it's in both students' best interest and if an open space is available.