Residential Halls at UMass Amherst
Student Voices

Living at UMass: How to Pick a Roommate

Now that you have officially enrolled in the University of Massachusetts Amherst (congratulations to the class of 2024!) it is the perfect time to start thinking about your living situation for the 2020-2021 school year. While you may have the perfect residential area in mind, finding a roommate for the first time can be stressful for many incoming students. How do you go about finding the perfect roommate for your freshman year of college? 

As someone who has lived on campus all four years and had my fair share of amazing roommates, here are three tips on how to pick the best roommate for you!

Join a Residential Academic Program (RAP)

Having trouble finding a roommate? Why not join a Residential Academic Program (RAP)! First-year students have the option to further their residential learning experience by joining a RAP within their first-year hall as well. The RAP program allows students to live amongst others with a shared interest or academic focus, and even allows for some to have courses held right in the halls in which they live. Typically in this program, your roommate will likely be another student within the RAP. If you are struggling to find a roommate, RAPs are a great way to find a roommate, and even other friends, with similar interests. 

I partook in a RAP during my freshman year in Van Meter Hall in Central Residential Area, and it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable experiences of my freshman year. If you are nervous about making friends, RAPs are a surefire way of connecting with new people when you come to campus.

Live with Someone You Do Not Know 

Hear me out, while tempting, I highly suggest that you do not live with someone you already know from high school. If you are like myself, I had a handful of students from my high school attending UMass Amherst with me. Despite having mutual friends that I could have roomed with, I ultimately decided to find a roommate who I did not already know. For myself, I thought that this would be a great opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and meet new people rather than cling to people I already knew. I still hung out with some of the people I knew from high school, who remain some of my best friends to this day, but this allowed us the space to meet new people and even make friends with each other’s newfound friends. 

I have absolutely no regrets taking this path at all, I had the best freshman year roommate, who I met through the class of 2021 Facebook page. I know it might sound scary rooming with someone you do not know, but it is absolutely worth it. College is the perfect time to explore new things and meet new people. Why not start out with your roommate? 

Join a Social Media Group with Incoming Students

Even if you already have a roommate, joining these groups and getting to know your class is so important. I met some of my best friends to this very day by joining these groups, and just having fun. Before stepping foot on campus, I already had a well-established friend group, all because of utilizing social media to meet other incoming students. 

Given social distancing restrictions, I highly suggest that you use this time to host Zoom calls with other incoming UMass Amherst students. This is a great substitute for meeting up in person and can help you better get to know some members of the class of 2024. I was in regular contact with students from my incoming class the summer before I started, and it helped make my transition to college much smoother. Through these groups, I met my freshman year roommate, and even some of my future roommates as well. Put yourself out there and meet new students and remember to have fun with it! 

Embarking on such a major life change like going to college can be scary. One of the biggest takeaways from my freshman year was how friendly and outgoing everyone was. You are all in the same boat, trying to make new friends and have a successful first year. Step out of your comfort zone, keep your doors open during the day, and do not be afraid to spark up a conversation with someone. Most importantly, remember to not be afraid to reach out to upperclassmen for support and guidance. Best of luck class of 2024!