Surviving a Roommate Swap

While you totally don’t need to be BFFs with your roomie for your living situation to work out, sometimes problems bubble up that make staying in your dorm pretty uncomfortable. Fortunately, your dorm assignment doesn’t have to be permanent. Colleges often have a “roommate swap” option, which quite literally means you can swap rooms with another student. Check to see how your school’s process for this works, then read along as we explain how to survive this awkward situation.

Communicate, communicate, communicate.

It’s pretty nervewracking chatting with your current roommate about wanting to move out, but it’s so necessary. First and foremost, most schools require that every student involved in the swap signs off on the agreement. That means you can’t just dip while your current roommate is in class. (And then hope to never see them again.) Regardless of your reason, keeping open communication will help relieve a lot of the tension involved in this situation.

The first step, of course, is communicating why you want to swap. Otherwise, fingers get pointed, two sides of the story will start floating around, and it’s just one big mess. Keep this conversation civil, and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of your RA if you feel you need a mediator. From there, make sure to keep open communication as the process continues — from discussing the date you’ll be moving, what time of day you’re going to do all the heavy hauling, and so on.



Gather some friends to help you move.

Moving your entire side of the bedroom into a new residence hall is no easy feat. You’ll definitely need a few helping hands that day. Check to see if your new roommate is willing to help you get set up, and maybe even a few of your friends on campus.


Don’t bad mouth your ex-roommate.

It’s such a relief when you finally move away from a roommate you often clashed with, so why keep looking back at your old situation? It might be tempting to start spilling stories about how crazy your ex-roommate was, but your campus community is smaller than you think. You don’t know who talks to who, so you’re better off not dishing on anyone else’s dirty laundry. If anyone asks why you swapped, you can always leave it as simple as, “My old roommate and I just didn’t see eye to eye.”


Start fresh and establish expectations. 

Now that you’ve got a new room and brand new roommate, it’s time to make sure your new situation moves along swimmingly. We recommend going through a few basic roommate questions in order to understand each other’s like and interests. Then, establish some ground rules and general expectations. Your living situation should always be comfortable, so it’s important making sure you guys are on the same page from day one!

Do you have any other tips that we didn’t list? Drop them in the comments below!


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