Roommate Life

While having a roommate inevitably has its challenges, it can also be a great part of your experience here at Cal Poly. Follow these ten tips to make sure you and your roommate keep things pleasant and supportive throughout the year.

  1. Be clear from the beginning.  Let your roommate know as soon as you can about your little quirks and preferences. Communicating what you need is one of the best ways to eliminate problems before they become problems. Remember, your roommate can’t read your mind.
  2. Address things when they're little. Addressing things that bug you while they're still little can help your roommate be aware of something they may not otherwise know. And addressing little things is much easier than addressing them after they've become big. Don’t wait until you’re fed up to address problems or it may  be hard for you to remain pleasant.
  3. Respect your roommate's stuff. This may seem simple, but it's probably one of the biggest reasons why roommates experience conflict. Don't borrow, use, or take anything without getting permission first. Set these boundaries from the beginning.
  4. Be careful of who you bring into your room -- and how often.  Be mindful of how often you bring people over and communicate about guests BEFORE they arrive. Everyone in the room needs to be ok with guests or they can’t come over.
  5. Be friendly, without expecting to be best friends. Don't go into your roommate relationship thinking that you are going to be best friends for the time you're at school. It may happen, but expecting it sets both of you up for trouble. You should be friendly with your roommate but also make sure you have your own social circles.
  6. Be open to new things. Your roommate may be from a different place than you. They may have a religion or lifestyle that is completely different from your own. Be open to new ideas and experiences, especially as it to relates to what your roommate brings into your life.
  7. Be open to change. As the quarter progresses, realize things will change for both of you. Be comfortable addressing things that unexpectedly come up, setting new rules, and being flexible to your changing environment. The roommate agreement is not a contract and it is not set in stone. It is meant to be reevaluated and revised as needed.
  8. Address things when they're big. You may not have been totally honest with tip #2. Or you may suddenly find yourself with a roommate who goes wild after being shy and quiet the first two months. Either way, if something gets to be a big problem, deal with it as soon as you can.
  9. Follow the Golden Rule. Treat your roommate like you'd like to be treated. No matter what your relationship is at the end of the year, you can take comfort knowing you acted like an adult and treated your roommate with respect.
  10. Have fun and learn from this experience. Great stories will come from your time on campus with your roommate(s).

Roommate resources:

Residence Hall Roommate Agreement

Apartment Agreement Form

Apartment Agreement (For RA Apartments)

Alcohol Agreement for Students 21+ in Campus Apartments

What University Housing Will Do

If you want to stay in your same apartment/room:

  • Your CSD will ask you if you have spoken to your roommate about your concerns.
  • If you have not, your CSD will encourage you to speak to your roommates and will offer to schedule a roommate mediation to be facilitated by a CSD or RA to help discuss the issues.

If you wish to move to a different apartment/room, please note that University Housing anticipates being at high occupancy; therefore, there will be limited vacant rooms into which students may move.  University Housing staff will assist as follows:

  • Your CSD will provide you with information about any available spaces.
  • When possible, you will work with the RA on call to meet with residents in those rooms before deciding where to move.

Proactive things to do with your apartment-mates or roommates to help deal with potential issues:

  1. Have weekly dinners with each other.
  2. Schedule biweekly or monthly apartment/room meetings.
  3. Create a chore list for your room/apartment.
  4. Complete an apartment/roommate agreement and review it each quarter or when you get new roommates.

Related Content

Support Another Student

Give Today.

Strategic Plan

Get the Student Affairs Strategic Plan

Get the Strategic Plan

Res Life Events

Res Life Event Calendar