Slippery Rock University has launched a new program to allow freshmen and transfer students to select potential roommates for the upcoming year on an online platform called MyCollegeRoomie.
Daniel Brown, director of housing, said this new tool provides the opportunity for roommates to match online and know one another before the fall semester. He said that before MyCollegeRoomie, students had to know each other or meet at orientation prior to selecting one another as a roommate. He also said that this new tool acts as a middle ground for how the system used to work.
According to Brown, this tool presents like Facebook, with photos, a bio and activities. He said that students are asked 20 in-depth questions that have sliding scales for answers.
“For example, a question might ask when a student goes to bed and they can choose anywhere from the extreme of ‘lights out by 10’ to ‘lights out after 1 a.m.,’” Brown said.
Brown said once students answer all of the questions, the system will give them their perfect matches.
“If you are perfect matches, you can click on each other and start chatting and then give social medias to one another,” Brown said.
He said there are several matches listed, so students are not forced to go with their highest match. Brown also said students can choose up to three matches to account for suite-style living. He said the system is aware of what type of rooms each student signed up for.
“If I signed up for traditional style dorms or if I qualify for an LLC [Living Learning Community], the system will only show students in the same living situation as me,” Brown said.
He also said once students make matches, they can go on and find other friends to add to their circle of friends while entering college.“They can go on and find students in their major, cohort or in their LLC and chat with them,” Brown said.
He said community assistants can also pull the metrics from the profiles to cater events and socials toward the interests of the students living on their floor.
Brown said even though this tool is new to SRU, it has been in the market for both big and small schools.
“MyCollegeRoomie is used by Oregon State, West Chester, Boise State and many others, so we are hoping that based on the positive feedback, it works well for SRU as well,” Brown said.
Brown said students have the option to change their answers if they want to and also have the option to unmatch with anyone they match with. Once matches are made, students can then request their matches to be their roommate.
Brown said that the initial launch of MyCollegeRoomie was March 4 and will run until May 1 to give students two months to find matches.
“After May 1, the match period is over, but those that did not fill out a profile are not any worse off,” Brown said. “Those students will get randomly assigned, just as students have in previous years.”
Brown said it is predicted that about 80 percent of students will make their profiles by May 1, and 30 students have already requested roommates on the site in the first 15 days.
“Next year, we will probably have the matching period opened longer because we will have a whole year to plan and use feedback from this year,” Brown said.
Brown said he is hoping this will improve the satisfaction of living in the dorms with a roommate and reduce the anxiety that accompanies finding someone to live with.
“We want students to take ownership for who they chose to live with,” Brown said. “If both roommates put in effort to room together, they will be more inclined to work through any issues and continue living together.”
He also said the ultimate test will be if the room changes decrease in the fall and if more people are staying with their original roommates.