Can You Change Roommates Living in a Dorm?

By Victoria Robertson

One of the biggest fears students have when moving into a dorm room for the first time is their roommate situation. Will they live with someone they like? Will they be miserable with a person they have nothing in common with? Social media has changed the game for many, but there are still the select few that encounter such issues.

This begs the question: can you change roommates when living in a dorm? The quick answer is yes, but the more accurate answer is that it depends on the situation. With that being said, below are six steps that you need to take when looking at changing your dorm room roommate.

Student Roommates: Can You Change Roommates Living in a Dorm?

1. Try to Reconcile

First and foremost, you are going to need to try and reconcile with your roommate before that option is entirely off the table. Reconciliation is the first step in fixing roommate issues, as switching roommates should always be a last resort.

Basically, if you think there is a chance that you and your roommate will be able to work things out, you will need to take that opportunity and ensure you reconcile with them.

2. Talk to Your RA

Assuming you’ve tried to reconcile and nothing came of it, you should then proceed with talking to your RA about the issues you and your roommate have been having with one another. While the two of you can certainly attempt to work things out on your own in the meantime, any serious issues should be brought to your RA’s attention as soon as possible.

Your RA is there to help you in situations such as this, so it’s important that you speak with them to work through these issues sooner rather than later, in an attempt to prevent them from developing further.

3. Bring Your Arguments to the Management Team

If speaking with your roommate and the RA doesn’t fix the problem, you should bring your arguments to the management team at your dorm room. There is a next step above your roommate, and that’s where you will need to go.

Again, this is a serious action and one that should only be taken if there is no other alternative for the two of you to work things out. Even so, the team may recommend you first speak with a mediator to work through the issues prior to any action in terms of moving the two of you.

4. Try a Mediator

To build off of the above point, a mediator is another great alternative to switching roommates. While you should immediately try to work through issues with your roommate, in some cases, you won’t be able to do so.

In those cases, you should try to speak to your roommate with a third party present (such as your RA) to help the both of you work through your issues. Just because you weren’t able to work through things on your own is not to say that you won’t be able to; it just means you may need more assistance in doing so.

5. Discuss Next Steps


Once all of the above steps have been taken and there is still no resolution in sight, then you should begin discussing next steps. It is at this point that switching a roommate is the next logical solution, but you should also know that both roommates will need to be on board.

When you’re thinking about switching roommates, it can be a time consuming and grueling process, so both of you will need to be sure it’s what you want, and the RA and management team will also need to be in agreement that it’s best for the both of you.

6. Wait for Further Instruction

Just because everyone is in agreement that you need to switch a roommate is not to say you will be immediately able to do so. For this reason, you’ll need to wait for further instruction when it comes to switching rooms.

For one, most residence halls will fill up by this point, so it may not be a possibility immediately and may require a change in the following semester when space opens up. The likelihood of a roommate change changes depending on your dorm’s policies, so when it comes down to it, you should have an open mind, as there is potential you will have to wait or that it may not happen at all.

Again, changing roommates can be a bit of a challenge, and one that many students aren’t quite prepared for. With that being said, the above six steps are a great way to get started in determining whether or not you and your roommate can continue living together for the remainder of the year, or if you will need to go your separate ways in order for both of you to be happy.

Either way, good luck to everyone and have a great semester!

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