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Duke University and Housing & Residence Life strongly believe in the value of the on-campus residential experience. This experience provides you with exciting opportunities to meet new people and learn about cultures and lifestyles that may differ from your own.

HOW ROOMMATES ARE ASSIGNED: Incoming first-year students are matched with roommates based on the information provided from the lifestyle questions on the first-year housing application. Students who select Gender Inclusive Housing will be paired with a roommate who also selects Gender Inclusive Housing. We have found that students who have the same study habits, noise tolerance and sleep schedules tend to have positive experiences living together. While no one can guarantee a “perfect roommate,” we find that pairing students based on these behaviors offers a starting point from which students can develop a rewarding roommate experience. It is important that you answer each question on the housing application honestly so that we can accurately match you with someone who will be compatible!

LAYING THE GROUNDWORK: Healthy roommate relationships take time to develop. An important place to start is getting to know each other.  Make time to find out about your roommate’s background, habits, interests and pet peeves. Talk about the differences between you (but don’t forget about the similarities), how they may affect your living environment and what compromises you both may have to make to maintain harmony. Discuss what you hope for in a roommate relationship. During the first few weeks of school, your Resident Assistant (RA) will ask you to formally address some of the issues you have discussed by completing a “Roommate Agreement.” This document assists you in understanding and communicating  needs and expectations related to study time, sleep time, cleanliness, guests, shared use of personal belongings, etc.

ROOMMATE BILL OF RIGHTS: This Bill of Rights defines mutual responsibilities among roommates. Each person has a basic right to:

  • Live in an environment free of harassment and/or intimidation.
  • Live in a clean space.
  • Study in your room without unreasonable distraction.
  • Sleep in your room without unreasonable disruption.
  • Have access to your room.
  • Expect that guests will visit during mutually established hours.
  • Expect that your roommate will respect your personal belongings.
  • Have a degree of personal privacy.

ROOMMATE TIP: Communicate Before Arriving!

  • Call and talk to one another, if possible.
  • Don’t rely on just texting, social media and email to communicate.
  • Talk about the little things that bother you before they escalate.
  • Be prepared to compromise.
  • Remember that each of you has rights. Treat your roommate as you would like to be treated.
  • Don’t rely on first impressions. Make time to get to know each other.
  • Have realistic expectations about your roommate relationship. Accept, appreciate and grow from the experience of living with someone who may be very different from you.