Search This Site

Roommate Communication

Living with a roommate

Learning to live with a roommate is an in important part of your first year at UVA. Your roommate can help you feel at home as you adjust to life on-Grounds, and a good relationship with this new friend will definitely enhance your experience!

While you may not know your new roommate yet, there's a good chance that you have more in common than you may expect. Once you meet, spend some time talking about your families, your hometown, funny things that have happened to you, what you’ll miss about home, hobbies, your favorite movie, your plans at UVA, and more. By sharing experiences, you’ll find it easier to understand each other.

The key to any successful living situation is open and honest communication — not just when you first meet, but also from day to day. As you learn to read each other’s feelings, you’ll find it easier to resolve the inevitable differences that surface when two or more people live together. You don’t need to be friends for life with your roommate/s, but showing consideration and fairness goes a long way, and is crucial to building mutual respect.

Below are some items that you may want to discuss with your roommate in order to establish "ground rules" for your new home together.


  • How clean do you expect the room to stay?
  • Whose responsibility will it be to sweep/vacuum?
  • Take out trash?
  • Dust?
  • Other tasks?
  • Should each roommate take care of own half of the room, or have specific duties?

Use of Possessions

  • What can be shared and what won't be shared?
  • Consider electronics, computer, clothes, food, other consumables.

Cell Phones

  • How late or early can cell phones be used in the room?
  • Are there specific expectations for cell phone courtesy?


  • Will visitors be allowed?
  • How many at one time and how often?
  • Will visitors be allowed to stay overnight?
  • How much advance notice is needed for overnight guests?
  • Will visitors be allowed to use electronics, eat food, etc.?

Study Habits

  • How many hours per week and, what time of day and/or night will you study?
  • Under what conditions do you like to study? With music or in silence? How much privacy do you need?

Sleeping Habits

  • What time do you normally go to bed?
  • What time do you normally get up in the morning?
  • Are you a light or heavy sleeper?
  • Do you take naps?
  • What activities will be allowed if someone is sleeping? Can the lights be turned on? Can music be played? May a hair dryer be used?
  • What happens when your alarm sounds? Do you hit the snooze button? Do you let it ring and ring?
  • If you are oversleeping, do you want to be awakened if your roommate is aware of your schedule?

Non-Smoker/Smoker Rights

  • Smoking is not allowed in University housing or within 25 feet of the building.
  • Are there other smoking-related issues that need to be discussed?


  • Agree to keep your room locked.
  • Who will be responsible for locking the room?
  • Are there other security-related issues that need to be discussed?

General Communication

  • How do you want to communicate if there is a problem?
  • At what point will you involve a friend, parent, or member of the Resident Staff?
  • Agree to disagree at times.
  • Always remember, everyone is not alike.