When dinosaurs roamed the earth, colleges would mail pre-freshmen detailed questionnaires about their personal living habits: Do you smoke? Study late? Are you sloppy? Obsessively neat? Do you like loud, blaring music? Do you like the window open?
This system was flawed, since how students presented themselves and how they actually live may often be two different things.
Northwestern University IL, among other institutions, is now offering another option: the RoomSync app, accessed via Facebook. RoomSync allows students to seek and select their own roommates in a social media platform that is comfortable and easy to access. Another such app is StarRez, which allows an institution to have students register under a screen name, not their actual name, and potential roommates are paired without the use of photos. This prevents a self-selecting uniform/type pairing that can be fostered with other apps.
Instead of meeting an unknown roommate for the first time on move-in day, students using RoomSync already know and are friends with future roommates. They can plan the room in advance: Who brings the refrigerator? Will we have curtains?
Roommate issues can enhance or trouble freshman adjustment, so an app that gives a student an active, engaged role in the process can only help.
Sarah C. Reese
Informed Educational Solutions