Colleges around the country are faced with a monumental task this time of the year: how to pair freshmen roommates into dorm rooms.

I always thought it was cool visiting my daughter’s dorm up at Willie P. She always seemed to have a fairly pleasant roommate; until we got the news that hers was the bitch from hell.

I'm guessing too much estrogen in the room leads to this type of thing happening.

I know, I’m being prejudiced.

And on a serious note, outside of the issues Tyler Clemente had with Dharun Ravi, I’ve never heard of too many, if any, issues between guy roommates.

Maybe it’s just that guys have a very easy going nature when it comes to sharing quarters.

But it does bring up the question: how do colleges pair roommates?

School officials say there is absolutely no science to how roommates are paired. But they try to make it scientific anyway.

At Ramapo University in Mahwah, students fill out an online application—not unlike an Internet dating profile—answering questions like: Do you smoke? How clean are you? How do you feel about overnight guests?

Stephanie Barlow, the associate director of residence life, runs their answers through a computer program that matches students as closely as possible. Ramapo has used the program for the past four years. Before that, Barlow matched roommates by hand.

The staff at Fairleigh Dickinson University still matches roommates manually, though they will switch to a computer program next year. Students fill out surveys there as well, but some of them can opt to stay in "Learning Communities," where they live with other students in their major.

Both Ramapo and Fairleigh Dickinson allow students to request roommates, often friends from high school, but there are pitfalls there, Jas Verem, dean of students at Fairleigh Dickinson, said.

"Ironically enough, the students who are paired randomly end up staying the longest together as roommates," he said.

It can sometimes be harder for students who already know each other to vocalize their problems with one another.

"Random strangers, they seem to have a better chance of communicating with each other and working things out," Verem said.

If things don't pan out, students at Fairleigh Dickinson have one opportunity during their freshman year to request a room change. But only five percent of students take that step, Verem said.

For the most part, roommates get along, or they tough it out.
"There's no real science to this," Verem said. "It's very much random, and you hope for the best."

What’s not mentioned in the piece is how RA’s manage to quell roommate issues; and which gender has the greater number of them.

Like I said, I think guys, even if there are issues, will tend to tough it out.

Ladies, I’m guessing that’s another story.

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