College Roommate Opposite Gender (5 Tips on Coed Living)

A male college student sitting on the bed, while getting to know his female roommate who's relaxing on the sofa in their shared dorm space.

Going from living with your parents to staying at a college apartment or dorm is a massive change in someone’s life. You’re about to be your own person, decide when you sleep, when you eat, when you go to class, when you come home, and pretty much everything else. 

One of the more considerable changes in college life is coed living. Let’s explore if college roommates of the opposite gender are allowed, and if so, how to handle it. 

Are You Allowed to Room with a Person of the Opposite Gender in the Dorms?

The short answer is most likely yes. Nowadays, it’s becoming more common to incorporate coed living into student housing policies. The first significant change was beginning to allow men and women to share the same dorm floor in a building. 

But now, colleges are allowing men and women to share rooms, as well. Here are some general expectations:

  • If you already have a roommate in mind, your university likely has a roommate matching system to allow you to end up together. 
  • If you don’t have anyone in mind, it’s more likely that you will be placed in a room with a member of the same gender. 
  • If your college does roommate matching, they might ask you to check a box as to whether or not you care about rooming with someone of the opposite gender. 
  • Some private schools may have stricter rules for rooming boys and girls together, as private schools have more rights to enforce particular policies than public schools. 
  • Other schools may have LGBTQ-friendly policies that welcome non-binary or gender-nonconforming students to live in the dorms without worrying about fitting into a strict category. 

Tips for Living with Roommates of Another Gender

Male and female college roommates sharing a box of pizza and having an animated conversation in their shared dorm space.

Speaking as someone who has lived with PLENTY of roommates, I find it necessary to share best practices, mainly when living with a roommate of the opposite gender. These tips are helpful regardless of gender, too, depending on how comfortable you and your roommates are with each other. 

But it’s best to proceed with caution until you know where your relationships stand. 

Keep Things Platonic

Let’s get this one out of the way first. No matter how attractive your roommate may be, avoid dating each other. That way, things won’t get messy. Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary, so if drama gets between you and your roommate (especially if it’s romance-related), you’ll be more stressed than necessary. 

Make Some Ground Rules Early On

Not to stereotype…but have you ever seen a college boy’s bathroom? YUCK! I would NEVER sleep over at my boyfriend’s place for fear of catching some gross disease from whatever the hell that stuff under the sink was. To avoid any issues, establish a cleaning schedule that works for both of you. 

Ground Rules Also Apply to Being Comfortable in Your Own Home

If you’re rooming with someone of the opposite gender, it’s best to stay covered up as you walk through your apartment. Don’t assume that your roommate is okay with you strutting around in your underwear. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up

If something isn’t working out, remember that you should do your best to resolve the issue. Don’t assume that your roommate is trying to make you feel uncomfortable. This living situation is new for everyone. Plus, you are an adult now, so conflict resolution is critical. 

If It Doesn’t Work Out, Move On

If you’ve tried your best to make things work when living with someone of the opposite sex, but it’s not working out, that’s okay. Now you know that perhaps you should take a different direction next year. There is nothing wrong with that. 

Final Thoughts

Male and female college roommates smiling and helping each other lift a heavy box, while unpacking in their shared dorm space.

You will have amazing roommates, and you will have nightmare roommates. At the end of the day, it never hurts to follow these best practices.

Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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