Move-in day is one of the most exciting, nerve-racking, and emotional days of college. How could it not be? After all, you’re moving away from home into your own space, buying dorm room supplies, and figuring out what your class schedule will be for the next few months. To top it all off, you may have never even met the person that you’ll be living with for the next nine months!
But what if that person never showed up?
What Happened When My Roommate Never Moved In
This is exactly what happened to me in my freshman year of college. I had just moved four hours away from home to an area that I didn’t know very well. I didn’t have a lot of connections on campus and had no clue what my classes were going to be like. Plus, I had never even spoken to my future roommate.
Nevertheless, when I first received the notification of who my roommate was going to be a few weeks prior to move-in, I immediately looked at her profile on my college’s housing website, found her email address, and sent her an email introducing myself. I eagerly waited a reply, hoping we would be able to coordinate what supplies and furniture we would each bring to the room. I checked my email regularly, but as move-in day crept closer, I had still not received a reply.
To be honest, I wasn’t surprised. The only contact information listed on her profile was her school email address, which I doubted a lot of students were checking often during the summer. So as move-in day quickly approached, I decided to wait to buy the bulkier items (mini fridge, microwave, etc.) in case she had decided to bring any of them, since we couldn’t have doubles of the these in the dorms.
Before I knew it, move-in day had arrived. After a long car ride, I arrived at my dorm, went through the process of signing various forms and receiving my key, and then went on the hunt to find my room. When I found it, it was immediately evident that my roommate was not there yet. I began moving in, picking a bed, but didn’t re-arrange the furniture so that we could decide that together. But as the sun started setting across the sky and the day came to a close, I became confused. I had never heard of a roommate not showing up on move-in day before.
That evening, I mentioned that my roommate had not arrived to the RA working at the building’s front desk, and she informed me that some students choose to move-in later, or that she could have had an unexpected event come up that prevented her from moving in on time…
…or she could just not be coming.
Days passed, classes started, and I was still without a roommate. Many students would be celebrating in my situation. After all, a private room! No need to argue with someone about how loud the music is or when to turn the lights off.
Of course, having the room to myself was nice, but I was more concerned with something that a lot of students forget about this type of situation: the cost of a private room.
That’s right: if your roommate doesn’t show up, you may get charged for a private room.
While the process of having a no-show roommate may be different at each college, mine gave me two choices: find a roommate or pay for a private room. Since I didn’t want to shell out the extra thousand dollars, I would need to find a roommate.
While I had never heard of no-show roommates before, they apparently happen quite a bit. To help me find a roommate, my school’s housing office sent me a list of potential roommates in my building—all of whom also had no-show roommates—to help me find one. Even though the experience of having a no-show roommate and stressing about what was going to happen in terms of room charges wasn’t the most enjoyable, receiving an email like this (if you’re in the same situation as I was) can be very beneficial. It gives you the option to actually meet your potential roommate face-to-face to see whether you would get along, rather than being randomly paired up together.
Just a few short days of receiving that list all students were suddenly evacuated and moved from the building due to a mold issue, so I never did finish the process of finding a roommate. Either way, it definitely provided me with insight into the process of what could happen if your roommate never shows up to college.
What to Do if Your Roommate Never Moves In
Each college will have their own policy and protocol on what will happen if your roommate doesn’t show up. These are some things you should do:
1. Ask Your RA If There’s a Pre-Made Policy
Since each college’s policy on no-show roommates is different, the 1st step you should take is to ask an RA what to do and if there’s a pre-made policy on no-show roommates. If they don’t know the process of what happens if there’s a no-show roommate, they should be able to put you in contact with someone who does.
2. See if He/She Reaches Out
Some colleges require students to live in the dorms if they fall under certain circumstances. This could include if they’re a freshman, if they live a certain distance from the school, or if they’re receiving a special tuition rate that requires them to reside on campus.
However, some students will skirt around this requirement by *technically* having a dorm room on-campus, but also living off-campus with friends. They may never actually move-in to the room or may only use the room for additional storage, even though they technically reside in the room. It’s possible that he/she could reach out and let you know if they’re doing this so you don’t have to worry about possible room consolidation.
3. Contact the Housing Office
The next step you’ll want to take if your roommate never moves in is reach out to the housing office. They may require you to move in with someone else (or vice versa) to consolidate the rooms. This is what happened in my case; if I didn’t I would be charged for a private room, which I did NOT want.
However, instead of consolidation, they may just require that you keep the other half clear, in case someone decides to move rooms. This isn’t uncommon, as someone may request to move dorms. This can happen for a variety of reasons, ranging from health problems in their previous dorm to prior roommate conflict. While knowing that someone unexpectedly move into your room at any given time isn’t the most pleasant of situations, it’s possible that you could have the room to yourself for weeks at a time…possibly even the entire semester! I.e. the benefits of a private room without the added cost.
These are just some of the things that might happen if your roommate never shows up to college. However, it could vary from college-to-college, so always check with your RA and the housing office on what to do and what you should expect.