Roommate Conflicts

Assisting your Student if a Roommate Conflict Arises:

Parents are instrumental in providing support and assistance to their student. By listening to your student you can be a sounding board for them, providing support and perspective. You can also help your student to understand their role in the process and empower them to affect their situation.

While this is a time for your student to learn about their new roommate, it is also a time for them to learn about themselves. They will need to reflect on their own behaviors and how these actions may positively or negatively impact others.

We encourage you to help your son or daughter as they manage the emotions that accompany living with a non-family member for possibly the first time. Some things to remind your student about include:

  • Assure your student that having a roommate conflict is not a rare occurrence. Living with someone requires on-going communication. Most roommates are able to resolve their conflict in a way that meets everyone's needs.
  • Listen to your student as they explain the conflict; ask if it could be a misunderstanding instead of an intentional dispute.
  • Find out if your student signed a roommate agreement and whether or not they have reviewed it lately.  In order to address the conflict, make sure your student knows that they
  • Ask whether they have sat down and had a heart-to-heart talk with their roommate(s) about the issue. Students often think they have communicated their feelings without having actually expressed them.  It is important for this conversation to happen face-to-face rather than via text, email or social media.
  • Don't be afraid to question whether your student may have had a role in creating the conflict. Let them know you are not criticizing only suggesting a little self-examination. Reminding them that conflict has two sides. Encourage them to consider why their roommate(s) might see the situation from a different point of view.
  • Ask if they have contacted their Resident Assistant, Resident Director, or the Office of Residential Education about the situation. If they have not please encourage them to do so.  They are trained to handle exactly these types of issues.  Also, as tempting as it is to contact us yourself, it is a great learning experience for your student to navigate this on their own, at least initially.  This helps them find their own voice and learn to advocate.
  • NOTE:  The Office Residential Education will not take action or move students until all perspectives have been heard and that the roommates have taken time to speak with one another. Encourage your son or daughter to seek our help if a situation arise.

We hope these tips will help you to help your student initiate a solution to a roommate conflict should one arise. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback please contact us at