1. Sleeping habits
When you're choosing your roommates it's important to think about sleeping habits. Do you like to go to bed promptly at 9pm and your friend likes to go to bed at 4am? Do you wake up at 6am and they don’t wake up until 1pm? It might be a good idea to find someone with similar sleeping habits or at the least make sure you're giving each other a heads up. You don’t want to keep each other up or wake them up in the morning either, so if you know and are willing to keep noise to a minimum, you can compromise!
If you're kind of a neat freak (that’s OK!), be sure to communicate that before choosing roommates. It's also important to be honest if you're on the messier side. I’m telling you, there's nothing that tears a friendship apart like constantly cleaning up after the other person because you need to have a clean space. So just make sure you understand each other or find someone who has similar cleanliness levels as you! Just make sure if you're both on the messier side to try and not turn your place into a complete pigsty!
This person will potentially have access to all of your things when you're not around, and they'll be getting to know some very personal things about you, so it’s vital that you can trust them. You're probably OK with a really close friend, but watch out for strangers! Try to get some references from mutual friends, etc.
Everyone has quirks, but sometimes quirks you didn't know about come out and quickly annoy you. We don't want any friendships to get ruined! So discuss with your potential roommates if you have to sleep with music playing, or if you need it to be super warm all the time. It’s not a good situation when your roommate needs it cold and you need it hot. It’s a good idea to find someone who's somewhat similar to you. (Or that each room has its own thermostat...)
5. Significant others
Are you going to have your significant other sleeping over all the time? Or are your roommates going to be doing that? If you’re thinking, “that’s not going to work for me,” then maybe you should talk to your potential roommates to make sure you're on the same page. It’s a good idea to be upfront before moving in so there's no resentment! You're signing a lease with your roomies, not their partners, and it can get old real fast if they're in your place all the time.
Are you in the same classes and have the exact same schedule? As awesome as that sounds, everyone needs some time to themselves. You don’t want to get sick of each other! If you're the type of person who needs a lot of space, finding someone with the opposite schedule as you might not be a bad thing.
Do you like to go out every weekend? Do you like to host parties? Or do you like to stay in and watch Netflix? This is an important thing to figure out. Your potential roommate might not be down to hosting parties every weekend. It’s also important to consider each other’s study habits. Do they hate studying at home and you can’t study anywhere but home? That might work great, especially if you really need your own space to study.
Communication is key for picking a roommate. Just make sure you talk to them about any worries you have and be honest! Talk through all this stuff together because you might be stuck living with someone you end up not liking. We don’t want that! Make sure you're thinking it through and you all want the same things. (And when you do move in together, the communication thing becomes even more important!)