Prefrosh Preview: Tips for CHARMS and roommate selection
Once you arrive on the Hilltop, you’ll find yourself making many big decisions: whether you’re more of a Keystone or Natty kind of person (you don’t have a choice), whether Leo’s lower floor or upper floor is your go-to spot, or where in Lau is you’re quintessential study space (Vox is a regular on Lau 2). Even though you still have a few more months until you make those decisions, your first major choice is coming up very soon and is arguably the most important: your roommate.
Many find their roommates through GAAP weekends, Facebook stalking, and random pairing, but the easiest way is through yet another Georgetown acronym: the Campus Housing And Roommate Matching System, better known as CHARMS.
Although CHARMS sounds like a required class at Hogwarts, it’s actually a fairly successful roommate “dating” service. Vox is still living with her CHARMSed roommate, so as common courtesy, here are some tips to finding that perfect match.
1. Use the Living Preferences Questionnaire. The LPQ, due by June 9, has a list of preferences with an importance scale of 1-10. The preferences are extremely specific, ranging from whether you smoke, to your ideal sleeping temperature. Living compatibility is the most important part of rooming together so think carefully when you rate the importance of each category. When CHARMS begins, on June 10, you will be prompted to check off the most important preferences on the list and the system will match you accordingly. The more you narrow it down on your own terms, the better matches you will find.
2. Be honest. Don’t decide that when you go to college you are going to be a changed individual. Chances are, if you’re a messy person now, you will be a messy person in a few months. And here’s a friendly hint—if you lie, your roommate will find out!
3. Take advantage of the free response box. This is the only part of the LPQ that you can really express who you are. During the CHARMS process, you’ll find yourself just scrolling down to read the free responses, so it’s better to write more than to write less. If you like watching Frozen 24-7 and are constantly singing “Let it Go,” you might as well put it down because you may find someone who already has their Elsa Halloween costume planned out.
4. The time you go to bed and your “social” experiences are the most important questions. Sleep compatibility can make or break a roommate relationship. Bear in mind, you will not wake up at 9 a.m. in College, unless you have to for class. While 9 a.m. may not seem early now, it will be the death of you in a few months. And if you consider yourself a night owl now, you probably won’t sleep in college (take it from someone who thought she went to bed “late” in high school).
Also, pay close attention to the “college experience” section. There is a range of choices from “I worked hard in high school and I’m here to have a good time” (I care about grades but I also want to rage) to “I’ve been given a great opportunity and I’m going to focus on my studies” (Lau is my happy place). There are two choices in between and this is probably the most important question on CHARMS, as it will determine how much you and your roommate are on the same page when it comes to the “social” scene.
5. Facebook can be your friend and your enemy. When you’re chatting with people through CHARMS, it can be a bit awkward talking to a number or the nickname that CHARMS allows you to give each person. Taking the conversation to Facebook can be a great way to match a name and face to a CHARMS account. However, be aware that Facebook does not always correspond to who a person actually is and how well you would live together.
6. CHARMS is not for everyone. The process can be pretty stressful and it is definitely not a perfect service. If you feel like having a lazy summer, there have been plenty of successful random pairs and you’d find out who your roommate is during the week of August 5!
It takes time to find that perfect match (due by June 30!). Don’t rush into it and wait it out for a few days before CHARMS-posing. However, don’t wait too long before your special someone is snatched up! Good luck with the roommate hunt and happy CHARMS season.
Photo: Grace Brennan