Members of Ohio University’s incoming class are already building their Bobcat family thanks to My College Roomie, a roommate-matching and networking software system that allows first-year students to network before they arrive on the Athens Campus. The software for OHIO’s Class of 2023 went live prior to the launch of next year’s housing contract, allowing prospective Bobcats to begin connecting immediately upon receiving admittance letters.
According to Johnna Matulja, associate director of marketing and business operations for Housing and Residence Life, OHIO is a trailblazer among colleges when it comes to using online social platforms to connect college roommates.
“We were the first housing department to utilize My College Roomie as a networking tool for any admitted student,” Matulja said. “With our unique focus on recruitment, Housing and Residence Life is able to partner with My College Roomie to find new ways to connect with students and help students connect with one another.”
Ohio University’s Department of Housing and Residence Life first launched its My College Roomie account on March 1, 2017, inviting all admitted first-year students to use the roommate-matching software platform, which doubles as a private and protected social network. Dubbed “the future of roommate matching,” My College Roomie uses algorithms that provide students suggested roommate matches based on compatibility while also offering social networking tools already familiar to students.
Over 4,000 OHIO students took advantage of My College Roomie in spring of 2018, resulting in 900 roommate matches. By launching the 2019 platform prior to the launch of the housing contract, admitted students were able to begin engaging with each other as soon as they received notification of acceptance Ohio University.
Since its OHIO debut, My College Roomie has been working to better adapt the program for large-scale university use.
“No other college has used this platform this way. So we broke it and broke it again and broke it again. They’ve revamped their servers and search process based on our ability to break their system,” Matulja said. “It’s awesome to know that 4,000 students were out there looking for other Bobcats last spring. In less than a year, My College Roomie has already implemented
many of our feature requests, including an improved mobile-responsive design, roommate matching filters and dynamic search options that help with gender inclusivity.”
All newly admitted Bobcats will receive an email inviting them to participate in My College Roomie through which they can complete a student survey/questionnaire. Survey topics include sleep habits, neatness and other issues that can make or break a roommate experience.
Students also have the option of creating a profile on My College Roomie that is visible to fellow incoming Bobcats. As they review one another’s surveys and profiles, students are able to message each other and ultimately decide whether they want to match up as roommates. Each My College Roomie connection is assigned a roommate compatibility ranking – from 100 percent to zero – which can help to inform students’ decisions.
Participation in the My College Roomie process is not mandatory. Historically, approximately 50 percent of OHIO students have opted for random room assignments, and students may continue to go this route, according to Matulja.
“We’re offering My College Roomie as a tool, not a requirement,” she said. “You’re not missing out if you don’t go this route; you’re just experiencing OHIO in the way you need to experience it.” Admitted first-year students may access OHIO’s My College Roomie account via Housing and Residence Life’s website or directly at ohio.mycollegeroomie.com/.