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Using the same general concepts employed by online dating services, Roomsurf helps college students select their own roommates rather than leave the choice up to their schools’ housing departments. Roommate selection is often a crucial element in a college student’s success, and while schools do their best to pair roommates based on academic profiles, there are many additional variables that affect roommates’ compatibility. Recognizing that problems arising from these variables often lead to disharmony and conflicts between roommates, which can seriously undermine a student’s academic efforts, Roomsurf asks students to describe themselves in a quick survey that asks about their habits, personality, personal beliefs, and sex, and to define how their ideal roommate would respond to the same questions.

Founded in 2010 by University of Miami students Justin Gaither and Dan Thibodeau, Roomsurf currently serves more than 300,000 students nationwide. Upon enrolling in Roomsurf, students identify their schools, and potential roommate matches are restricted to other students of the same gender at the same school. After completing Roomsurf’s short profile in which they write brief self-descriptions, a student is presented with a short survey asking about personal hygiene habits, study habits, anticipated relationship with a roommate, anticipated entertainment habits, and the like. Students also note the preferred answer from potential roommates, and rate each question as to its level of importance.

Roomsurf tabulates the responses and alerts members of potential matches based on compatibility. Members then communicate directly with those potential matches, either through Roomsurf or Facebook. Students who decide to room together then submit a roommate request to their school. The process is streamlined for the growing number of schools that have engaged Roomsurf’s services.

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