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Articles / Applying to College / Can My High School Brother Be My College Roommate?

Dec. 7, 2017

Can My High School Brother Be My College Roommate?

Question: I'm going to be entering college in the fall of 2018 and I already know that your roommate can be your brother if you like, however, I would like to know if it would still be possible for us the share a room if my brother is still in his second year of (online) high school.

When it comes to roommate assignments, colleges have varying policies. Some colleges will honor all roommate requests from incoming students; some will consider the requests but won’t promise to honor them; and some colleges will not allow new students to select a roommate at all, insisting that the growth experience that college should provide includes learning to live with a total stranger.


No college, however, will allow a student to live on campus with a roommate who is not also enrolled at that college. Therefore, if you plan to live on campus, you will not be able to live with your brother until he is also a matriculated student at your school.

So, if you want to room with your little bro, the only way that this would be possible next fall (other than if you live at home yourself) would be if you were to live in an off-campus apartment with him. Many colleges, however, do not allow freshmen to live off campus. Since you are a high school senior, you probably have a college list already. Thus, if you think you might want to live off-campus with your brother, you will need to check the housing policies at each of your target colleges. If all of these schools require freshmen to live on campus, you will have to add colleges to your list that don’t have this requirement. If, however, there are extenuating circumstances that explain your desire to live with your brother (such as sexual, physical, or substance abuse in your home or parents who are otherwise incompetent or deceased) then you may be able to petition a college to waive the on-campus rule for you so that you can live with your brother off-campus and remove him from an unhealthy home environment. But regardless of your home-front situation, the college officials will not permit your brother to live in your dorm until he is a freshman himself. 

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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