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.

(posted 12/4/2017)