What are good reasons for requesting a single room in college?
February 13, 2007 2:46 AM   Subscribe

What are good reasons for requesting a single room in college?

They have limited single rooms available so they ask for a reason. I love people, but I enjoy being alone every now and then.. hardly a good reason. Any ideas?
posted by mrunderhill to Society & Culture (41 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly? Either lots of people will put down bullshit answers that won't get considered, or else most people will leave it blank and leave it up to the lottery. You should probably do the same if you don't actually have a reason beyond "I like being alone," since the sorts of reasons they're probably looking for are more serious ones like disabilities or immunodeficiencies.

For what it's worth, there was such a line on my form when I applied to university a couple of years ago. I asked for a single room in a co-ed building, left the reason blank, and got it.
posted by chrominance at 2:57 AM on February 13, 2007

Allergies. Make them up if necessary - the single room is so worth it.
posted by meerkatty at 3:18 AM on February 13, 2007

Something mildly psychotic? Like you get upset if somebody sees you less than fully dressed. (this is much better than saying you want privacy to masturbate).
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 3:27 AM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: Fool-proof plan to getting a single:

1) Go to your doctor, say you're being really bothered by allergies.

2) Tell doctor how excited you are about going to college, but you're worried that the summer is going to kill you, because your dorms don't have A/C, so you'll have to leave the window open.

Go home with prescription for allergy medication. do whatever you want with it.

3) Call doctor up later, saying hey, I checked with the school, and they said if I get a doctor's note saying I have allergies, they can put in a portable A/C unit!

4) Get doctor to write a note saying. "Mr. underhill has terrible allergies."

5) On application, write, I need a single room because I have allergies. Here is my doctor's note supporting my allergy claim.

Totally nefarious, but basically foolproof.

I wouldn't trade having a single for a roommate in the world, though. You basically meet all your friends this way, and get exposed to more people (you're going to meet your roommate's friends, for example).

The people that had singles in my dorm were considered a little strange and shut-ins. It's easy to get lost in your own world when you live by yourself.
posted by unexpected at 3:34 AM on February 13, 2007

Allergies is a good one. A dust allergy say, that means you need cleanliness.

Or say you get night-terrors.
posted by cardamine at 3:35 AM on February 13, 2007

Perhaps I'll get poked for "Not answering the question", but can I argue that you *shouldn't*? Your "I like to be alone" reason is not better than those who have legitimate needs for singles (psychological issues, personal issues they're dealing with, etc) and it's not fair for you to push them out by inventing a "foolproof" answer.

Everyone wants some alone time. No one that I know of goes into college going "MY GOD I'd love to not have personal space!" But you work it out with your roommate so you both get some time off ... you find that corner of the library you can hide in and no one can find you ... you make it work.

If you really feel strongly, be honest about your reason. Say that you'd enjoy your solitude. But don't make up an imaginary medical condition that could be screwing over someone else's legitimate needs.
posted by olinerd at 3:38 AM on February 13, 2007 [3 favorites]

Sleep issues would be the best way to go, IMHO. Something along the lines of being unable to sleep with another person in the room (if it's that kind of dorm).
posted by griphus at 3:39 AM on February 13, 2007

olinerd - AFAIK, there's numerous colleges that force you to spend your first year in the dorms. An "I like to be alone" coming from someone that's never been forced to share living quarters can slowly but surely turn into a "jesus christ, I'm going insane."

Figure the college should be able to tell the difference between a legitimate (doctor's note) health excuse (psychological or physical) and let the people with those excuses live solo first. If his excuse is well-crafted enough to get past that without any sort of doctor's authorization, he deserves to be there just as much as anyone else does.
posted by griphus at 3:45 AM on February 13, 2007

Insomnia, depression, anxiety. How official/medical a reason you need might depend upon how many single rooms they have to distribute.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 4:10 AM on February 13, 2007

posted by paduasoy at 4:11 AM on February 13, 2007


at least that will make for a funny doctor's note!
posted by matteo at 4:30 AM on February 13, 2007

You snore. You snore so badly that you're the bane of every roommate's existence. You're doing this as a favor to everybody else.
posted by kimota at 4:38 AM on February 13, 2007

They might just put you with another snorer.
posted by caddis at 4:59 AM on February 13, 2007

Seconding wind.

Or the allergy thing if you want to be boring.
posted by TrashyRambo at 5:14 AM on February 13, 2007

The way I got a single was by having an honestly psychotic roommate who was removed from the school after a week. This probably won't work for you.

'Allergies' is your best bet, I think; anything stronger is impeding on people with real problems and has a larger chance of requiring real medical paperwork.

That being said, if it's your first year, you will soon learn that even on giant state campuses, there are places to be alone. I've been to both a tiny liberal arts college (1.2k) and a 25k state school, and in both, there was always the library basement. No one's ever down there, and if they are, they're slumped in a corner with a journal printed in Fraktur from 1899 because that's where they keep that stuff.

If it's not your first year, you have a few months develop a severe phobia of your current roommates, and you can use that.
posted by cobaltnine at 5:14 AM on February 13, 2007

A bunch of people I know got away with "insomnia."

One girl did it by constantly complaining to the dean about her interpersonal problems.
posted by muddgirl at 5:23 AM on February 13, 2007

Try not to get committed or kicked out while manufacturing reasons for getting a single. (Honor code? Hah!) And when conning your doctor, don't emphasize the strength of your allergies in summer, when school will likely not be in session.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 5:41 AM on February 13, 2007

Best answer: I worked in Res Life for a few years, the most important factor in determining which incoming students got singles was simply which ones were willing to pay the premium for a single over a share.

The kinds of things that guaranteed a single were health issues (physical and mental) and a history of roommate complaints. Basically, after we got enough complaints about someone, they were officially labelled a jerk (I think the term was "unsuitable for cohabitation") and we'd stop assigning them roommates.
posted by sonofslim at 5:43 AM on February 13, 2007

Tell them you're a bed-wetter.
posted by Goofyy at 5:50 AM on February 13, 2007

Unable to study unless you are alone? Unable to sleep unless you are alone? Personally, I *loved* having my roommate drop out after 3 weeks and having a double room to myself. It was AWESOME. :)
posted by antifuse at 6:13 AM on February 13, 2007

Most likely, the reason makes no difference, and is only there in case too many people ask for a single, and they have to decide who doesn't get one (they're more expensive, and many people look forward to the roommate experience, so singles are the exception).

If your doctor thinks you're lying to them, they are not going to assume it's to get your own dorm room. Don't go down that road with your doctor.
posted by bingo at 6:16 AM on February 13, 2007

A risky proposition that worked for me was to get my freshman year roommate a girlfriend. The trick is making sure that said girlfriend has a better place than your dormroom so that 90% of the time, he's out there doin his thing while you're at peace alone in your room, quietly masturbating to internet pornography.

Wait. Reverse that. Get a girlfriend with a nice place that you're able to spend most of your time at. Call it a "Single-with-benefits"!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:25 AM on February 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

In my experience as a RA there were only three ways to get a single room. 1) your roommate leaves and no one else requests to move in. 2) you have a disability (i.e. in a wheel chair, deaf, blind) and request a single room to accodomate your needs. 3) you pay twice as much and get selected in the lottery (very small chance, we had about 1% single rooms). With that said, often when a roommate moved out, then that person often got to have the double to themselves, and most of the time didn't have to pay anymore. So, your best bet for a single is probably to make life horrible for your roommie so they request a new spot.
posted by sulaine at 6:48 AM on February 13, 2007

I told them I was gay and HAPPY to have a female roommate (I'm a chick.) This was in 1987 and people were much less open-minded, so a single was mine for the taking.
posted by pomegranate at 6:50 AM on February 13, 2007

Unusual sleep schedule? At my school, preference for singles was also granted to, for example, athletes - people who had to be up at 4AM for practice. This is hugely disruptive to roommates with normal college student sleep schedules.
posted by miagaille at 6:52 AM on February 13, 2007

say you pray in your room
posted by ames at 7:49 AM on February 13, 2007

You get migraines. When you get them, you must have quiet and complete darkness in the room. Wouldn't want to inconvenience a roommate with such things, now would we?

I got a single room guaranteed for me by saying this, although it is admittedly true for me.

But who's gonna say, "No, you don't get these headaches..."? Could be a problem if they want a doctor's note. In that case, see unexpected's answer above.
posted by freudenschade at 8:00 AM on February 13, 2007

If you don't get a single, remember there are mid-semester ways to get one if you need to. I had a roommate who smoked a lot of weed and came home late drunk all the time and drove me crazy in a variety of ways. All I had to do was call Res Life crying and saying my roommate was on drugs and scared me and I was out in a day or two and into a single. So yeah. Also there were no reprecussions for her, which was nice, even though not a priority for me at the time. (And as someone who needed a single once, I'll n-th the people who say don't make things up, just state your case well.)
posted by lorrer at 8:39 AM on February 13, 2007

Your "I like to be alone" reason is not better than those who have legitimate needs for singles (psychological issues, personal issues they're dealing with, etc) and it's not fair for you to push them out by inventing a "foolproof" answer.

Agreed. Imagine faking really bad allergies, and getting the last single. Then someone discovers they actually do have severe allergies, and are told, "Sorry, someone else with allergies got the last room, and since your reasons are the same, they applied first and got it". etc.

But, to answer the question, a good reason for requesting a single room is social anxiety disorder. Forced living with a total stranger doesn't really mix well with it.
posted by white light at 8:55 AM on February 13, 2007

Yeah, I have to say, in a limited single situation, unless you have a better reason than "I like being alone," then you should apply for the general lottery singles that people get AFTER they've accomodated all of the people with real problems. At least, this is how it worked at my college. Having had a friend who really did need a single, I can't endorse lying about allergies or social anxiety disorder.

Depending on where you are going to school, some doubles are better than others. Again, depending upon how your school does lottery, you might be able to get a great room after all of the needs based assignments have been made, but you need to know what those rooms are. Are there suites (for us, two bedrooms, shared living room and bath)? Are there ADA compliant rooms that are HUGE but are sometimes not taken in the needs-based lottery? I ended up with a double the size of Guatemala one year because it was an ADA room that none of the ADA kids wanted. If you can get into a single and it really means that much to you, great, but I would also research the best doubles (assuming you have some hand in making the decision) and have some choices on hand for those.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:13 AM on February 13, 2007

Medical reasons generally trump. A lady with a colostomy bag / other prosthesis? Check. A lady with hardcore OCD? Check. A gentleman with autism? Check.
Allergies are treatable. The above are more social issues, as in, if someone had to live with them, their life would be made substantially more difficult. (People can do other things to cause them to be unlivable with, but if it's not something that you can control, well.)

Secondly, by class. Most private schools have a two-year residency requirement. Beyond that, if you'd still like to live on campus, you're more likely to get a higher lottery number and choose the single that you want. A senior is far more likely to get that single over a first year who puts 'i like to be alone' on their housing form.

Alternative students, say on the GI bill, generally get put into singles/apartment-style living places because of the age difference. You may be a freshman in terms of credits, but you're still 22, and mixing former military with fresh-out-of-high school kids tends to be a weird mix.

Good reasons not to -
Once you're accepted to a college and you accept them as well, that college has an unspoken mission to try and keep you there, happy and academically successful. The first six weeks are critical for making friends and knowing who's around you, because after that point, you get to the middle of the semester. If you don't have friends to hang out with, if it doesn't feel like 'home' in some way or shape and you're spending all of your time on your cell phone to your friends back home... you're probably going to think about transferring somewhere else.
posted by lilithim at 9:28 AM on February 13, 2007

why not rent an apartment near the school?

Economically, college dorms are a complete rip-off. You overpay for a shitty room, bad food, and the privilege of being treated like a child and tattled on by an overgrown hall monitor. And the "bonding" experience is vastly overrated and can just as easily happen off campus in an apartment.

I always heard these rumors that you "had" to live on campus for your first year or something, but this seemed like a blatant urban myth at a school that was something like 70% commuters anyway. The dorm is just another way for the school to make a profit.
posted by drjimmy11 at 9:38 AM on February 13, 2007

Seconding what miagaille said. Freshman year I lived in an all-freshman dorm where maybe a quarter of us lived in singles, randomly assigned by chance. On the housing form I put that I have an irregular sleep schedule--in season, I go to bed and wake up early, and out of season, I'm a night owl--and I got a single (this exact reason won't work for you if you're not an athlete, but saying you have difficulty sleeping might.)
posted by cosmic osmo at 10:12 AM on February 13, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the answers.. Very helpful. I'll give it some thought!
posted by mrunderhill at 10:40 AM on February 13, 2007

If you're a 'nontraditional' student, it may be easier as well. I started university at 25 (after the Army) and spent my first year in the dorms matched with another older (23 yo) roommate, because Residence Life preferred to assign nontraditional students together. The second year I got my own room, basically because of the same policy - older/nontraditional students received preference because often they actually need the little extra space to live out of independently (not having a room back home with Mommy and Daddy).
posted by SenshiNeko at 11:28 AM on February 13, 2007

Having had a friend who really did need a single, I can't endorse lying about allergies or social anxiety disorder.

The problem with this approach is that (at least to my knowledge), the special-needs room draw is usually horribly abused, and lots of people do it just so they get first pick of rooms. Half the people claiming they need singles probably don't, really.
posted by oaf at 12:12 PM on February 13, 2007

My dorm at Iowa had a whole wing of single rooms. All male, sadly, but as everyone had their own room, girlfriends and visitors were around all the time. Whenever I think about it, I realize that it was one of the happiest periods of my life.

In any case, I didn't make up any excuses to get the single, it just cost a bit more than a multi-person room. I talked it over with my parents and they were cool with it.

Good luck!
posted by aladfar at 1:10 PM on February 13, 2007

I know this doesn't answer the question but I want to add my anecdotal $0.02:
I requested a single room and had to pay extra for it. Money notwithstanding, this was (I firmly believe in safe hindsight) my biggest mistake in college. Ever. I think if I hadn't gotten a single, I would have made new friends, not relied on old ones, done new activities, not been depressed, not raced to finish college in 3 years and not hated college. It's a cascade effect and I really regret having a single.
Just something to ponder about (how good your social skills are; how many people you will know; any clubs/sports you know you will do, etc.) Sorry, I'm done.
posted by shokod at 5:16 PM on February 13, 2007 [2 favorites]

Allergies and sleep apnea were common ones heard in my residence.
posted by perpetualstroll at 6:16 PM on February 13, 2007

If you go to a doctor complaining of sudden severe allergies, the doctor will say, "Hmm, I wonder what you're allergic to." Know how they test for allergies? They poke you with a ton of needles and wait to see what swells up.

If you have to invent a reason for a single -- and I admit I think that's a bad idea as well as an inconsiderate one -- "allergies" doesn't strike me as a good choice if it has to be backed up by a doctor's note.
posted by booksandlibretti at 9:23 PM on February 13, 2007

I want to second shokod here. I actually did have a roommate, but ended up with a pretty serious boyfriend and spent most of my time at his place. Then he graduated and I realized that while the rest of the people in my dorm were making friends with each other, I'd made friends with a bunch of my boyfriend's friends, all of whom were about to leave for grad school.

I've made a couple of friends throughout college, but ultimately I'm graduating in four months and won't be looking back fondly. Those first few months are pretty crucial in terms of making friends, and if you're even a vaguely shy person who's planning to spend a lot of time answering the questions on AskMeFi rather than getting out and meeting people, you might want a roommate.

On the other hand, you may end up getting a roommate like me, who's never there. Then you get a functional single, but a bigger room, and cheaper rent.
posted by crinklebat at 10:41 PM on February 13, 2007 [1 favorite]

« Older Help me find an audio search engine to replace...   |   How do I organise my college course modules into... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.