From the minute they met in an Internet chat, freshmen Kelly Kristal and Sarah Sweeney just clicked.

“We started talking, and after our first conversation it was completely apparent that we should be roommates,” Kristal says.

The Internet isn’t just for dating services anymore. Kristal and Sweeney found one another through Emory’s Online Housing Selection Process, a roommate-matching program developed by the company WebRoomz that the University used for the first time this year. Fewer than a dozen colleges offer such a program.

New Emory students can log on and answer twenty-seven questions about themselves: Night owl or morning person? Orderly or sloppy? How do you feel about borrowing clothes? Loud music? Frequent guests?

The system then uses their answers to match them up with potential roommates whom they can meet online, under screen names. As the students get to know each other, says Lisa deMik, assistant director of University Housing, roommate pairs begin to sort themselves out.

“I think it has been successful for most people,” deMik says. “I keep hearing how glad the students are that they had the opportunity to get to know their roommates over the summer. It’s often the littlest things that make good roommate connections.”

For Kristal and Sweeney, the match felt natural: they’re both athletes, like the same music, and enjoy partying–but not too much.

“We’re both just really laid back,” Kristal says. “We knew we would be pretty independent, but that we would be friends, too.”–P.P.P.



© 2003 Emory University