If your first shock at college is the size of your dorm room, and the second is the person you're expected to share it with, you'll have to think fast.
Step 1: Decide on basics Decide on some basics like how you want to divide the room, whether overnight guests are allowed (and if so, how often), when you need quiet for studying and when playing video games, the TV, or music is OK, and whether you want a "lights out" time.
Step 2: Decide on chores Come to an agreement on chores. Do you want to take turns tidying up and throwing out trash, or should each be responsible for his or her own mess?
TIP: If you know in your heart you will never get along with your roommate, request a change. Most colleges allow for a switch after a trial period.
Step 3: Share your pet peeves Share your pet peeves. Admitting you can't stand dirty laundry hanging from the lamp frees your roommate to complain about your week-old pizza boxes.
Step 4: Discuss borrowing Discuss your feelings on sharing or borrowing. Is food or a music collection off-limits? If his computer was down and he logged on to yours, would that be no biggie or a declaration of war?
TIP: If there's a problem you can't resolve on your own, consult your resident adviser. Whatever your trouble, he or she has most likely dealt with it before.
Step 5: Nip things in the bud Nip things in the bud. Don't wait until a whiff of his smelly socks makes you go postal.
FACT: In one survey, college students named Kelly Ripa as their dream dorm mate.