"Most roommate problems center around personal habits," says Frank Persico, Catholic University's associate dean of students for student life.
"A 'day person' rooms with a 'night person', a classical music lover rooms with a hard-rock fan, someone used to sharing is with someone who doesn't like anyone else using their hair brush."
Solving roomate problems, he says, 'requires communication, respect for the other's rights and willingness to compromise."
Some sample solutions:
Frank Persico: "I am neat almost to the point of driving even myself crazy. But my roomate wasn't neat. We came up with a plan so every Wednesday we'd go through the room, cleaning and putting things away. The rest of the week I didn't beef."
Phil Henry, American University director of resident life : "Five of us were assigned to a two-bedroom apartment off campus. It was a zoo. Two guys liked to stay up late and raise hell, and the rest of us didn't.
"I had an 8 o'clock class six days a week, so at first I just napped in the afternoon. But then the three of us decided to sit down and talk with the other two guys. It helped that one 'early riser' was a 6-foot-5, 265-pound football player.
"The other guys toned it down."
Kate Durney, resident assistant at Catholic University: "The first night on campus my roomate went out with her brother and sister and didn't come back. I was very worried and upset because for all I knew she was lying bleeding somewhere.
"So from then on we arranged to leave notes for each other anytime we knew we'd be out all night."
Bud Delphin, coordinator of student houseing at George Mason University: "My roomate could sleep through a war. When his alarm went off at 7 a.m. for his 8 o'clock class, it'd wake me up, and I'd yell at him.
"This happened day after day until one morning the guys next door started screaming that they were tired of hearing me yelling. I quieted down some, but we really never changed the pattern too much becuase we'd gotten to enjoy it."