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Move-in weekend 2017 at the Brown Residence Hall. Photos by Rob Travis.

Room Selection is Coming Up: Help Your Student Prepare!

Your role as a parent or family member is critical as your student prepares for college. From picking the perfect room, finding the perfect roommate, to buying the perfect room décor, we know you will be there every step of the way.


Your student should have received an email from University Housing to their Volmail account with instructions to participate in Room Selection. Every student living on campus is assigned a time slot to select their room, and the process is really easy!

This week, we shared some things to keep in mind with your student as they are preparing to select their room. Parents and families are excellent support systems, and you might have some things they should consider as they are making their choice!

Here are some of our ideas:

Find a roommate

Before your student selects their room, they might want to consider finding a roommate ahead of time, which can be done in the University Housing Portal. Students may want to look for someone with likes and dislikes, or they may also simply request someone that they already know. If your student wants to pick a roommate, it is important that they request someone before they select your room.

Is your student showing hesitation about picking a roommate ahead of time? That’s ok! Lots of students leave it to chance and opt for a random roommate. Many students end up making a new lifelong friend with someone they might not have met otherwise. The unknown can be a bit scary at first, so your support will be important. Just remember that this is a learning experience for your student as they figure out how to navigate new situations and find their footing.

Contacting Roommates

If your student decides to request a roommate, we recommend that they contact each other before selecting a room. It’s important that they get to know each other, decide what halls they want to try to select during Room Selection, coordinate what to bring, and compare likes and dislikes. Having these conversations early and often during the summer will help set them up for a great experience in the fall semester!

Parents and families can be a great help with this process. It can be intimidating to reach out to someone you don’t know and ask the questions that will really make a difference. Encouraging your student to be themselves, be honest, and have frequent conversations with their new roommate will help everyone prepare for life at college!

Does your student already know their future roommate? This is where you can help too! Often, students will assume everything will be fine since they are friends. Having honest conversations and establishing expectations early are important to be sure that their friendship lasts through the roommate experience.

Once your student and their requested roommate have confirmed in the University Housing Portal, they can select a room on campus. Whoever has the first time slot should pick the room on campus for both of them, since earlier time slots often have more options available. Students that don’t request a roommate before Room Selection will have the opportunity to connect with their assigned roommate through the University Housing Portal after Room Selection is complete!

Selecting the best hall on campus!

Parents and families are always wondering what the best hall is on campus. Our answer? All of them! The best hall for your student depends on a few factors. What is your student looking for in a college experience? Do they want to meet a bunch of people, ensure they have a quiet place to study, or do they want to live close to their classes?

Hess, Massey, Orange, and White Halls are community-style halls, making it really easy to meet a ton of new people and make a lot of friends. They are also centrally located on campus, making the walk to class fast and easy! Students love their experience in Hess and Massey, and many come back to live in these halls for a second or even a third year.

We have seven different suite-style halls, and this style is the most common type of residence halls at UT. This type of hall is a great option because several students in a suite and share a semi-private bathroom. Suite-style halls are all over campus, so it’s important to think about the location to the things important to you. Do you love to work out at the gym? Maybe looking at North and South Carrick, Magnolia, or Stokely would be a good fit because they are close to TRECS. Want to be close to the Student Union? Check out Brown Hall or Clement Hall. Check out our campus map to get a feel for where all the residence halls are located.

You may also hear about apartment-style halls on campus. These halls are reserved for older students (sophomore and above) and are great options to keep in mind for next year.

As a parent or family member, you can help your student make a list of priorities so that they are prepared for Room Selection. Make sure you discuss your budget too, as all residence halls are available at different price points.

The RA is a great resource!

Resident Assistants, or RAs, are amazing resources for your student right from the start. They will help make sure that your student is feeling connected to campus, help your student find their classes, help them meet other students, and plan great events. Plus, RAs are a great resource when your student is struggling with their roommate or feeling homesick. RAs are older students that have been in the same place that your student is now, and they have all kinds of great advice to help with the transition.

Virtual Residence Hall Tours

We know that measurements are super important for room décor shopping! You need to know what type of sheets to buy, what kind of organizational solutions you want to bring, and whether or not your student will actually have room to bring all their favorite shoes.

Since we can’t show you and your student in-person what rooms will look like this summer, we want to show you virtually! University Housing will be hosting virtual tours where you get to see a room in the hall your student will be living in this fall in real time and ask questions directly to one of our staff members. If you are curious about measurements, just ask! Want to know the best storage solutions for your student’s room? We got you covered.

University Housing will post their virtual tours soon on their website. Keep an eye out for updates by visiting housing.utk.edu.

Move-In

Move-in and other campus activities will be a bit different this year to keep the health and safety of your family as a top priority, and we are committed to making it a great experience! The campus is making plans for the fall, and we will share how those plans impact move-in as the information becomes available.To stay up to date on campus announcements about UT’s response to COVID-19 by visiting utk.edu/coronavirus.