Question: Do colleges really pay attention to the roommate preference questions on my college application?
A lot of smaller colleges and universities really do try to match some of your preferences for roommate characteristics. Even some larger schools will try to accommodate your wishes. Don't expect miracles, though.
The biggest issue for a lot of incoming freshmen is smoking. A number of schools throughout the nation are moving to a smoke-free status. That means smoking is prohibited inside any campus building, most importantly living quarters. If you have a particularly strong preference for a non- smoking roommate or a smoke-free environment, be sure to indicate that on your application. In fact, it might be important enough to become a selection criterion for your candidate schools.
Remember, one of the great aspects of a college education is learning more about different kinds of people. You could play it conservatively and seek to be matched up with a safe carbon copy of yourself. On the other hand, rooming with someone who complements your personal qualities could be quite enlightening, as long as the differences are within reason.
Think about whom your friends are now. These are the kinds of personalities to which you will naturally gravitate when you go to college. Be careful, however, that you don't limit your college experience by hanging out exclusively with a limited number of personality types. The freshman roommate experience can be a positive experience. That's why you need to take preference questionnaires seriously.