Credit: CC0 Public Domain When colleges and universities assign roommates instead of letting students pick and choose their own, the idea is often to increase the chance that students will live with someone from a different racial or ethnic background . It’s also to help them create a more diverse network of friends .
A growing number of colleges and universities – from Duke University to Colgate University to Vanderbilt University – have adopted this approach in recent years.
On the surface, campus housing policies that may force students to get out of their comfort zones and share living space with someone they might not otherwise may seem like a good idea. That is especially the case when you consider that experiences with people from diverse backgrounds have been shown to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills . They have also been shown to increase empathy and knowledge about people from different backgrounds and reduce anxiety about interacting with peers of another race, ethnicity or religion.
But as researchers who examine what makes it easier or harder for students to get through college , we have discovered that not letting students choose their roommates doesn’t really achieve the desired effect. We found […]
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