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Schutz Launches Study On Roommate Choices

Test May Increase Compatible Choices


William C. Schutz, lecturer and research associate for the Department of Social Relations, yesterday revealed the launching of a study of the reasons behind roommate choices.

Schutz, who is working in cooperation with the Freshman Dean's Office, said, "As far as I know, Project FIRO--Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation--is the first study of its kind ever undertaken."

More than 1100 freshmen filled out questionnaires at September registration stating their likes and dislikes about prospective roommate types. The information gained from these questionnaires will be used to predict the two or three "most compatible" roommate choices in each entry for each student.

No attempt to manipulate roommates will be made this year, Schutz declared. If the project's predictions compare favorably with the actual roommate choices made next April, he said the questionnaire might be used as a criterion for freshman roommate selection next year. It could be included in the admissions application, he added.

The idea for Project FIRO came from a similar experiment conducted last year with a fraternity at M.I.T. The roommate predictions for the members proved accurate in 75 per cent of the cases.

Roommate as "Anchor"

"When freshmen of different backgrounds from all over the country come to college," Schutz stated, "the roommate is the one anchor they have." He asserted that if a freshman is not placed with a compatible roommate, it could have a detrimental effect on his whole college career.

Harry H. Hoehler, Assistant Dean of Freshmen, estimated that there were 30 roommate changes in last year's freshman class. So far this year, he said, there have been only six changes.

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