Naked Roommate, 5E: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College

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Looking for the perfect high school graduation gift for your college-bound grad? Now in it's 5th edition, the New York Times bestselling Naked Roommate is the #1 go-to guide on dorm and college life! Harlan Cohen's tips and advice on student life -from sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to sharing lecture notes-provide the behind-the-scenes look at EVERYTHING freshmen need to know about college (but never knew they needed to know).

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Looking for the perfect high school graduation gift for your college-bound grad? Now in it's 5th edition, the New York Times bestselling Naked Roommate is the #1 go-to guide on dorm and college life! Harlan Cohen's tips and advice on student life -from sharing a bathroom with 40 strangers to sharing lecture notes-provide the behind-the-scenes look at EVERYTHING freshmen need to know about college (but never knew they needed to know).

This essential, fully updated edition is packed with real-life advice on everything from managing money to managing stress. Hilarious and outrageous, with stories from students on over 100 college campuses this book covers the basics, and then some, including:

College Living: Dorm dos, don'ts, and dramas; lying, noisy, nasty roommates

Finding People, Places and Things: Facebook, Twitter, and beyond; Friend today, gone tomorrow

Classes: To go or not to go?; How to get an A, C, or F

Dating: 17 kinds of college hookups; long distance = BIG concerns

The Party Scene: The punch in the "fruit punch"; Sex, drugs, and the truth

Money: Grants, loans, and loose change; Credit cards and online gambling

This "hilarious and truthful book" (School Library Journal) offers entering freshman a genuine and insightful look at everyday life. In college, there's a surprise around every corner. Luckily, The Naked Roommate has you covered! The best gift book of its kind-inimitable, practical, and funny.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

The cute little guides that college orientation teams hand out to frightened freshmen offer valuable information, but very few of them touch on the nitty-gritty of day-to-day dorm life. How many of them, for instance, prepare you for the libidinous roommate who habitually brings his love life home with him or the friendly suite mate who turns the study room into a rock concert hall? With its real-life reminiscences of students who survived weird situations, Harlan Cohen's Naked Roommate serves as the crash course that any college student needs to cope with the stress, challenges, and possibilities of undergraduate. It's no wonder that it's now back in a new fifth edition.

From the Publisher
"College freshmen, this is the perfect book for you." - VOYA
VOYA - Nancy Pierce
Most new college students are just glad to be starting college—there is a chance they suffered through the application process, begged for recommendations, navigated the complicated financial aid bureaucracy, and are just looking forward to some freedom and to move onto the next phase of their life. So should these perhaps burnt-out freshies read a book (gasp!) before they land on campus? Yes! If it is The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into In College. Yes, they should read it. Every student can benefit from part or all of the advice/tips provided in this book. Experienced in romance? The college romance scene is different. What about the party scene? What you think you want versus an informed decision may be two entirely different things. You had a good high school experience and assume the same will be true in college? Maybe, but knowing how college is different ahead of time is important. Your brother's or older friends' insights might not be the most valuable (or honest), and having an objective resource at the ready is incredibly useful to someone embarking on an important new chapter in life. Incredibly comprehensive—addressing money, friends, dating, sex, classes, part-time jobs, getting involved in extracurriculars—there is seemingly no relevant subject not covered in this book. There is even a version for parents. Maybe Cohen should think about writing a book about your first job... or changing jobs. There are many situations in which a wise, fun person is needed to show us the way. College freshmen, this is the perfect book for you. This is highly recommended for high school and public libraries. Buy a few copies. Reviewer: Nancy Pierce
School Library Journal
Gr 11 Up-A hilarious and truthful book that gives high school students a look at college life, beginning with "Arriving on Campus" and ending with "It's Almost Time to Say Goodbye." In between, Cohen covers homesickness, laundry, Greek life, sex ("Having It, Not Having It, Hearing Other People Having It"), alcohol, cafeteria food, roommates, making it to class on time (and what happens if you don't). The author talks frankly about "Hook Ups," "One-Night Stands," and STDs. Each topic includes a "Harlan Tip," accompanied by a true story from a college student. The advice is sound; the tone is light.-Marianne Fitzgerald, Severna Park High School, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402280283
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 4/23/2013
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 560
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Harlan Cohen is the New York Times bestselling author of the Naked Roommate series and is one of the most widely read and respected syndicated advice columnists for teens and twenty-somethings. His column, "Help Me, Harlan!," is distributed by King Features Syndicate, and his advice has been featured in hundreds of publications, including the New York Times, Seventeen, and Psychology Today.

Harlan regularly tours high school and college campuses giving presentations to students, professionals and parents. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. For more information, visit and

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Read an Excerpt

Welcome Students

Welcome to the fifth edition of The Naked Roommate. Yes, this is the fifth edition (not a typo, the typos come later in the book). It’s so nice to have you here on page one. I’m Harlan. I’ll be your Naked author and host throughout this book. I’ve included a picture of myself on the back of the book (fully clothed) so you can see what I look like. And yes, I’ve actually been wearing that same outfit while writing this entire book (but I have gained about five pounds). As your host and author, I’d like to offer you something to eat or drink (nonalcoholic), but I don’t know where to find you or if you can eat or drink where you are. If you’re reading this at a place where they’re serving food or drinks, please get yourself something. I can’t pay for it, but if I were there, I would. I just want to make sure that you’re comfortable.

So please, slip off your shoes, unbutton the top button on your pants if they’re snug, find a comfortable place to sit if you’re standing. Do whatever it takes for you to get comfortable, as long as what you need to do to get comfortable isn’t prohibited by any indecency laws. If it is prohibited, please take this book home with you. I’m not trying to get you to buy it (well, maybe I am a little), but what is more important than your owning this book is that you are as comfortable as possible while reading it. Because when it comes down to it, that’s what this whole book is all about—and it’s really what the college experience is about. It’s about helping you to get comfortable for what can be an uncomfortable (at times) journey ahead. Now, I’ll give you a break to get comfortable. And please, feel free to browse through the book after you settle in.


Welcome Back

Hi, Harlan here again, your author and host. From browsing through this book, you are probably expecting a lot of tips. When it comes to “tips,” there are many different kinds in the world. There are good tips, bad tips, informative tips, tips that touch the surface, tips that give you something to think about, tips you leave on a table after eating at a restaurant, rib tips, fingertips, tiptoes, and various other miscellaneous tips. This is a tip book unlike any other tip book. It’s a book that goes far beyond the tip and leaves you with something to think about, and when applicable, even offers you places to go for help on and off campus. I’d like to go so far as to say that this is the best tip book in the history of tip books. (Minus the 1762 classic, Ten Tips for Settlers to the New Country. I do love that book.)

This might come to you as a surprise, but I wasn’t a fan of “tip books”—that is, until I wrote this book. I don’t just like this one because I wrote it (although that is part of the reason). It’s because this book is genuinely different. It’s based on what today’s college students are honestly thinking, feeling, and doing on today’s college campuses. It’s their voices sharing their stories and experiences that will expose the uncensored truth about what’s really going on in college. Not only will you get page after page of telling tips from students on over one hundred college campuses across North America, you’ll also get the latest facts, stats, resources, support services having to do with college life, and some advice from me—someone who has been a freshman twice, has visited over four hundred college campuses, and has interviewed over a thousand students. Whether you’re living on campus or commuting from home, whether you’re going to a big school or a small school, whether you’re the first person in your family going to college or the last—I’ve made sure that this book has something for everyone.

About the student-offered tips—one thing that I’ve discovered while writing my syndicated Help Me, Harlan! advice column and interviewing students over the years is that it’s the rest of the story, the story of how someone came up with his or her tip or advice, that is the most telling. And that’s exactly what you’ll find here—the tips and the stories behind them. That’s just not something you see every day. (Assuming you own this book, you now can see it every day if that’s what you enjoy doing with your spare time.)

Speaking of time, I appreciate yours. I promise not to waste it. This book will be helpful. At the very least, it can always be used as a doorstop, a coaster, or a way to level out a shaky table. The actual information written on the pages of your new doorstop/coaster/level will also prove helpful. Whether you’re heading to a college down the street or across the country, this book has something for you. Whether you’re headed to college as the star of your high school or you’re one of those students who blended into the cement block walls in the back of your classroom, this book has something for you. And that includes all those people who fall somewhere in between blending into the cement blocks and being a star. Whether you’re attending a two-year school, a four-year school, or a virtual school, this book is written with you in mind. Whether you’re from the United States, Canada, Spain, Australia, Austria, India, China, or a country I haven’t mentioned, The Naked Roommate is also for you. This is the book that I only wish someone had written for me when I went to college. In fact, this book has proven so helpful over the years that it’s now being used as required reading, as a textbook, and as a training guide for student leaders on campus. In addition, there’s now a Naked Roommate’s First Year Survival Workbook and an online instructor’s guide to go along with the book.

While high schools do a great job of getting students into college, once on campus, few students know what to expect. That’s what this book is all about—to help you expect the unexpected so that when the unexpected shows up, it won’t be so hard to handle. When I went to college, I thought it was going to be an easy transition. I had two older brothers who had both been to college (one is five years older, the other eight years older). I also had a long-distance girlfriend who was a senior in high school. I went to a big university after graduating from a big high school, and expected everything to just fall into place. But instead, I only felt out of place. It took almost two semesters and my transferring from the University of Wisconsin at Madison (an awesome school) to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana (another awesome school), to figure it all out. At IU, I experienced a second freshman year and realized there’s so much no one tells us about life in college. That’s why I wrote this book—to share all the things that no one ever tells you about your college years, things that will make college life easier to handle. Whether on a commuter campus, a college near home, or a university far away from home, so much of what students experience during the college years is universal. It’s a higher education in love, in life, and in finding passion—inside and outside the classroom.

I’m so happy that you finally have your hands on The Naked Roommate. I hope you will keep this close to you through your college career. You might not need everything on the pages to follow today, but you’ll use different parts of The Naked Roommate (and the Survival Workbook) during different times throughout your college career. When you do need it, it’s here. I know it will help.

Please note—you probably won’t encounter every single issue and obstacle discussed in this book (and if you do, you should write your own book). That said, you will encounter many of them, if not in your own life, then in the lives of your friends. When that happens, you can share this book or get them their own copies. One thing I should mention before continuing: I promised many of the college students who offered advice for this book not to just talk about the bad parts of college; they didn’t want this book to scare you, because the truth is that most of life in college is great. It’s just once in a while it’s not great. And that’s what this book is here for. To help make it great even in the not so great times. And with that, I’ve fulfilled my promise.

As you read this book and live out your own college experience, please send in your thoughts, tips, and stories. Make sure to check out (the world’s nicest community for students) to connect with other college students and share your experiences. You can also find me at Then there’s Facebook: and Oh, and there’s also Twitter (I tweet, do you tweet?): @NakedRoommate and @HarlanCohen.

If you find that your parents need help, there’s a book for them too. I wanted to title it The NAKED Parent, but instead (for obvious reasons), we went with The Naked Roommate: For Parents Only. The book is written to help your parents support you throughout your college experience. Get it for them as a going away gift—you’ll be a hero.

If you should ever find yourself in need of additional relationship advice, visit and check out my new book, Getting Naked: Five Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life (While Fully Clothed and Totally Sober).

As your author and host, please let me know if there is ever anything I can do to help you along your college journey. I know you have a choice when it comes to books about college life, and I appreciate your choosing this one. Thank you.

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Table of Contents


Book Orientation: The Stuff before the Tips

Welcome Students

Welcome Parents

Welcome Educators

About the Editorial Content

The Fifth Edition: Like a Shower and a Shave

Fifth Edition Notes to Specific Readers

A Final Note to All Readers

First Page, First Tip, and First Days of College

Chapter 1

Arriving on Campus: So Real You Can Smell It, Touch It, and Taste It

1: Expect the Unexpected

2: Patience, Patience, and More Patience

3: Finding Your Places on Campus

3.5: Getting the Right People in Your Corner

4: When Lost or Confused, Ask

5: Be Yourself: Not Me, Not Him, Not Her

6: About Your Parents...

7: Homesickness: Breathe Deep, It's in the Air

8: Technology: The Fifth Wall

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 2

Residence Halls: Living, Eating, and Bathing with Hundreds of Strangers

9: Residence Halls: A Cruise without the Water

10: Meet People without Even Trying

11: Resident Assistants: Your Personal Assistant

12: Not All Residence Halls Are Created Equal

13: The Ugly Side of Residential Life

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 3

Roommates: Good Ones, Bad Ones, and Everything in Between

14: The Ultimate Roommate Rule

15: The Random Roommate

16: The Naked Roommate

17: The Best Friend Roommate

18: The Gay, Lesbian, or Bisexual Roommate (pick one)

19: The Noisy, Naughty, and/or Nasty Roommate

19.99: The Masturbating Roommate

20: The Your-Girlfriend/Boyfriend-Doesn't-Live-Here Roommate

21: The Lying, Stealing, Klepto Roommate

22: The Drunk and/or High Roommate

23: The Roommate in Need

Harlan's Tip Sheet

A Break to Warn You about Holiday Break

Chapter 4

Finding Friends: Your Social or Antisocial College Life

24: The Snow Globe Factor

25: Shopping for New Friends

26: Why College Friends Are Different

27: Friend Today, Gone Tomorrow

28: High School Friends, Cows, and Cats

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 5

Getting Involved on Campus: An All-You-Can-Do Buffet

29: Getting Involved: What, Where, When, How, and Why (but not in that order)

30: Clubs and Organizations: A Smorgasbord of Opportunity

31: Sports and Athletics: Buckets of College Sweat

32: Academic Organizations: Where Smart People Gather

33: Religious Activities: Your Prayers Answered and the Culture Club (not Boy George)

34: The Perks: Travel and See the World for Free

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 6: Greek Life: Behind the Doors, Windows, and Walls of Fraternity and Sorority Life

35: Greek Life: Getting In

36: Greek Life: The Good

37: Greek Life: The Bad

38: Greek Life: The Ugly

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 7 Life Inside the Classroom: Assuming You Wake Up and Go to Class

39: To Go or Not to Go

40: Nice Professor, Nice Professor

41: How to Get an A (or almost an A)

42: How to Just Pass

43: How to Fail

44: The Cheat Sheet

45: The Art of Reading (or not reading) the College Textbook

46: Take Notes Here

47: Do It in a Group

48: Old Exams, Sharing Notes, and Mostly Legal Ways to Pass

49: The Major Issue: Picking One

50: Advice on Your Advisor

51: Pick a Number, Any Number

52: Time for Time Management

53: Wine Tasting, Bowling, and Other Important Electives

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 8

Dating and Relationships: Your Higher Education in Lust, Love, and Loss

54: The Rules of College Love (or just lust)

55: The College Hookup

56: Close-Distance Relationships

57: Long-Distance Relationships (LDRs)

58: High School Bitter Sweethearts

59: Imaginary Relationships and Online Dating

60: The Friendly Relationship

61: Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual Relationships

62: Cheaters, Users, and Abusers

63: I Have No Life Other Than My Relationship

64: I Got Dumped and No Longer Have a Relationship

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 9

Sex: Having It, Not Having It, Hearing Other People Having It

65: Deciding to Do It

66: Deciding Not to Do It

67: Doing It Way Too Much

68: The One-Night Stand

69: Pimps, Hos, and Reputations

70: Sexual Souvenirs

71: The U of Birth Control

72: Possibly Pregnant

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 10

Drinking on Campus: Tapping the Keg of Truth

73: Drinking on Campus

74: Slow Down, Don't Drink Too Fast

75: Not Everyone Is Drinking

76: The Social Lubricant

77: Safer Unsafe Sex and Alcohol

78: Sexual Assault and Alcohol

79: Don't Be So Stupid That You Accidentally Kill Yourself

80: Drinking and Driving

81: Still Hungover...

82: You Might Be an Alcoholic If

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 11

Drugs on Campus: The Smoking, Snorting, and Pill-Popping Truth

83: About Drugs on Campus

84: How to Avoid Them

85: Why Not to Do Drugs

86: Just Don't Accidentally Die

87: College Smoking Butts

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 12

Money, Laundry, and Cheap Eats: Assuming You Have Enough Money to Eat and Do Laundry

88: Loans, Grants, Scholarships, and Loose Change

89: Your Financial Aid Advisor: Money, Money, Money, Monnnnneeey

90: Part-Time Jobs, Big-Time Benefits

91: The Credit Card and the $600 Candy Bar

92: Bad Checks, Bad Credit, and Bad Ideas...

93: Checking Out the College Checking Account

94: Sorry, This Book Is Now "Used"

95: Cheap Strategies for Eating (or barely eating)

96: Laundry Tips: This Page Is Not Fabric Softener

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 13

Things Not Mentioned in the College Brochure: What They Don't Tell You

97: The Freshman 15...Or, Um, 45

98: The Student Body Image

99: Exposing the College Eating Disorder

100: Depression and Other Major Mental Health Issues

101: Sexual Assault

102: To Transfer or Not to Transfer

103: Safe, Schmafe

104: Commuting? Words to Take with You

104.1: Community College: A Smart and Less Expensive Road

105: Diversity: Sexual, Religious, Racial-It's All Good

Harlan's Tip Sheet

Chapter 14

College: A Higher Education: It's Almost Time to Say Good-bye

106: The U of No Regrets

107: Your Tip Goes Here

Naked Bonus: Naked Blog Entries

The Naked Rear End

About the Naked Author

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    Useful book for anyone starting college

    Useful book for anyone starting college

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    It's the #1 book on college life for good reason. Love this book

    It's the #1 book on college life for good reason. Love this book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 11, 2013

    Are updates worth it? What I'd really like to know is how mean

    Are updates worth it?

    What I'd really like to know is how meaningful the updates are in the new edition. If I can get the 2011 version for 3 bucks, what's so important about the changes to make it worth my while to spend 4 or 5 times as much for the 2013 version? Some specifics would be nice.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2013

    Great boook

    It os a great bppk olove all the parys and o thonk it os a great guide to collegde

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013


    Great and funny

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013



    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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