"As much as I understand the impulse that drives parents to do this, there is an element of 'helicopter parenting' here," she said. "These parents have to face the fact that their child is leaving home and they have to let go. Instead of being overprotective, parents should bolster their child's confidence by saying, 'Look, I believe in you and I think you can handle living with someone with different values.'"
Murphy said she learned some parents are asking colleges to weed out roommates by code.
"One of the most disturbing things I heard from college housing administrators is the code some parents use when asking to switch their child's roommate. They don't want a 'financial aid' student, which may be code for a student of a different race or economic background," she said.
"Parents must remember that one of the most important things about the college experience is the opportunity to meet new people, from different backgrounds. Facebook information should not be used as a veil for prejudice and discrimination."
But even if a child arrives on campus and doesn't like a roommate, he or she can still make changes.
"I know of no school that won't allow students to change roommates," Murphy said. "Some will do it at three weeks. Others require the students to stay for as long as a semester. But if the situation isn't working, students can make a change. "