Starting out at a new place is tough… college is no exception.
If you’re reading this, you may already be freaking out… not only about how you’re going to pass your classes, but also how you’re going to make friends and start building your professional network.
But, trust me on this: everyone else is just as nervous, and making friends should not be one of your worries!
No matter how quirky and awkward you think you are, college is a pool of people from all different walks of life! You are sure to find the type of friends you mesh well with, and they will definitive make your college experience much more enjoyable!
Using the following tips and mindset will help to speed up this process and start your college experience off with tons of new friends!
7 Tips To Make Friends in College!
1. Before classes start, check social media for friends in “new freshmen” groups.
Most colleges will have a Facebook page dedicated to the incoming freshman class that gets started months before classes start.
Taking advantage of this space will, not only, help find a possible roommate, but it will also give you a chance to meet and talk to your future classmates–i.e. the perfect place to make new friends!
Making friends is as easy as browsing through other student’s posts and commenting when one speaks to you, or dropping a post of your own. These pages are often filled with people making plans to hang out during the first few weeks, and will give you a chance to jump right into the college social scene with a group of new friends by your side.
If you’re not sure what to put, try something like this:
“Hi I’m _____! I will be majoring in _____. I’m from ______, so if any of you live near me we should definitely grab coffee and meet up before we make the move to college!”
You can also add any other facts about yourself to make yourself stand out and inspire other future students who share your passions!
If you see a post from a student and you would want to get to know better, you have two main options for reaching out. You could comment on their post (something a lot of people would view as a safer option), or direct message them by saying, “Hey, I saw your post and think we could be great friends!”
My freshman year roommate, and now best friend, reached out to me on instagram saying “After looking at your instagram, it appears you love your dog as much as I love mine, haha!” From that simple message… our friendship blossomed.
This site is also handy when deciding between a few schools to attend! You can see what types of people will be in your class and use that information to help you decide where you will be happiest!
2.Make friends with the people on your floor.
I cannot stress this point enough!
You are going to see these people often… Why not befriend them so that passing them in the hall is not an awkward interaction?
Leaving your door open will allow people to stop by and introduce themselves, but don’t stop there! Make a point to do the same with other rooms. This is one of the easiest ways to make new friends!
It’s as easy as…
“Hi! I’m _____, I just wanted to introduce myself! I’ll be living in room ___.”
This point is so important to me because this is literally how I met my closest friends during my freshman year.
My roommates and I worked up the courage to stop by the room next to ours and strike up a conversation the night after we moved in. After a little awkward back and forth, we all ended up playing cards against humanity until 3am! People passing by saw us playing, and even asked if they could join us… which added to our friend group even more!
Of course, it will feel like an awkward small talk… but that is OK!
Feel out the situation, and if you like the vibes you’re getting from the other person/people, ask to exchange contact information so that you guys could all study or hang out sometime to further the friendship along!
3.Go to university sanctioned events to meet new friends
Chances are, your school already has activities planned for first-year and new students. Make friends by taking advantage of these!
These events can also help you find extracurricular activities and clubs you can join–great places to meet new friends!
This article by USA today stresses this point and gives tips on how to act at these events, to maximize the friendships you make.
“No matter which college you go to, there will be people who share your interests and personality. It is important that you let your personality shine through so that your friends will be drawn to who you are as a person.” – USA Today
A lot of colleges will have an event specifically for finding clubs to join, which is a great place to find like minded friends!
These events are usually targeted at freshmen, but I definitely went again my second year of college, because I wanted to expand my own friend group.
I know so many people who blew these off because they were either “too cool” for that or because they were nervous about not knowing anybody.
Embrace being an awkward freshman!
You only get one year to be a freshman in college, so why not take advantage of that and make memories you will remember for the rest of your life?!
If nervousness is keeping you away, just remind yourself: everyone is feeling that way… some people are just better at hiding it.
This point is definitely something I struggled with, but I’m so glad I didn’t let that keep me from making friends.
If you know this is a fear, use the social media groups before school starts to find friends who can go with you.
If you straight up ask, “Who wants to go with me to _____?” a lot of the other students who share in your anxiety will reach out, and may even be thankful to have found a friend who will join them.
4.Find friends in clubs, intramurals, and/or greek life
Going hand in hand with the last point, a great place to make friends is joining an extracurricular group.
Clubs are a great place to find friends who think like you and share your passions. It’s easy because you will already have something to break the ice–the reason you were interested in the club.
A rule of thumb, when joining clubs, try to have at least one professional club and one fun club.
- A professional club will allow you to make friends with people who will be in your classes. You can even plan study dates with these friends, something everyone in college can benefit from!
- A fun club will help you to find friends who you can go out with. These are more likely to be the friends you go to movies, dinners, coffee, concerts, parties, etc.
Another place to make friends is within intramural sports.
Obviously, if you are not interested in partaking in a sport, then you probably won’t be able to make friendships that will last, but if you love exercising and competition, then you will be more likely to find lasting friendship in intramurals.
Finally, you could go Greek to make friends!
So many people who I’ve talked to who are a part of Greek life say they love it and all of their closest friends have come from being in a frat or a sorority.
This is because there are so many sanctioned social events you attend.
Going greek is a tried and true method of building strong friendships fast, so if you have to means to do so, definitely rush some of the various frats and sororities that best fit you!
5. Utilize the beginning of the semester/quarter awkwardness to make friends in classes
Most of the time, students pick their classes to best fit their needs before they pick classes to make sure they are surrounded by their friends.
This means that a lot of your peers may not know people in the class very well either. This is the perfect opportunity to swoop in and make new friends.
Getting to class early (at least on the first day) is an important practice to follow for multiple reasons, but when trying to make friends it allows you to have the opportunity to introduce yourself to peers as they enter the class.
As people sit by you, say something about how you know you’ll need to study a lot for this class. The typical response to this would be some variation of “same,” so you can make plans to study with them, which can bud into friendship.
6.Make friends at on campus facilities
Lots of colleges have gyms, volleyball courts, and pools that are open to students to use.
Often times, when I would play volleyball with a friend or two, someone would come up to us and ask to play.
We always would say yes, and would even exchange Snapchat’s or other social media to stay in touch, then invite them to come to play with us the next time.
I can relate to being nervous to go up to a group of established friends, but I never got mad or annoyed when people asked to play with my friends and me.
Also, if someone is annoyed that someone asked to join them, then you really wouldn’t want to be friends with them anyway (I know this is better said than believed, but it is so so true).
Another on campus place to make friends is in the dining hall. Very few people enjoy eating alone in public, so just going up to a group of one or two people and asking to join them is more often than not going to be welcomed.
Doing this (especially later on on the school year), can be one of the most intimidating things on this list, so here is a guideline on how to make a friend over dinner:
- Start by asking the simple question, “Hey is anyone sitting here?”/ “Hey do you mind if I sit here?” You will likely be told that you can sit there, but if for some reason you’re told no, just say something along the lines of, “Okay that’s fine. Have a nice day!”
- After you sit down, introduce yourself and ask what the other person’s name/major/hometown/etc is.
- Try to keep the conversation going by using open ended questions. Ask things like “Why did you choose that major?” “What do you want to do after college?” “Do you miss home at all?” etc. Just try your best to make up questions that flow well with the answers to question 2.
- If your possible new friend is being quiet and giving short answers, try to feel out the situation and assess if they might just be a quiet, introverted, or shy person. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to answer your own questions to help keep the conversation going. You’re not the only one nervous about making friends and meeting new people.
- In general, try to keep the conversation upbeat and positive. You want your new friend to leave dinner in a good mood because this will make them associate you with good feelings and want to see you again.
7.Understand that you might not meet your lifelong best friend/soulmate right off the bat and that is OK.
Many movies and television shows make it seem like you will meet your best friend and/or soulmate on the first day of college. Believing that this is the only way it can go will most likely lead to disappointment and feeling like you’ve failed at making friends.
While this is not an impossible scenario, it is so much more likely that the first few friends you make you will rarely interact with in the future. You just have to keep putting yourself out there!
Keep meeting as many new people as you can so that you can find “your people”.
If you really try to think back to how you and your high school friends met, you probably can’t nail it down to a specific incident; it kind of just happened.
For more information on how to be patient and keep putting yourself out there to make quality friends, check out this article.
College is an exciting time. Making new friends and connections should be the least of your worries.
Follow my top 7 tips to make friends in college, enhance your experience, and find the community you deserve!
- Tip #1: Before classes start, check social media for friends in “new freshmen” groups
- Tip #2: Make friends with the people on your floor
- Tip #3: Go to university-sanctioned events to meet new friends
- Tip #4: Find friends in clubs, intramurals, and/or greek life
- Tip #5: Utilize the beginning of the semester/quarter awkwardness to make friends in classes
- Tip #6: Make friends at on-campus facilities
- Tip #7: Understand that you might not (read: “you almost certainly will not”) meet your lifelong best friend/soulmate right off the bat and that is OK.
What do you think? Do you have any tips you would like to add?
Please let me know in the comments below!