When was the last time you had to make an effort to make friends? Like, really make an effort? In high school, it’s most likely that you’ve been friends with the same crew for a few years now at least, and the thought of starting over in the Fall has you nervous about how to make friends in college. That feeling is completely normal, and we’ve got some time-proven tips for you to help make the transition easier.
How To Make Friends in College
1. Get to Know Your Roommate
First things first: you do not have to be best friends with your roommate. But it is a good idea that you get along, and in the beginning, having someone to go to events with is a huge plus in having a roommate. If you can, reach out to your roomie before the school year even starts so you can coordinate furniture and items that you’ll be bringing to the room.
Then invite your roommate to any on-campus events that are taking place in the first semester. Most schools always have several back-to-school events taking place on campus when you first arrive geared towards helping freshmen incorporate well and feel welcomed. With your roommate tagging along, you do not have to go to these events alone, and having someone there that you know, even if barely, will help you feel more comfortable and approachable.
As the school year progresses, don’t be afraid of tagging along with your roommate’s new friends to a social outing, either (if the group seems like people you could get along with, of course). You never know when your new best friend could be hanging out in a different friend group until you join in.
2. Hang Out in Public Common Areas
If you’re living in a dorm, odds are that there will be some kind of common area where you can study and hang out that’s not in your room with the door closed. Take advantage of these open spaces to strike up conversations with other studiers hanging about. This concept won’t work super well in the library, however, as most people keep to themselves in the library and the environment is very quiet and doesn’t encourage talking.
If you’re living off-campus, try studying in a cafe on campus or even setting up in a grassy area on the quad before running home after class each day. That way, you’ll be in the vicinity if a game of Frisbee starts up or if someone sees you studying for the same class. It’s hard to get to know people if you aren’t where they are!
Another great spot is the dining hall, especially during breakfast where there are fewer students and more of a chance to sit down with a person also studying. This works out better than lunch or dinner time, as most students will sit in larger groups during those meals.
If you find yourself without someone to sit with during any mealtime, just have a seat at the edge of a group or at the middle of a table so a group can form around you. But make sure you appear ready to join in the discussion: if you have headphones in or you’re buried in a book and don’t even look up when others sit down, people will be less likely to try to engage you in conversation.
3. Put Together a Study Group
You’ll be spending over 500 hours on average in class during your first year of college. That’s a lot of time around fellow students who are studying the exact same thing as you. Don’t be afraid to speak up after class to the students sitting around you about a study group before the next big exam. Even if one person agrees the first time, it will set you both up to have the study group again before the next exam.
Starting a study group this early in your college career can also be beneficial for the next several years. Most likely these students will need the same general education courses that you will, so you can keep the same study group for a while.
4. Get Involved in Clubs and Extracurriculars
This is the tip that you’ll get from everybody and your grandmother – because it really works. While in high school you maybe could get by just being in the band or playing on the soccer team, college doesn’t provide as much downtime with your classmates where you can get to know each other. Most students scurry off as soon as class is over, meaning you’ll have to be a bit more intentional about trying to seek out friendships.
Colleges provide a plethora of clubs, organizations, societies, sports teams, and more for you to participate in, all depending on your interests. Try getting to know the campus Greek life to see if a particular sorority or fraternity might be right for you. Head out with the hiking group on a Saturday to explore the surrounding area and get to know some upperclassmen. Volunteer for the entertainment committee and help bring concerts to the school The options are endless.
5. Consider a Campus Job
I know, the last thing you expect when it comes to how to make friends in college is something that will take up even more of your time. BUT if you are only going to school part-time or you’re commuting from home, taking a job on campus will put you in the path of other students for sure.
Most campuses offer a variety of jobs for students, and it can even be included as a part of your financial aid package – or some extra pocket money. Being known as the guy at the library or the girl at the dorm sign-in desk will get you out there and talking with other students, both on the job and off.
Worried About More Than Just Making Friends?
Sometimes worrying about how to make friends in college is just the icing on the cake when it comes to your college worries. Still biting your nails over scholarships, majors, or even what college to choose? A college and career and advisor can help. Write to us today with your worries to take a step towards a fun and stress-free college journey.