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11 Helpful Tips for Making Friends in College

Three female friends playing happily

Starting college is an exciting time filled with new experiences. You’ll get to live on your own, take interesting classes, join clubs and so much more. But one of the most rewarding parts of college is the opportunity to make new friends and make lasting friendships.

Having a solid group of friends makes your college experience so much better. You’ll have people to eat meals with, study with, explore campus with, and create memories with. While making friends in college may seem daunting, it just takes putting yourself out there. Follow these tips to meet people and build strong friendships in college:

Get Involved on Campus

One of the best ways of making friends in college is by joining clubs, organizations, and other campus activities. Most colleges have tons of options to choose from like academic clubs, cultural groups, community service organizations, sports teams, Greek life, and more. Attend the club fair at the beginning of the year to get a lay of the land.

  • Join Clubs That Interest You

Think about your hobbies and passions and look for related clubs to join. For example, if you love working with kids, join the education club. If you’re into social justice, join the activist groups on campus. Being part of clubs tied to your interests means you already have something in common with the other members.

  • Attend Meetings Consistently

Go to club meetings regularly so you become a familiar face. Consistency allows you to get to know people better over time through repeated interactions. It also shows you’re committed to the club.

  • Go to Club Activities

Along with attending meetings, be sure to show up for other club events like fundraisers, speakers, and community service projects. These activities help you bond with club members in fun, informal settings.

Make Friends in Class

Along with extracurricular activities, classes provide a great opportunity to connect with peers. While it can be intimidating to put yourself out there, remember that many other freshmen feel the same way.

  • Sit Next to Someone New

On the first day of class, introduce yourself to the person sitting next to you. Ask what their major is, where they’re from, and other getting-to-know-you questions. Exchanging names and numbers makes it easy to reach out later if you need notes or study partners.

  • Form Study Groups

Studying with classmates is an easy way to get to know them better. Ask a few students in your class if they want to form a regular study group. You can quiz each other, review notes, and prepare for exams together.

  • Do Group Projects Together

Many classes require group projects, which is the perfect built-in opportunity to bond with classmates. Get together out of class to work on the project and you’ll quickly get comfortable with each other.

Connect with Dorm Mates

dorm mates catching up

Another way of making friends in college is with the people who live in your residence hall. After all, you’re sharing a bathroom, lounge areas, and overall living space.

  • Keep Your Door Open

When you’re hanging out in your room, leave the door open. People who walk by will feel invited to stop in and chat for a minute. An open door signals you’re friendly and approachable.

  • Attend Dorm Events

Go to activities put on by your resident advisor like movie nights, game tournaments, or study breaks. Mingling with the people on your floor helps you quickly feel at home in your new dorm.

  • Spend Time in Common Areas

Strike up conversations with dorm mates while doing laundry, making a snack in the kitchen, or watching TV in the lounge. Living near each other provides built-in excuses to hang out.

Leverage Social Media

Social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat can help you connect online first before making in-person plans.

  • Follow Classmates You’d Like to Know Better

Did you meet someone interesting on the first day of Psych 101? Search for them on Instagram and follow them. Seeing a familiar face pop up on your feed makes it easier to reach out later.

  • Respond to Classmates’ Stories

When your classmates post Instagram or Snapchat stories, take a minute to view them and respond. Leaving friendly comments like “Looks fun!” or “Yum, that food looks amazing!” opens the door to conversation.

  • Suggest Meeting Up in Person

Once you’ve established an online connection, suggest meeting in real life by commenting “We should grab coffee after class sometime!” Moving from social media to in-person plans is the goal.

Attend Campus Events

Colleges host tons of fun events like concerts, comedy shows, sporting events, guest speakers, and more. Taking advantage of these activities is a great way to bond with fellow students.

  • Go with a Friend

Going to events with a roommate, classmate or other acquaintance takes off some of the pressure. Having a built-in companion gives you someone to sit with and talk to.

  • Chat with Students Around You

If you go to an event alone, chat with the people sitting around you before it starts. Introduce yourself and ask general questions to get a conversation flowing. Talking helps pass the time and makes the event more social.

  • Follow Up Afterwards

If you hit it off with someone at an event, follow up the next day. Send them a message saying, “It was great talking at the game yesterday! We should hang out again soon.” Trying to continue the connection often leads to friendship.

Get a Campus Job

college students working and making friends in college

Working a part-time job on campus provides a consistent way to interact with peers. On-campus jobs are often flexible around class schedules and let you earn extra cash.

  • Work Somewhere Social

Apply to jobs that involve actively engaging with students like working at the information desk, giving campus tours, or swiping meal cards in the cafeteria. Jobs with a social component lead to more friendship opportunities.

  • Chat with Coworkers

Use downtime at work to get to know your coworkers better. Ask about their major, freshman year experience, and life back home. Your shared work experience provides lots to talk about.

  • Attend Staff Activities

If your campus job hosts events for employees, go to them! This could include things like staff breakfasts, volunteering projects, or intramural sports teams. Bonding with coworkers outside of work strengthens friendships.

Join an Intramural Sports Team

Playing on an intramural or rec sports team is a fun way to meet active, sports-minded people. Most colleges offer a wide variety of intramural options like soccer, flag football, volleyball, and more.

  • Try Something New

Instead of sticking to a sport you’ve always played, explore something completely new. Trying a new activity puts everyone on equal footing and builds group camaraderie.

  • Attend Practices

Practicing together is crucial for getting comfortable with teammates. Don’t just show up for games. Attending practices demonstrates your commitment to the team.

  • Socialize After Games

Suggest going out for a snack or meal after games or practices. Win or lose, this is a great time to socialize and continue team bonding.

Be Strategic in the Dining Hall

Eating in the dining hall is a daily activity, so be strategic about who you sit with. Moving around helps you meet different people.

  • Sit with Someone New

Scan the dining hall and look for a friendly or familiar face you haven’t met yet. Ask if you can join them for the meal. Sitting with a new person takes guts but it’s worth it.

  • Start a Conversation

Break the ice by commenting on the food, asking about their day, or complimenting something unique about them. Listen closely and ask questions to keep the conversation balanced.

  • Suggest Hanging Out Later

If the meal is going well, say “I’ve enjoyed talking with you! Want to exchange numbers and maybe hang out later this week?” Making specific plans helps turn a dining hall chat into a budding friendship.

Leave Your Comfort Zone

Making new friends requires putting yourself out there, even when it feels uncomfortable. Moving beyond your comfort zone opens up new possibilities.

  • Say Yes to Invitations

If a classmate invites you to study, go to an event, or grab a meal, say yes! Accepting offers to hang out allows friendships to develop, even if it initially feels nerve-wracking.

  • Strike Up Conversations

Don’t wait for others to approach you. Take the initiative to start conversations in class, around campus, or in dorm common areas. Being proactive about socializing leads to more connections.

  • Join New Activities

Try a campus activity or club that sounds interesting but isn’t something you’d typically do. Testing unfamiliar waters can lead to meeting great new people.

Have a Friendly, Positive Vibe

Lastly, the way you present yourself impacts your ability to make friends in college. Showcasing a positive attitude and warmth draws people in.

  • Smile and Make Eye Contact

Smiling shows you’re open and approachable. Making eye contact demonstrates confidence and interest in others. These simple gestures signal you’re someone worth getting to know.

  • Ask Questions About Others

Conversations shouldn’t just be about you. Ask peers thoughtful questions and listen intently to their responses. People appreciate when others show genuine curiosity about them.

  • Share About Yourself Too

While asking about others, also open up about your own experiences and interests. Share stories, talk about your freshman year, and reveal bits of your personality. Mutual sharing helps friendships grow.

Conclusion

Making new friends in college requires effort but brings huge rewards. Using these tips can help you connect with classmates, dorm mates, and peers with common interests. Building strong social connections enhances your overall college experience. Stay positive as you put yourself out there, and you’ll develop amazing campus friendships that last well beyond your four years at school.

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