5 Ways to Make Friends in College
If you’re like me, then you’re a senior counting down the days until you will--finally!--graduate high school and embark upon the next leg of your life journey. For most of us, if we’re not heading straight for the workforce or getting involved in the military, this next step in life is the big C-word.
So you’ve got your major figured out (or not), and on May 1, you committed to the college at which you’ll study for the next few years. But what about the non-academic side? College is a whole other ballpark for many of us, and there’s a 99.99% chance that every new college freshman knows absolutely no one else in their graduating class, save a roommate.
That brings us to something many prospective college students worry about, whether they voice their concerns or not: How do you make friends in college?
Below are the top five ways I think you can get to know people on campus, compiled from current college freshmen and other prospective students like myself.
Just as they were in high school, clubs and organizations are one of the greatest ways to meet others who share your interests, many of whom may be freshmen like yourself. Most colleges offer clubs and organizations that cater to the diverse interests of their students. Interested in journalism? Most colleges have their own newspaper and need student writers to contribute articles. Passionate about the arts? Many colleges offer things ranging from art clubs and dance troupes to choirs and theater. A lot of universities also offer organizations that are more culture-based than interest-based. These include LGBTQ+ clubs, religious/interfaith organizations, and even clubs catering to specific nationalities. Still not interested in the above? Many colleges even have clubs and organizations organized by major. From biology clubs to accounting societies, there will undoubtedly be a club catering to you--and if there isn’t, there are always options to start your own club, quite possibly attracting like-minded people in the process. Joining clubs and organizations will allow you to surround yourself with people with similar interests and make friends.
You will find Greek life on many campuses in the form of sororities and fraternities. To clear up any misconceptions you may have from popular culture, these organizations are more social than your typical club, not to mention a lot more selective--they don’t just allow anyone to join. Being part of a fraternity and a sorority, however, is considered one of the easiest ways to make friends since you’ll instantly be connected to a large group of people who will fittingly be referred to as your brothers or sisters (depending on whether you join a fraternity or sorority). Many have described Greek life as a home away from home. You can attend events and parties with your brothers/sisters and kindle strong bonds with those in your fraternity/sorority.
Rule the Dorms
For many college students, friendships begin in the dorms. If you plan to commute, this doesn’t apply to you, but those who intend to live on campus will find that their first friend may be their roommate. There certainly are roommate horror stories, but for the most part, your freshman year roommate could turn out to be your first friend. You two will share a room and get to know each other better by living together. As has been recommended by current college freshmen, on your move-in day, you should consider going to every room on your floor (or even just in your hall) and introduce yourself to your neighbors--it may seem awkward at first, but it sure will make it easier to live with these people if you’ve been introduced! Many colleges host events for residents. You can attend these with your roommate, or even by yourself, and meet the people who share the dorms with you.
Find a Buddy
This option is purposefully vague, but it encourages you to step out of your comfort zone and find someone with common interests without the help of a club or organization. Invite someone to do activities that you would normally do alone. Instead of studying alone in the library for an upcoming bio final, why not ask a couple of people from your bio class to join you for a study session? Rather than run alone every morning, why not find a running buddy? You can make good use of your college’s non-academic facilities to make new friends. Many colleges with gyms offer free gym access, so you can invite someone to work out with you if you’re intimidated about going alone. You can invite someone to eat lunch with you at the cafeteria. The point is this: make activities you’d normally do alone a two-person or even a group activity. And there’s no need to be self-conscious or afraid to reach out--everyone else is just as uncomfortable as you are about stepping out of their comfort zone!
Go to Events
This is especially important if you’re a commuter and don’t have access to the events offered only to residents. Some schools have activities geared toward commuters. Even if your school doesn’t, be on the lookout for activities and events taking place. You could go to a concert and make friends with other people who love the music as much as you do. Join an intramural sports team and meet like-minded sports lovers. You could even go to an art show and find people interested in the art there as you are. People go to events for the same primary reason: they want to go. Just as with clubs and organizations, you may find common ground with the people you’ll meet at events and make new friends.
These are just a few of the many ways you as a college freshman could make new friends.
And don’t forget: be yourself! People will be more likely to want to be with you if you’re genuine.