Your social life at school is as important as your grades. A well-rounded experience with good friends by your side will make going to college fun and exciting. But when you start a new school, you may not know how to make friends in college.
Additionally, if you choose to study online, the art of making friends may take different shapes than that of an on-campus experience. However, rest assured that regardless of your situation, there are many ways to make friends while pursuing your higher education degree.
Where Can I Meet Friends?
First things first, when you are starting a new school, or anything in life for that matter, the most important tip is to just be yourself. It’s natural that not everyone will like you all the time, but if you’re yourself, you will attract the type of company you will thrive alongside because you aren’t pretending to be something you’re not.
As far as where to meet friends on a college campus, plus the different ways to do so, here are a few good ideas to try:
1. Do Extracurricular Activities:
Do you like to play sports? Or you love to cook? How about learning languages? Whatever your hobbies are, you can more than likely find a group or class on or around your campus that supports said activity. That way, you can find friends who enjoy the same types of hobbies as you do which will be a natural way to grow the relationship.
2. Attend Campus Events:
Colleges always host events! Whether it be a sporting event, special guest lecture, or Family Day, you should be actively involved in socializing and attending such events. The truth is, most people will be in the same boat as you, and also looking to meet new people. It’s an easy way to break the ice to start a conversation with a potential new friend.
3. Join Campus Organizations:
From Black Student Union to Doctors Without Borders, you can get involved with campus organizations that have their own schedule for meetings and events. That way, you’ll regularly be socializing with the same group of people, se becoming friends will be a natural outcome!
4. Use the Classroom:
Of course, you shouldn’t sit talking to the person next to you while the teacher is teaching, but you can always meet people in class before and after lecture starts. Also, if your campus hosts discussion groups outside of big lectures, that offers a more intimate setting to get to know people in smaller groups.
5. Use the Dorms:
While this is more common for younger students, the dorms are an obvious place to socialize. Not only will you be sharing living quarters and amenities, but you’ll see the same faces in the food halls and hanging out in the common areas. During the first few days of moving in especially, making new friends in dorms is an expected experience.
6. Socialize Online:
Even if you are attending a traditional college, there are many online groups that work in conjunction with campus events and organizations. By joining these groups and keeping up with the news and your peers, you can start conversations with people.
7. Try an Internship:
An internship not only looks amazing on resumes, but it also creates a new place to meet new people. Companies generally have several interns at a time, so you’ll be able to share experiences with people who are going through similar situations as you.
8. Work on Campus:
Whether your goal is to make friends or assist with financial aid through work-study, working on campus means you’ll get acquainted with fellow students regularly. In these situations, it’ll be a common progression that these familiar faces find their way into your circle of friends.
How to Make Friends: Studying Online
Traditional colleges campuses are not for everyone. If you choose a more flexible route, such as online university, you can still make friends in various ways!
1. Online Community Portals:
Most online universities use online community portals to create a place for communication. For example, University of the People, a 100% online and tuition-free accredited American university, uses Yammer. As a part of the Microsoft Suite, Yammer allows students to communicate.
2. Social Media:
Like if you were attending on campus, you can still utilize social media to make new friends. To exemplify, you can join Facebook groups or use Meetup to find people who are interested in similar activities as you.
3. Your Class:
Through online communication and forums, you’ll be working alongside a cohort of peers with whom you can learn from and also establish friendships with.
4. Collaborative Learning Environment:
Online universities have various methods of learning and teaching, but at UoPeople, the pedagogical model requires that students collaborate. With peer-to-peer grading and activities, it’s bound to happen that you’ll begin solid friendships from these interactions.
Common Questions, Answered
1. How can I stay connected to friends from high school?
You may be worried that moving away to college or shifting your schedule may affect your ability to stay close with friends you’ve grown up with. Although it can be a challenge to adjust to a new schedule, meet new friends and still maintain the friendships with your old friends, it’s most definitely possible. A few good ideas to do so: Schedule weekly check-in phone conversations, create messaging groups with friends and send regular updates to one another, or during break times, try to take a trip together!
2. How do I get my friends to want to do things?
Sometimes, you may feel your friends are not taking initiative to get out and do fun activities. This will likely mean that you’ll have to take the “leadership” role and start organizing the events.
3. How do I go from acquaintance to friend?
To take weak connections to the next level, you’ll have to schedule some one-on-one time to get to know each other. Whether it’s setting up a coffee date, going to a gym class together, or taking a walk, communication is the largest factor of being able to move a friendship forward.
The Bottom Line
The truth is that everyone makes and maintains friendships differently based on their unique personality. When you go to college, there are going to be countless ways to make friends, so you just have to choose the best methods that feel most comfortable for you to establish friendships.