Niche Resources
Niche Resources
Niche Resources

Here’s How You Actually Make Friends in College

Probably not since kindergarten have you been dropped into an almost entirely new group of peers. Yet it’s about to happen again when you go off to college.

Maybe you’ve had the same group of friends for most of your life and now you’re scattering across the country for college, or perhaps a few of your friends will be nearby, but you’d like to branch out and meet some new people too. Either way, you’re about to encounter a ton of new faces and dive into a completely new social scene, so you may be asking yourself: How will I make new friends?

Whatever the case, the tips below will help you find lifelong friends and make the most of your college experience. And the good news is, making friends in college is much easier than you think!

Mingle in the Dorms

For college freshmen, one of the easiest ways to make friends is in the dorm. Freshmen dorms host events to help new students adjust and get to know each other. You’ll probably have pizza parties, karaoke nights, outings for ice cream, and so on.

Whatever events your dorm hosts, participate! You can also meet people at floor meetings, in the common areas of your dorm, or simply by stopping by their rooms during move-in week and introducing yourself.

During the first few weeks, many people keep their dorm room doors open to indicate that they’re open to socializing with others. Of course, you should only do so if your dorm has appropriate security measures and you feel safe.

Introduce yourself, be friendly to everyone you meet, and be open to participating in social events. You’ll feel much more comfortable and confident in college if you’re friendly with the people in your dorm.

These ideas may sound intimidating, but other freshmen are in the same boat as you: They want to make friends and get to know the people living nearby. Open up just a little, and you’ll see that people are willing to meet you halfway.

5 Surprising Things About Living in Dorms

Get Out of Your Room

Of course, your social life won’t be all about the dorm.

It’s extremely easy to meet people in college as long as you’re willing to leave the comfort of your room.

Eat meals in the dining hall, visit campus coffee shops, head to the library or the gym, join a study group, spend some time relaxing on the quad, and attend events at your school.

Even going to your classes is an excellent way to meet people. Plus, people in your classes likely have similar interests and/or career goals that you can bond over.

Wherever you go, you’ll find that introducing yourself and striking up a conversation with others is easier than you might expect. You can simply ask people where they’re from, what they’re majoring in, or what classes they’re taking.

Since you’re new, you can also ask for some general advice about the college or any questions you may have. When talking to other freshmen, you can talk about adjusting to college life and how your first few weeks are going. If your college has a sports team, that’s always a great conversation starter too.

Speaking of sports, another thing you can do is go cheer on your school’s athletic teams. This is a fun way to get into the school spirit and feel a sense of camaraderie with other students. Plus, it’ll give you something to talk about in class the next day.

Check out our list of schools with the best college athletics

Join Extracurricular Activities

If you thought your high school had a lot of extracurricular offerings, you’ll be blown away in college. Most colleges have a club for everything, including your major, various interests, political parties, cultures, religious groups, raising money for specific charities, and much more.

Colleges also have recreational sports teams you can join for just about every sport, even paintball or Quidditch. When you join a club or sports team, you’ll see the same people on a consistent basis, making it easier to form a friendship.

Another option is to join a fraternity or sorority, where you’re guaranteed to make a lot of friends that you consider brothers or sisters. This route is not for everyone, but browse information on your school’s website or talk to someone who’s already in a fraternity or sorority to see if it’s a good fit for you.

Fraternities and Sororities: The Pros and Cons

Go to your college’s website to read through the many extracurricular options available, and pick some that interest you. By joining clubs, groups, or teams that align with your passions, you’ll meet people that have common interests and are easy to befriend.

Invite People

As you start talking to people, you’ll likely find a few who you click with or would like to know better. Start inviting them places! Again, other people are in the same boat as you, and they’ll likely be thrilled to get an invite somewhere.

You can invite people to join you for:

  • Lunch
  • Coffee
  • A TV show that you both enjoy
  • Running or going to the gym
  • Free food being offered somewhere
  • A concert
  • A party or social gathering
  • Campus events — guest speakers, comedy shows, improv, etc.
  • A game of foosball or air hockey in the lounge
  • A meeting of a club/organization they’d be interested in
  • A sports event/tailgate
  • A study session

Initial getting-to-know-you conversations are great, but spending quality time with other students is how you’ll build friendships.

Say Yes

When other people invite you places, say yes! This is especially true at the beginning, when you’re trying to get out and meet people. Of course, don’t sacrifice sleep and studying. But do be adventurous and willing to try new activities with new people.

If your roommate invites you to a midnight breakfast, go! If someone a few doors down asks who’s up for a comedy show, volunteer to join. And if someone on your intermural soccer team is looking for a running buddy, lace up your running shoes.

Eventually, you’ll figure out what activities and friendships you’re interested in pursuing. But in the first few weeks of college, say “yes” and try a little of everything. It’s the best way to meet people, find your niche, and genuinely enjoy your college experience.

Final Thoughts: Here’s How You Actually Make Friends in College

If you’re worried about making friends in college, relax. In fact, your college years are probably the easiest time to form friendships.

It’s an exciting time for everyone, and people are open to socializing and getting to know their fellow students. And if you felt like it was hard to fit in at your high school, college will be different. There are truly events, activities, and like-minded people for everyone.

During your first few weeks, get to know everyone in your dorm and participate in dorm events. But don’t stop there! Branch out by visiting as many campus locations as possible, including dining halls, libraries, coffee shops, quads, and other popular gathering places.

Check out events, sports, study groups, clubs, and anything else your school has to offer. And wherever you go, don’t be afraid to talk people! Accept and offer invitations, and you’ll be on your way to creating fun memories and lasting friendships.

Looking for the right college? Take our quiz!

Author: Jason Patel

Jason Patel is the founder of Transizion, a college counseling and career services company that provides mentorship and consulting on college applications, college essays, resumes, cover letters, interviews, and finding jobs and internships. Jason’s work has been cited in The Washington Post, BBC, NBC News, Forbes, Fast Company, Bustle, Inc., Fox Business, and other great outlets. Transizion donates a portion of profits to underserved students and veterans in of college prep and career development assistance.