How to Make Friends in College

Three Methods:Being ActiveBeing SocialStarting Off on the Right Foot

Whether you're about to start your first day at a small private school or at a large university, making new friends in college can be an intimidating experience. But if you want to make friends in college, all you have to do is remember that everyone is just as nervous and scared as you are and start being social as soon as possible, before social circles start closing down. If you want to know how to make friends in college in no time at all, just follow these steps.

Method 1
Being Active

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    Join a club or two. This is the easiest and most effective way to meet new people with similar interests. Don't be afraid of going by yourself. That is the only way you can get to know people in a personal level, especially in these huge universities. Smaller colleges and community colleges may not have as many clubs, but if they do, they are related mainly to a technical program. During the first weeks everyone is going by themselves. If you are joining late, just remember that most groups will be very happy to show you around. You could try a group relating to your interests, or a totally random club.
    • Check your college website, Facebook profiles, and flyers around the school for when clubs meet and what clubs you can join. You can start your own club too.
    • Most colleges have a club fair on the second or third week of school. Don't be "too cool" to check this out. You'll get a sense of what type of people are in each club just by talking to the representatives at each booth.
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    Join an intramural or club sports team. Sports are a great way to meet new people because you all have a common goal. If you don't like the stress of intercollegiate sports, you can go into inter-murals. You spend a lot of time together practicing and it helps develop teamwork. Most of the time your team does turn into family. If you are not athletic, try going into something like theatre or music.
    • If you were obsessed with your high school tennis team and have joined a club team, you won't have the same level of commitment and team work. Still, you can meet some great friends this way.
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    Get a job. Often, finding a position as a tour guide or a clerk in the bookstore will allow you to form common bonds with your coworkers which could reward you with new friendships, and a little spending money. You can do it outside the college too.
    • Pick a job where a lot of students or people your age are likely to work. If you work at a day care center, you won't meet as many friends as you would at a high-school tutoring center.
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    Take an elective. Electives (especially the ones that are lab based) are a great way to make new friends. If you are interested in music, try taking band or choir, or some music production course. If you have a passion for art, take an art class. If you are interested in athletics, take a bowling or weightlifting class. If you really like health care, take a psychology or biology course. But don't overdo it and try to keep your classes related to your major.
    • You can also pick classes that are more socially-oriented. Classes with a lot of discussion and group work, along with coursework that requires interacting with new people may help. That include communication, sociology, psychology, political science, etc.
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    Don't be too cool for Facebook. This is not the time to be original. If you're not on Facebook, the people you meet are much less likely to remember you, to stay connected with you, and to invite you to their events. With the modern era of the Internet, when you are sitting on here finding out how to make friends in college, add some people in your college or your community -- after you've met them, that is. Join campus groups on Facebook with common interests and you can meet some new friends that way.
    • Being reasonably active on Facebook after you've made a bunch of new Facebook friends will keep you on their radar. Just don't spend more than 15-30 minutes a day on Facebook or you'll be missing out on the time you can spend socializing in the real world.
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    Volunteer. Volunteering at a local soup kitchen or animal shelter, or even at your college, is a great way to meet new people or make friends. It will also look great on your resume and will help you get a job. Volunteering through Circle K or another volunteer organization on campus will make you even more likely to make friends.
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    Consider rushing a fraternity or a sorority. Joining Greek life is definitely not for everybody, but don't knock it until you try it. On some college campuses, Greek life is a major part of the social scene, and you can be missing out on a major opportunity to make lifelong friends just because you're skeptical of the rush process. On other campuses, Greek life only makes up a small minority of student activities -- still, it could be a fantastic way to make friends.
    • Greek rush is about meeting people that you click with, which is basically like speed friend-dating. If you get the wrong vibe from a sorority, no one will force you to join it.
    • Even if you don't end up landing in the sorority or fraternity of your dreams, you can make a lot of great friends through the rushing process.

Method 2
Being Social

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    Go to events. There's nothing like a good football game to build camaraderie. If football isn't your thing, there are usually poetry readings, concerts, art shows, dances, contests, or other events around campus. Asking people about local events is a useful conversation starter. But hey, if football isn't your thing and you go to Ohio State or University of Michigan, you should probably go to a game or two to see what the hubbub is about. It's not just about the game -- it's about the social experience.
    • Go to something completely fun or ridiculous, like a magic show or a belly-dancing contest. Step out of your comfort zone and see who you'll meet in the process.
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    Talk to people. You can't make many new friends while sitting in a dark corner of the library unless there are other people just like you sitting in the dark corner of the library. Ask people who take classes with you questions about the material covered. Even if you don't have a question, classwork is a great icebreaker. Other great conversation starters are upcoming events and holidays/vacations, sports, food, music, etc.
    • When you talk to a new person, remember his or her name. Use it the next time you meet, and the person will be impressed.
    • State the obvious too. Usually when you are eating, you talk about food and if you hear music, you automatically talk about music.
    • When you meet someone new, tell them one thing to remember you by. You're the girl who is a triplet, or who has a pet snake. Make them remember you.
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    Don't do your homework in your dorm room or apartment. Most dorms have a lounge or common area where you can work instead. When you must be in your dorm for studying, leave the door open. Try to put a TV on or some music to attract more people into your dorm. If you're an outdoors person, go outside to work. While you may not enjoy the same level of privacy, people will approach you in time.
    • Try studying on other parts of campus, too. The campus has many common areas where you can study and congregate.
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    Go to parties. These will be scary at first (loud music, drunk seniors, etc.), but eventually, you will find your groove. College is about having a good time (as well as getting your degree) so have some fun! If you are not the type to go to the hardcore parties, a school or community dance might help too. You can also have small quiet parties if you are not into these big frat parties such as having a movie night, slumber party, or sports party.
    • Just stay safe and go with a group. In the first few weeks of school, people travel in packs of people usually from their dorm rooms. Try not to get separated from them too much -- keep a buddy system going with one friend, at least.
    • Embrace the theme. If a party has a theme, dress up. Don't be a stick in the mud.
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    Check out events in your town. Most students get completely wrapped up in their college campus and forget to check in with the outside world from time to time. If you're at a smaller school, you can meet people off campus and in the community. Check out events like movies, the mall, bowling, festivals, fairs, local shows and concerts, and even go shopping at bit. This is a great way to meet people of all ages, not just college students.
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    Take advantage of any previous acquaintances. Maybe you're going to college with a girl you knew from math class, or with your second cousin's best friend. Treat these people as valuable resources, even if you don't have so much in common. This will make it easier and your acquaintances will more likely have friends that are like you. You can hang out with your old buddies from high school, but be sure to make sure you get out of your nest and meet new people too.
    • And you never know -- your old acquaintance can turn in to a best friend.
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    Be approachable. Part of being social is making it easy for people to walk up and start a conversation with you. Try to look available instead of furiously tapping into your iPhone or walking to your class so quickly that you can't stop and smell the (conversational) roses. Be nice to other people, open doors for people, help them with their homework. These small things will help you a long way.
    • Really, just taking the time to smile at people you don't know will make them much more likely to go up and talk to you.

Method 3
Starting Off on the Right Foot

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    Try to make friends before school starts. Some colleges offer a variety of activities before fall classes start. This could be a week-long trip spent volunteering in the area, or a camping trip where you and your future classmates would form bonds that could last forever. Your school may also have local incoming freshman meet-ups in your area in the spring before school starts; go to these with a big smile on your face. Though this kind of thing may sound corny, or like doing more work before school, it will definitely pay off when it comes to making friends.
    • You may not meet your new best friend at these events, but you're likely to meet a few people that you can hang out with who will make you feel less afraid of socializing. And the more people you know, the more likely you are to meet someone you really like.
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    Start socializing immediately. When you get to college, everyone will be incredibly friendly, eager to shake your hand and ask for your number, and to talk openly about their high school experience and college plans. This is absolutely a fact: for the first few weeks of school. If you spend those first few weeks being homesick, calling your best friend, or generally engaging antisocial behavior, you will miss your chance to randomly introduce yourself to people in the cafeteria, in your class, or in your dorm.
    • If you wait too long, people will start listening to their iPods, drifting into their set groups of friends, and closing their doors to new people. This may sound harsh, but that's the way it goes.
    • When you meet a new person, don't be afraid to ask for his or her number, whether it's a potential friend or love interest. In the beginning, this is completely socially acceptable and won't come off as creepy.
    • When you meet new people, it's also a good idea to make plans with them. Say, "Hey, are you going to that party tonight?" or "Are you checking out the a cappella show too?" Finding something cool to do will make people more likely to agree to hang out.
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    Ditch the long-distance relationship. Though about 1 in 1,000 college long-distance relationships have proven to last, it's just not worth it for you to keep up this charade. You're only 18, or 22 at most, and you should spend this time meeting new people, exploring your options, and spending your time outside your dorm room -- not on the phone with your boyfriend who is all the way up in Michigan, planning your fourth visit of the month. Nothing will isolate you from your potential friends or make you feel lonely faster.
    • You don't have to meet the love of your life in your college -- heck, you probably won't -- but closing yourself off before you begin the search is guaranteed to make you more antisocial.
    • If you really are devoted to your long-distance relationship, make sure to keep your phone conversations relatively brief and to plan as few visits during the first few months of college as possible.
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    Branch out from your roommates if you don't really click. Sure, your roommate seems kind of normal and is pretty nice. Does that mean you should spend the next four years glued to this person? Probably not. Your roommate is a great person to hang out with for the first few weeks of school, and who can help you meet some new people. But if you just have the sense that you're not friend soul mates, stop using your roommate as a crutch.
    • You don't have to ditch your roommate completely. Just be prepared to go out and do your own thing instead of following him around.
    • Sometimes, it's better if you and your roommate have a friendly, but not too close relationship. This can help avoid future awkwardness if you start having issues about living together.
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    Find a friend who is even more social than you. Your college will be filled with an endless variety of people. Some of them will be shy, and others will be about as shy as Justin Bieber. You should find a balance of friends, of course, but you should pick out at least one person, or even a few people, who have really great social skills, are excited to meet knew people, and are always up to something exciting.
    • This will maximize your chances of meeting as many people as possible -- and of finding the few people who really matter to you.
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    Don't humiliate yourself too much. Though college is all about making mistakes and bad decisions and living to regret them, you should try to avoid making a spectacle of yourself -- too much. Have some fun, get crazy, and dance wildly with your friends, but don't be the girl who pukes in the shower or hooks up with three guys on the first night of college. Unfortunately, you will be remembered for your mistakes, not for all of your great qualities.
    • Don't be afraid of stepping out of your comfort zone and trying new things; but do be wary of developing a bad reputation early on.
    • Having sex in college may be glamorized in the movies, but it will have many costs to your success in college, such as the possibility of STDs that could be deadly or getting someone pregnant when you are not ready. If you do, make sure you are well protected and try to do it at your own risk.
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    Don't give up. Freshman year is a major change and many people flip out and give up. Many freshman still haven't left their nest and the transition from being with close friends, siblings, or with their parents to a new environment might be difficult. This usually happen with students that go to college that is far away from home. Don't let this happen to you. It may take an entire year before you really start meeting people. Some college students who are not in sports, music or theatre, or in some technical program don't meet people really well until sophomore and even junior year!
    • Realize that once you have a major targeted (or are in a technical program or trade) and are done with your general classes, you'll find several people who have a similar schedule.
    • This eases the friend-making process tenfold. If you are taking generals, try to have a path too in your major so you can easily meet people with common goals and interests.


  • Be yourself. College students are all in the same boat as you, so you don't have to put on an act. They can find a phony and people don't like phonies. Look at all the "fake thugs" and "fake rednecks" on TV.
  • Don't judge people.
  • If you live close to your hometown, you can still keep in touch with your hometown friends. You can also keep track of them on Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • If you live in a dorm, leave the door to your room open as much as possible. Try to hang in the community room or commons area as much as possible, or hang around at the school.
  • If you are in a community college, the more adult way of making friends is more the way to go. See Make Friends.
  • Don't be a jerk. Nobody likes a bully. Try to make nice complements to people such as "Nice shirt" or "I like your dorm room. Do not say "I don't like the color of your shirt" or "You're ugly." Just remember that if you're a bully, nobody will like you!
  • Good friends are hard to find. Keep 'em when you find 'em.


  • Don't play dumb to try to gain others attention. It will hurt you in the long run.
  • Be cautious if you decide to leave your dorm room door open. People have been known to steal from others during college, so if you do decide to leave your room open for friends, remember to keep everything you wouldn't want stolen locked up well.
  • Don't be annoying. Nobody likes a pest!
  • Don't fall to hazing. If someone asks you to do something illegal, should they really be your friend? This is very common when you are a freshman. Be ready for freshman initiation.
  • Try not to get into drinking if you are underage, illegal drugs, gang activity, illegal gambling, dumb pranks, criminal activity, or unprotected sex. These will change your future very fast.

Article Info

Categories: Campus Life