25 Tips for Making Friends in College

by Ryan Carter on August 23, 2017

Making friends in college can sometimes feel overwhelming, whether you're getting ready to start classes for the first time or whether you're enrolled in a new semester of classes and don't know any of your new classmates.

Fortunately, since college communities are constantly changing—new students are coming in, students are coming back from being abroad, new classes are starting, new clubs are forming—meeting people and making friends is simply part of the normal routine. If you're not sure where exactly to start, however, try any (or all!) of these ideas.

Get Out Of Your Room!
This is perhaps the simplest, easiest, and most basic way of all to make friends during your time in school. Is it okay to spend some quiet time in your room, taking a break from the campus chaos and focusing on your academics? Of course. But plain and simple, you'll need to step outside of that little safety zone if you're going to find and make friends.

Start Up A Conversation With At Least One New Person Each Day.
It can be in the morning; it can be before class starts; it can be late at night. But trying to talk to one new person each day can be a great way to meet people and, ultimately, make friends with at least some of them.

Introduce Yourself Every Time You Sit Down Next To Someone You Don't Know.
Sure, it might be awkward for the first 5 seconds, but taking that initial leap of faith can do wonders for starting friendships. You never know when you're first going to talk to an old friend, right?

Get An On-Campus Job.
In addition to providing professional experience, networking opportunities, and cash, an on-campus job can provide another major benefit: an opportunity to meet people and form friendships. If you're particularly interested in connecting with others, apply for jobs that involve interacting with people all day long (in contrast to, say, working in a research lab or restocking shelves in the library).

Do Your Homework/Study In The Oval.
It can be very easy to spend a lot of your day inside: inside your residence hall or apartment, inside your room studying, inside eating, inside classrooms and lecture halls, inside labs and libraries. Head outside for some fresh air, some sunshine, and hopefully some conversations with others looking to do the same.

Join A Cultural Club.
Whether you join a cultural club because of your own cultural background or join one because you've always been interested in a certain culture, it doesn't matter; both reasons are valid, and both can be a great way to meet people.

Join An Intramural Sports Team.
One of the best reasons to join an intramural sports team is that you don't have to be skilled (or even good); these kinds of teams play just for fun. Consequently, they're a natural place to form and build friendships with your teammates.

Start A Pick-Up League On Campus.
Sports and physical activity don't have to be complicated. Starting a pick-up league can be super easy. Send out a message, asking those people interested in joining games to meet at a certain place on a Saturday afternoon. Once folks show up, you'll have some new exercise partners and perhaps even some new friends in the process.

Do Your Homework In A Campus Coffee Shop.
It can be really challenging to meet people if you're seemingly always in your room studying. Consequently, doing your homework in a busy coffee shop can provide you with a change of scenery as well as endless opportunities to strike up conversations (and, perhaps, friendships in the process).

Without even realizing it, you can get stuck in a bubble of sorts during your time in college. Volunteering can be a great way to refocus your priorities, get a break from the chaos of school, meet new people—and, of course, make a difference in your community. Ask around to find volunteer projects that let you stay on campus where you'll undoubtedly end up meeting other student volunteers who can quickly become friends, too.

Sign Up For An Exercise Class.
For some people, having a scheduled class is the only way they'll stick to a regular exercise routine. For other students, if they're going to make the effort to go to a class—even an exercise class—they're going to want to get credit for it. And while one- or two-credit exercise classes have more obligations than traditional exercise classes, they also can be a great way to meet people with similar priorities and interests.

Head To The Office Of Student Engagement To See What's Going On.
It may sound silly at first, but the office on your campus that coordinates student clubs and organizations is a beehive of activity. There are always students coming and going, and activities being planned. And usually, too, these offices are looking for more people to help. It's totally okay to walk in and ask how you can get involved. Chances are, by the time you leave, you'll have more opportunities for involvement—and friendship—than you know what to do with.

Go To A Campus Event At Least Once A Week.
Students can often find themselves stuck in between feeling like there's nothing going on and feeling like there is a ton going on but none of it is for them. Instead of being stuck with this tension, see if you can step outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. Challenge yourself to go to a campus event you know nothing about at least once a week. You might be surprised at what you learn—and whom you meet along the way.

Join A Club For People In Your Major.
There are nearly always academic clubs on campus that focus on interests (like a Pre-Med Club) or performance (like Mortar Board), but there may not be one specifically for, say, English majors. Consider starting a club that is social in nature but targeted to students in your particular program. You can share tips on professors, classes, assignments, and job opportunities while forming friendships along the way.

Join A Performance-Based Club.
If you love performing dance, theater, or any other art, join a club or organization that performs for your campus or surrounding community. Even if you're majoring in something other than your performance passion, you can still incorporate it into your college experience and find some like-minded friends along the way.

Get Involved With A Campus Theater.
It takes more than just the actors to make a production run. And theaters are great places to meet a lot of other people. Whether you're working in the box office or volunteering as a set designer, see how you can get connected to the theater community.

Do Something At A Campus Athletic Center.
Similar to the campus theater, athletic centers require a lot of behind-the-scenes folks to make things runs smoothly. You can be a marketing intern; you can help organize major events; you can pretty much do anything if you look into it. And while learning about how athletic centers work, you can make some friends along the way.

Form A Study Group.
There are a lot of benefits to study groups—most notably, of course, academic ones. Sometimes, though, if you can find a group of folks with whom you really connect, you can form friendships along the way. And what's not to like about that?

Talk To Every Person in Your Residence Hall At Least Once.
This might seem simple at first but is probably a little more challenging than you'd expect. Whether you're in a small hall or a humongous apartment building, there are likely people you haven't met yet. Challenge yourself to talk to every resident at least once. If nothing else, you'll connect yourself to an entire community and help plant the seeds for organic friendships to start.

Write For A Campus Magazine Or Blog.
Even if you view writing as a solo activity, when you write for a campus magazine or blog, you're most often part of a staff. Which, of course, means that you'll get to interact with folks during planning meetings, staff meetings, and other group events. And all that collaboration is sure to lead to some friendships along the way.

Find A Mentor Or Tutor.
It's an unusual student who can make it through his or her college experience without needing some kind of mentoring or tutoring. Sometimes those relationships are informal—say, having your sorority sister help you understand complicated Japanese Painting homework —or formal. If you want to add more friends to your circle, consider seeking out an official mentor or tutor.

Run For Student Government.
Contrary to, say, high school, you don't need to be popular to run for student government. But you do need to have a genuine interest to represent the needs of your fellow students and serve as a proactive, helpful voice. Going out and campaigning can help you meet people and, when you're elected, you'll likely form friendships with your fellow representatives.

Join A Club Or Organization Around Artistic Expression.
Whether you're an experienced poet or someone who would like to get into painting, joining a club of fellow artists can do wonders for your soul. And while you might be taking classes in these subjects, having the freedom to do what you wish—instead of what's assigned—might make you more productive in unexpected ways. And along the way, you might form some great friendships with other students who understand what it's like to be an artist at heart.

Join A Religious Community On Campus.
Some students leave behind religious communities at home that are a big part of their pre-college lives. And while it can be hard to duplicate your back-at-home religious community, there's really no need to; you can simply look to find a religious community to join. See what's available on campus that can help fulfill your need for religious practice and that can also connect you to a religious community.

Join A Fraternity/Sorority.
There are lots of reasons to join a fraternity or sorority, and there's no shame in admitting that making friends is one of them. If you feel like your social circle needs a change or needs to be expanded, look into joining the Greek community.