How to Make Friends in College

Kevin Ott
Friends in College

The prospect of building friendships in college can be more intimidating than it was in high school. However, if you focus on your strengths, put yourself out there a little bit, and work to being especially likable, you'll have plenty of college friends in no time.

1. Volunteer to Help Your Dorm Hall's Resident Assistant

If you're living in a dorm, there are many opportunities to lend a helping hand, especially with the RA (aka Resident Assistant). Every hall or floor in a dorm has an RA who is there to help students and plan fun events to help the dorm bond. If you let the RA know you'd like to get involved, you'll be right at the center of the action with many chances to make friends.

2. Returning Students: Help New Students During Move-In Day

All first-year students have move-in day. They park outside the dorm, haul loads of stuff into their rooms, and meet their roommates. Colleges will often recruit second-year students to volunteer to carry things into the dorm for new students. Whether your college has an official process or not, volunteer to help the new kids. It's a great chance to befriend students who are already eager to make new friends.

Move-In Day For New Students

If you're on the other end of move-in day, and you're unloading your stuff into your new dorm room, keep an eye out for the students who are there to help. This is a great opportunity to meet people who are already being friendly. Seize the moment and ask the helpers if there are any fun events on-campus they plan to attend that week - then ask other students moving in if they want to go.

3. Take a Fun Elective

Most universities offer interesting electives such as sailing or the Physics of Star Trek. Many of these unusual classes have fewer students which means you have a golden opportunity to get to know your classmates. In addition, the adventure of sailing or the weirdness of studying phasers from Star Trek will create a unique bond with your peers, which could lead to genuine friendships that continue outside of class.

4. Make 'Nice to Meet You' Business Cards

This might sound silly at first glance, but making personal business cards with contact information like your dorm room number and email, is a fun way to make connections. The goal is not to make it businesslike, but make your card as personable as possible. Fill it with fun facts about yourself: hobbies, your hometown, high school clubs, or sports history, or anything that will make someone say, "Hey, we have something in common!"

5. Have Good Etiquette

Whether it's move-in day or the chaos of finals, try to be courteous. For example, during move-in day, don't spend the entire day shut up in your new room unpacking. Walk around and introduce yourself to everyone. During finals, don't be disruptive to your dorm mates while they're studying and consider offering food to everyone who is studying. A freshly baked batch of brownies can go a long way toward making friends. This video will give you some more great tips.

6. Embrace School Spirit

Whether it's creating elaborate costumes, using body paint or getting involved in events to promote the school, embracing school spirit helps create an easy common ground with other students. Developing a genuine passion and pride in your school and letting that passion open doors to meet other students is one of the most natural ways to make friends in a university setting.

7. Look for Dorm-Centered Study Groups

In many college classes, students will form study groups. Look for these groups or form one yourself. Surviving a class together and studying is a great way to build a bond with others, and it's much easier to become friends with them if they also happen to live in your dormitory.

8. Create Escape-From-College Opportunities for Classmates

If you or someone you know has a car, take the lead in organizing an outing to a fun hang-out spot in your local town. Most university communities have a fun area filled with shops and entertainment. Even if it's simple as planning a trip to the movies, students will appreciate your willingness to give them a chance to escape campus.

Pay Attention to Others

College is challenging for everyone at some point. Always be on the lookout for ways to help others get through their college journey. Focus on being a good friend. If you pay attention to others, genuinely listen to them, and show interest in things they care about, they will likely return the favor.

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How to Make Friends in College