Making friends in college is one of the things incoming freshmen most look forward to! College friends are people you eat with, go to class with, work out with, study with, go out with, and travel with. Basically, you end up spending 99% of your time in college with other people.
In high school, you probably had a small group of tight-knit friends who you did everything with. In college, you have a chance to widen your circle of friends to tens or even hundreds of people.
The key thing to remember is that there are so many people out there. If someone doesn’t seem to want to be your friend, just move on. With thousands of people out there, you’re bound to find some friends who will truly care about you.
Lots of people stay in touch with their college friends for many years after graduation. This is because the of the strong bond you share with the friends you make in college. You will go through so many memorable experiences, good and bad, with your friends at your side.
Now, here are 9 easy ways to make friends in college that you’ll have for the rest of your life.
1. Connect with People Over the Summer
You just got accepted to your dream school and you’re itching to make some new friends. Well, you’re in luck, because there are tons of other people in the same boat.
For just about any school you should be able to find some sort of class group for incoming students. The first thing you should look for is a class Facebook group, although Facebook seems to be dying out with our generation. You can do this by simply searching “[your school] class of [graduation year]” in the Facebook search bar.
GroupMe is now becoming super popular among college students, but it’s a little harder to locate these sorts of private group chats. Sometimes you can find a link on a subreddit for your school, but it’s hit or miss.
Just remember, the way people present themselves online and through social media isn’t necessarily an accurate reflection of who they are in real life. Luckily, just because you were talking to someone over the summer before your freshman year doesn’t mean that you have to be best friends when you get to college.
2. Keep Your Door Open
A good way to meet people in your dorm during the first couple weeks of college is to constantly keep your door open. This signals that you’re in your room and open to people coming in to introduce themselves.
So many of the people I’m still friends with today I met in my dorm in the first few days of college. Having friends in your dorm is great if you want to study together or grab a bite to eat, since they’re so conveniently close by.
Meeting people in your dorm before classes start is helpful so that you have people to sit with at the very beginning. When you meet people in your dorm moving in, ask to compare schedules to see if you have any classes together!
3. Introduce Yourself in Class
Having friends in your classes is super important so you have a way to get notes if you accidentally miss and people to study with. If you don’t have anyone to sit with in the first week of classes, that’s perfectly fine, because it’s super easy to meet people in your classes.
The simplest way to make friends is by introducing yourself to the people sitting around you. Even though seats aren’t assigned, people tend to sit in the same spot every class. So, chances are you’ll be sitting next to the same people all semester. This means you’ll have tons of opportunities to get to know one another, eventually extending your relationship outside of class.
Be sure to get people’s phone numbers so you have a way to reach them outside of class. Start out by asking small questions about homework and assignments and work your way up to studying together.
TIP: If you’re worried about finding someone’s contact later, include the class you have together in their contact info so you won’t forget!
4. Participate in School-Sponsored Activities
Going to school-sponsored events is a great way to meet new people and bond with the people you’re already friends with. This could be anything from a soccer game to a dance thrown by the student council. I remember my school threw a pep rally for our first home football game, which was a great way to show some school spirit with people from my dorm.
Joining clubs is the best way to meet people with similar interests. There will usually be some sort of extracurricular fair for freshmen (and upperclassmen) who are looking to get involved. There is something for everyone, including clubs for specific majors or career fields, service-oriented clubs , and club sports.
5. Say Hi to Your Acquaintances
Once you’ve met a few people—in your classes, in your dorm, or elsewhere—make a habit of saying hi whenever you see them. This doesn’t have to be a full conversation, it could be a simple smile and a “hey” in passing.
Saying hi to people shows that you’re a friendly person. It also reminds someone that you know each other and gives the other person the chance to remember your face. Don’t be offended if you have to reintroduce yourself—you’ll literally meet so many new people in the first few months of college that it would be hard for anyone to keep them all straight!
6. Give Compliments
A great way to make friends in college is by complimenting people. You can compliment anything about people from their outfits to their school accessories to the way they decorated their dorm room.
People love to be complimented as it makes them feel more confident. Giving compliments is the perfect stepping stone between being acquaintances and friends. It will put you on someone’s good side and can even spark further conversation.
7. Invite Invite Invite
Once you’ve introduced yourself to someone, the next step is to invite them to do something outside of your normal interactions. This could be as simple as grabbing coffee after class. Spending a little bit of extra time with someone will allow you both to get to know each other better.
Hanging out with your acquaintances is crucial if you want to turn them into actual friends. Sharing a meal here and there or meeting people when you go out is a great way to squeeze in some bonding time to your busy schedule.
If you’re worried about inviting someone out of the blue to hang out, make it centered around your standard meetings. For example, ask a class friend to plan a study session for an exam, ask a club friend to get dinner before a club meeting, or ask a dorm friend to walk to class together. This is much less scary because it seems like just an extension of the relationship you already have.
8. Meet People Through Others
One of the best ways to quickly make friends in college is by meeting friends of friends. After all, if your friends get along with someone, you probably will have tons in common with them as well.
You never stop meeting new people in college. When you start going the same places and walking the same paths to class, it can feel like you know everyone in the school. But then a new semester will start and you’ll see so many new faces. Even if you have a great group of friends already, you should always stay open to meeting people and making more.
If there are people at your college who went to your same high school, this is a great opportunity to meet a ton of new people. Ask to meet up with them, or even throw a small party if there are multiple people you want to see, and you can all get to know each other’s new college friends.
If you were one of the people who started talking to people over the summer (see step #1), you can also get together with those people and jain a whole bunch of new friends.
9. Be True to Yourself
If you want to make friends in college that last longer than a semester, it’s so important to be true to yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not by conforming to how you think college students behave.
You really should not be worried about having to act a certain way to make friends—there are so many people to meet in college that you’re sure to find a group you fit in with. Everyone is so open to meeting new people in college that you’d have to try really hard to not make any friends.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to be passionate about the things you care about. Just because your friends don’t want to join a club or get involved in something, doesn’t mean you can’t. I definitely was afraid to do anything alone in college for fear of being embarrassed or uncomfortable. However, if you choose to do something “alone”, you’ll connect with so many new people along the way.
By being yourself from the beginning, you’ll make friends who you truly get along with and understand. Plus, your friends will get to know the real you, so they can love you for who you truly are.