You move into your dorm and say goodbye to your family. After setting up your room, you begin to feel homesick and alone. How long does it take to make friends in college? The answer is rooted in the choices that you make. If you begin your quest to meet new people in college with some specific strategies, you are likely to form new relationships that will last forever. Check out these ten ideas for making new friends and having fun in college.
1. Select a Roommate You Don't Know
It may be tempting to choose a friend from high school to room with, but challenge yourself to branch out and share a room with someone that you don’t know. If you want to make friends in college, a roommate that you don’t know sets the opportunity to form a brand new relationship. In the first few weeks of college, you and your roommate will be experiencing college life for the first time.
2. Maximize the Dorm Environment
A dorm is a community in of itself which fosters new friendships. Make an effort to sit or study in the common areas of your building. Keep your dorm room door open as a way to invite people in to say hello. When your residential advisor hosts a floor event, be sure to attend. It won’t take long to become a part of the community if you are welcome to the idea.
3. Immerse Yourself in Events
New student orientation or other welcome events are specifically designed to help students familiarize with the campus and meet new people. Grab your roommate and participate in the activities organized for new students. Even if an outdoor movie or a laser light dance doesn’t sound appealing, attending events will help you meet new people.
4. Get Involved in Campus Life
It won’t take long to make friends in college if you get involved in a student organization. Look for a student involvement fair, in the beginning of the semester, and pick a few organizations to join. Getting involved on campus will help you meet other people with similar interests and add leadership experiences to your resume.
5. Break Bread With Someone New
During your next visit to the cafeteria alone, sit with someone new. Try inviting someone from your dorm floor or a student from one of your classes to eat with you. It might seem awkward at first but you'll meet someone new.
6. Study with Classmates
Forming a study group or asking a classmate to be a study buddy is a great way to make friends in college. You can even take a break from an intense study session by rewarding yourselves with pizza or a movie in the lounge area.
7. Go to Campus Events
There is rarely a shortage of events and activities available to students on a college campus. Ask someone from a class or your dorm to go with you to a concert or a lecture. Or, go on your own and use the event as an opportunity to make friends in college. If you see someone sitting alone, take the seat next to them and strike up a conversation. It won’t take long to make friends in college if you’re active on campus.
8. Use Campus Facilities
Take advantage of the campus facilities to get the most out of your college experience. Instead of studying in your room, find a cozy couch in the student union or a table in the library as a go to study spot. Work out in the campus recreation facilities, or go to an athletic event. If you develop patterns that get you out and about, you’re more likely to meet new people and make friends.
9. Work On Campus
A campus job is a great way to meet new people and make connections with faculty and staff. Consider applying for a job that is related to your major. You may even be able to work alongside a faculty member, assisting with research. Co-workers may be interested in connecting after work and your supervisor will be a great resource if you encounter a bump in the road.
10. Stay On Campus
It may be tempting to go home on the weekend, but staying on campus is the best way to make friends in college, especially when you’re shy. During your first semester, avoid spending every weekend at home. If you stay on campus, you’ll be more likely to meet new people, get invited to events and foster meaningful friendships.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.