Last Updated on August 16, 2021 by David Shaw
A big part of the college experience is about finding and making friends independently unlike back in high school. However, not everyone can actually display good social skills in college to make friends given that the social situation and circumstances in college can be different from high school.
In college, making friends and getting the right connection is as important as maintaining good academic standing. By networking yourself with people in college, you broaden the potential opportunities you will stumble upon later in life or even your career.
In this article, we will provide a few guides and tips to make friends in college that work well whether you’re studying in a small or large university.
Start With Your Hobby
Finding friends through your hobbies might sound cliche at first, but it can potentially be the most effective way to make friends through hobbies.
What was a hobby you used to binge hours on Google or Youtube learning new tricks or skills? Maybe you used to play an instrument or a sport back then but stopped practicing them when you no longer find new joy in it. Sometimes we stopped doing certain hobbies probably because there wasn’t joy from sharing them or tangible progress in improvements. Now that you’re in college, finding a companion to share those hobbies of yours is the best time to reignite the spark once inside of you.
Friendships are created when you spend quality time together, if you find friends of similar hobbies, spending time doing activities you all love together creates stronger friendships. If you simply spend enough time around people through your hobbies, you’ll naturally make more and stronger relationships with people.
Once you’ve established solid friendships with people sharing similar hobbies, you leave a lot of room for the friendship to grow in many unique ways! Don’t force yourself to change or become interesting for the sake of others, be yourself, and you shall stumble across people who appreciate you for being genuine.
If you see a potential opportunity, creating a career by partnering with people sharing similar hobbies with you can be a dream not far from reality. Go beyond the limits, and start discovering or practicing and loving your hobby, and friendships will naturally come your way when you encounter people also doing things in common.
Get a Fun Campus Job
Campus jobs can be rewarding and offer more than just a paycheck. By finding the right campus job, you can easily leverage the opportunity and position to make more friends while working. If you show enthusiasm and kindness while presenting yourself on your job, there’s no doubt you can make a lot of friends since you’re constantly encountering campus students all the time.
Besides, if you enjoy your work where there’s good company of friends and colleagues, the most boring or repetitive tasks wouldn’t even feel dreadful. To name a few, here are some campus jobs where you will find good company while working:
- Subject Tutor – You can always find tutoring centers across all colleges or universities that hire students to teach or assist others with their homework. Speaking from experience, I enjoyed spending my time at my local tutoring center helping students with Calculus subjects with other colleagues who were also students. It was a collaborative and helpful environment where we can enjoy great company while helping other students with their homework.
- Service Assistance – Campuses offer a wide range of service assistance positions like student services clerk, academic mentor, assistance positions. Since you encounter and assist students daily, you will definitely encounter students who are willing to befriend you. If you take the extra mile to be more friendly and helpful during your shifts, it will take little to no extra effort to befriend students who use these services regularly.
- Campus Tour Guide – As a campus tour guide, you get to meet awesome individuals of all backgrounds and interests just from knowing the areas and information of the campus. Best of all, you not only get to meet and befriend people around your age but also their guardians or parents. If you leave a great impression on your job, you can potentially also network with professionals in the working field.
- Residential Advisor Also commonly known as the term RA, Residential Advisor/Assistants are responsible to enforce the rules and regulations of campus residence halls. They respond to any campus resident’s calls for assistance, complaints, reports, and requests while making sure they are complying with the rules of residence halls. Other than the perks of making friends with the entire residence hall, you often get free housing or discounts while working with a team of RAs. As for the perks for access to many free resources, the notable trade-offs will be more time commitment for the job as a student.
Join a Campus Club Related to Your Hobbies or Interests
If you find a campus club interesting that happens to also have a friendly community, nothing should stop you from joining it and start making friends! Campus clubs are an essential part of college or university as they organize and create most of the fun activities and events on campus.
To find the most easy-going clubs surrounded by friendly communities, look for social-themed campus clubs that welcome and accommodate a lot of students. In these clubs, you will often find testimonials of members describing making friends on ‘easy mode’.
Campuses often allow and encourage campus clubs to collaborate with one another to create successful events or raise awareness of certain issues. Some campus clubs even go as far as developing cross-campus collaborations, where they work closely with clubs from different campuses from different counties or states.
Once you’re comfortable with your presence in a club, you have the option to start taking up certain roles in the club committee. If you get creative and strategic with what a collaborative community like campus clubs can do, you open yourself to boundless opportunities for alliances even with professional bodies.
In short, the more involved you are in general club activities, the more you present yourself in the community to help create more meaningful and lasting friendships with people from all places. Once you contribute a fair amount of effort and time to a club, saying you have difficulty making friends is simply a bad excuse.
Take a Bold and Friendly Initiative
This method applies nicely in classrooms or campus events. Whether if you’re attending class or a campus event, if you find someone or a group of individuals interesting, you simply just gotta take the bold move to introduce yourself to create friendships.
“If Opportunity doesn’t Knock, Build a Door.”Milton Berle
If it’s during a lecture, take proper initiatives by asking whether do your classmates want to form a study or discussion group. Or if you’re at an event, ask about their opinion of the event, maybe they will be down to offer you to join their company. The most important thing is to be respectful of boundaries, leaving a bad first impression will hurt further possibilities to establish a lasting friendship.
The only thing to keep in mind is to be polite and genuine, and if people don’t feel comfortable when you’re being yourself, it is better not to try to further develop the friendship. I personally find people in groups easier to approach and strike up conversations, as they feel less nervous collectively as a group rather than being alone. This offers more room for natural conversation and flexibility to blend in even if you’re not a good talker.
Be natural and be yourself when you meet new people, don’t take every shot for the sake of only making friends by taking the appropriate initiatives as well.
In most cases, if people are willing and comfortable about getting to know you, they wouldn’t keep conversations blunt or shrug you off. Communication requires practice and skills, make sure you present relevant subjects that relate to the current atmosphere to create more room for conversation. If you’re in a classroom, ask about the difficulty of the homework or assignments, or if you’re in an event, then try asking more open-ended questions about the event, or what you could be missing out on.
Join Campus Mixer Events
Mixer events are get-together activities usually organized by school faculty or clubs. The themes of mixer events often vary according to school majors, interests, hobbies, or just casual hang-out to help people get to know one another sharing similar interests.
Mixer events are often short, lasting up to 2 hours where people play ice-breaking games, get to know each other, and have fun. Towards the end of mixer events, people will often exchange contacts and new friendships are created just that easily!
If you find mixer events hardly come by on your campus, raise the ideas to club committees, school faculty divisions and someone in charge would be more than willing to organize them. Mixer events can even be easy and fun to organize through the internet. Usually incorporated with a little creativity like playing mini-games or fun competitions, making friends becomes fun and easy once there is some casual interaction between participants.
With the joy and perks that mixer events can bring, don’t underestimate the opportunities of what a short mixer event can bring to you. Even if it’s just a short event lasting between 1-2 hours, devoting the short amount of time to join a mixer event far benefits any other recreational activities, so don’t miss out on mixer events!
Participate or Facilitate Orientation Events
If there’s one place you are guaranteed to make friends easily, it is during orientation events. If you haven’t already known, students during the freshman year are always more open to making friendships simply because they need to find the sense and security of belonging to their new university environment.
Orientation events often split the large batch of students into smaller groups in order to encourage communication among members. When it comes to ice-breaking sessions, students participating in orientation events are bound to get to know each other. Regardless if you’re an orientation participant or facilitator, getting involved in orientation activities inevitably creates friendships.
You might also ask, can second years or above still join orientation events? Certainly! Many campus and faculty greatly favor and enjoy the company of juniors or seniors in college as they can share valuable experiences that can directly relate to new students. Universities like Columbia University and New York University are known for their fun and interactive orientation events. Most universities typically have a dedicated team of student volunteers to facilitate most of the orientation events yearly, so don’t miss these opportunities if you want to meet new students and build more networks with aspiring new students.
Orientation week is the time where new students have the most questions and want the most help and resources. If you’re joining orientation as a helper or facilitator, offering your knowledge to their questions can lead you to many friendship possibilities.
If you need to be reminded just how much fun and activities are going on during orientations, take a look at California Polytechnic State University, SLO recap of their 2017 orientation:
Make Friends Through Helping Others
Let your hospitality, kindness, or knowledge help you make more friends through helping people. If you have certain skills, homework, or even experiences gathered through the years you’ve spent in college that you can share to help people, it can be your best tool and resource to help others while making friends in the process.
– Be a tutor/homework partner
If you know a classmate or student who needs tutoring help with a particular subject you’re good at, offer them a helping hand. Next thing you know, you might be making new friends in exchange for your time and help over a free meal. You can also sign up tutor at your campus and get paid while helping others.
– IT assistant
IT assistant is consistently needed given that the internet is always changing and improving. If you use certain software, website, or the student portal often enough, you don’t really need professional coding skills or IT knowledge to help people facing technical difficulties.
Students typically need assistance to navigate the campus website and student portals. If you simply use them often or have been through the same problem, you might be a perfect candidate to help guide them or even redirect them to the appropriate person or community to find help. More often than not, you are saving someone a lot of time with just a simple IT difficulty, which they will surely be thankful for while leaving good impressions on you.
– Become a College discord or Reddit moderator
If your campus has a dedicated Discord server, Reddit page, or Facebook or Instagram pages, you can offer your time to become a moderator alongside the administrators to run the platform. These platforms are a great place to start with, as you can answer many general questions related to school, housing, classes, and many more. As long as you don’t violate the rules or harass people, you should be able to make friends through social media and these online social platforms.
– Lend your assets
During my days in college, I made many friends in the most unexpected way possible from with an electric screw gun. As a college student new to the area, I bought a small set of this electric screw gun from Amazon to install the bolts and screws of my new furniture. After just using it once, my drill set was collecting dust in my room, but I found good use of it by lending it to students who needed them to assemble their furniture. By simply lending my electric screw gun around, I ended up many friends in my residence hall in the more bizarre way possible.
Another idea I found really helpful is to help people with their driver’s license if you have a car. My roommate used to lend and help international and out-of-state students practice driving with his personal car for free. All he did was a kind offer to help some students save money. In return, he made friends with people of all ethnicity and backgrounds from all over the world.
Volunteer in Campus Events
Volunteering in campus events can be fun often and surprise you in finding the most unexpected friendships. Best of all, campus events are not limited to your specific campus, but all other surrounding campuses that organize public events. Volunteering in events always involves improvisation, and when you take action in these tasks collaboratively with other volunteers, you are bound to interact with people and make friends.
Other than creating a more diverse network of friendships from other campuses, you not only get to make friends of different majors and unique course programs but also more about job opportunity prospects more familiar in certain areas in the state or country. You also can get informed of free and professional events like seminars, expos, or conventions that are offered outside of your campus.
I’ve personally volunteered and joined free events like Hackathons where I was a participant and event helper. Other than learning many practical and soft skills related to my major alone, I always end up learning more new knowledge than what I expected from the new people I meet. Other than creating friendships in campus events, you are always building connections that might otherwise help land you a stable career in the future.
Join a Community Event
Joining a community event lets you network with students or people from other campuses. By finding community events like beach or park cleanups created by student organizations from other schools, you have the opportunity to make interesting friends from other places or universities.
Many students organizations create such events to either satisfy coursework assignments or add them as curricular activities in their resumes or transcripts. Often in these events, you find aspiring individuals with cool work backgrounds, experience in society, or are involved in influential student clubs organizations.
With services and platforms like Eventbrite, you can easily find community events going on around you with just a few clicks. Best of all, most community events are free to join, so don’t miss out. Given that community events typically involves many outgoing and friendly students, making friends is always easy as long as you sign up and show up.