A Guide to Making Friends in College

By Julia Califano · August 15, 2023 · 7 minute read

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A Guide to Making Friends in College

College is a great place to make lifelong friends. In college, students bond over shared interests, have fun times together, and help each other through some challenging times, cementing bonds that can last for years after graduation.

When you first arrive on campus, however, making friends in college can seem intimidating. Exactly where and how do you meet people? It can feel especially challenging if you go to a large school or you’re in unfamiliar territory, like a college that’s far away from home.

Don’t stress. Making friends in college can be easy. The key is to get involved early on, put yourself out there, and always try to be your true self.

Here are some ways you can go about making friends in college.

Hang Out With Your Roommates

Whether you chose your roommate or went with a random pairing, you may or may not have a lot in common with this individual, at least from the outside. Nevertheless, it can be a good idea to try to forge a connection with your roommate. This will not only make your living situation more enjoyable, but you’ll be able to turn to your roommate when you need support.

You can bond with your roommate by cooking meals, watching favorite shows, and studying together. It can also help to be considerate and respectful of your roommate by not making too much noise late at night or early in the morning, cleaning up after yourself, and chipping in for shared supplies. By respecting your roommate’s boundaries and establishing ground rules for the room, you’ll be more likely to have a good relationship, and perhaps even become good friends, with your roommate.

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Join a Fraternity or Sorority

If you join a fraternity or a sorority, you’ll have the opportunity to make a lot of new friends. While some fraternities and sororities may have bad reputations because of their hazing practices and emphasis on parties, many focus on philanthropy and building friendships instead.

Just keep in mind that joining Greek life can cost $100 to $1,000 per semester, since you are generally required to pay fees or dues. The cost will vary depending on the school and chapter you join, and there may also be additional fees for first-year membership.

You’ll also need to apply to get into a sorority or fraternity and go through a recruitment process to ensure it’s going to be a good fit. Then, if you’re accepted, you will typically live with your fraternity or sorority in a house on campus and socialize and volunteer with them on a regular basis.

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Get Involved in Clubs

Another easy way to make friends in college is to join a club. At the beginning of the school year, colleges will typically have club fairs, where club leaders set up booths and give information about their clubs to incoming freshmen and transfer students. This is where you can learn more and sign up for an initial meeting.

Some of the various types of clubs you can join include religious, political, academic, cultural, media, and community service clubs. For instance, students can join the school paper, radio or TV station, participate in math and science groups, join an on-campus religious group, find the school’s Republican and Democrat clubs, and volunteer at local animal rescue organizations or homeless shelters.

If you can’t find clubs you’re interested in, you may be able to start one of your own. You’ll likely have to go to the proper office on campus and follow the guidelines for establishing a new club.

Recommended: How to Get Involved on Campus in College

Find Study Buddies in Your Classes

Another avenue for making friends in college is through your classes. You might start or sign up for a study group, which allows students in the same class to do homework and study for tests together. If you make a connection with another student in a study group, you might suggest hanging out after the group is over or meeting up for a coffee or meal on campus another time.

Sign Up for Sports

One of the ways that many students go about making friends in college is by joining a sports team or an intramural sports club on campus. The sports teams are for athletes who are interested in playing on schools’ official teams, while intramural sports clubs are just for fun. Schools offer a variety of different sports like basketball, football, soccer, golf, tennis, and swimming. You can check out the campus life and sports section of your school’s website and look into the options.

Audition for the School Play

Theater clubs or the theater department on campus may hold auditions for school plays. You might consider auditioning for a part and making friends with the cast and crew members during rehearsal. Putting on a play can be a strong bonding experience, allowing you to cultivate lasting friendships.

Recommended: 10 Ways to Prepare for College

Go to Campus Events

Schools are always putting on events. This might include concerts, talent shows, guest speaker series, music festivals, stand-up comedy, and more. You might ask acquaintances to go to an event and/or meet new friends there. If the event is crowded, you might need to be a little more outgoing and start up conversations with the people nearby in order to (hopefully) make friends.

Connect With Other Student Workers

If you have a job or internship on campus, you might try to strike up conversations with your colleagues, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your work. Some places students may work on campus include the college’s admissions office, the endowment office, the dining hall, the coffee shop, the art museum, and the library.

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Go to Social Gatherings

If your roommates or friends are holding a social gathering or going off campus to check out a local movie theater or restaurant, consider tagging along. This can be a great way to strengthen the bonds you already have, as well as meet new people. Just keep in mind that while parties can be fun, they can also distract from schoolwork and you could end up with lower grades if you are partying too often.

Recommended: The Ultimate Guide to Studying in College

Ask People to Hang Out One-on-One

Whenever you meet potential new friends in classes or through clubs, consider inviting them to hang out one-on-one to get to know them better. For example, you might ask them out for coffee or a meal, to an on-campus concert or show, to work out at the gym, or to a sports game. While this involves putting yourself out there, the rewards of making a new friend can be well worth the risk that they’ll say “no.”

The Importance of Being Yourself When Making Friends in College

Although you may be worried about making new friends in college, you generally don’t want to change your personality or hide who you really are in order to fit in. It may be a little tough at first, but by joining clubs you’re interested in and finding people who accept you for who you are, you could make lifelong friends. It can take some time and might not always happen within the first semester. However, you’ll want to keep trying to meet and connect with new people throughout your four years at college.

💡 Quick Tip: Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA form. Many schools require it for merit-based scholarships, too. You can submit it as early as Oct. 1.

Affording College

College is where you can set yourself up for professional success as well as make wonderful new friends. However, if you don’t know how you’ll pay for it, you might feel even more anxiety before embarking on this exciting next step in your life.

Fortunately, there are a number of ways to cover the cost of attending college, including grants, scholarships, work-study programs (which are also great for making friends), and subsidized and unsubsidized federal loans. If you get your financial aid letter and still have gaps in funding, you might also consider a private student loan.

Private loans are available through banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Unlike federal student loans, they require a credit check. However, if you have solid credit (or can recruit a cosigner who does), you may be able to qualify for a competitive interest rate. Just keep in mind that private loans may not offer the same protections that come with federal loans, such as income-driven repayment plans and forgiveness programs.

If you’ve exhausted all federal student aid options, no-fee private student loans from SoFi can help you pay for school. The online application process is easy, and you can see rates and terms in just minutes. Repayment plans are flexible, so you can find an option that works for your financial plan and budget.

Cover up to 100% of school-certified costs including tuition, books, supplies, room and board, and transportation with a private student loan from SoFi.

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Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility-criteria for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.


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