Student Life

How to Make Friends Before Getting to Campus

Elizabeth Hoyt

August 01, 2019

How to Make Friends Before Getting to Campus
Making new friends in college can be intimidating but there are always ways to gain a head start.
You’re about to experience four-ish of the best years of your life! Having friends to share it with is part of what makes college so spectacular. Making new friends in college can be intimidating but there are always ways to gain a head start. It can be especially daunting if you’re about to attend a school where you don’t have a familiar face in the crowd - having a couple can make all the difference. It doesn’t mean you have to become best friends, but it can feel make you more comfortable in your surroundings!
Here are a few tips on how you can get started on making college connections before you even set foot on campus for your freshman orientation:

Connect with your high school alumni

Consider reaching out to students who graduated from your high school who now attend your university or have recently graduated from your university. Even if they recently graduated, they may have friends still attending the school. Let them know that you’re going to be attending the same university and ask if they would like to meet for a cup of coffee so that you might be able to chat with them about the school. Don’t be afraid to let them know that you don’t know anyone at the university and would love to have a familiar face around!
Although it may feel slightly contrived, having a familiar connection (regardless of how it came about) will be helpful. Also, any student attending college will understand the position you’re currently in and will likely be more than willing to help out a fellow collegiate!

Join your class’s Facebook group

Social media can be valuable in making connections with your future classmates. Sometimes upperclassmen also join the clubs to offer advice and share their experiences as well. You’re able to gain insight and get any questions answered you need. Additionally, you’ll be able to learn about upcoming social events, extracurricular activities and clubs. Feel free to message students if they post about something you’re interested in getting involved in. Also, if you’re unsure of a club, attending the first time to try it out is a great way to meet people regardless of if you decide to stay in it for the long haul. You can also check out students who have the same major as you, who are likely to be in some of your courses. Consider messaging them and ask what types of extracurriculars they’re looking into – some may have similar interests to you. As with anything on social media, be cautious of how much you’re posting and the content that you post to the group’s page. Chances are that the college staff created the page. As a result, do not post anything you would not want the university’s administration to view. Keep in mind that you want to make a great impression to others as well – you don’t want people to recognize you from your Facebook photo and obnoxious posts.

Attend a local meet-and-greet

If you have the option, attend a meet-and-greet for classmates in your area. Colleges and, sometimes, alumni organizations from the colleges will host events for new students to meet one another the summer before freshman year. Don’t have the option? Create it! Organize the event yourself and post an invite to the Facebook group mentioned above for local students to attend. Think about it: you’ll be sure to make plenty of new friends if you’re the official event organizer! Be sure to host the event in a public space that is easily accessible to everyone. You certainly want to ensure that everyone feels safe and you want to ensure your own safety and well-being as well. Whether you attend or host a meet-and greet, be sure to be friendly and open to new people. It’s understandable to feel it’s out of one’s comfort zone to talk to people who are unfamiliar but remember that everyone is in the same situation! If you reach out – they will likely be thankful that you were the first one to do so. Be mindful that you’re polite and conscious of topics of conversation. While this seems like a no-brainer, some topics that seem like they’re not a big deal to some, may be to others. Avoid topics like which sororities or fraternities are better than others, their GPA or if you have negative opinions on any particular clubs or extracurricular activities.

Do you have any other suggestions for making connections before the start of the semester?

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