I was so excited to step onto the University of Washington
my freshman year. And I was also a little nervous. I was intimidated by the size of the University of Washington. My first class at the UW was Comparative Politics and there were 200 students in the class. My second class was Math 111 and there was 400 students in that class. And beyond the classroom, I was one out of about 6,000 freshman on campus.
I realize now that one of my biggest hurdles in school was making friends and building a community on campus. It’s easy to feel like just another number on a college campus. It wasn’t until my freshman year spring quarter that I actually felt like I belonged to the University of Washington community.
So I wanted to dedicate this post today to any college students looking to make new friends on campus.
Here are 7 Places to Make Friends in College
1. Freshmen Interest Groups
If there are freshmen specific classes offered to help you transition to college, I’d recommend taking them! At UW, we had freshmen interest groups (figs). These were two credit classes that covered the ins and outs of university life. Everyone starts on the same boat – everyone is a freshman and is trying to navigate their way through classes.
I joined a fig my freshman year and ended up taking the rest of the pre-requisite classes to the business school with a handful of them. I’m still friends with some of my classmates from my fig today!
2. Your Dorm or Fraternity/Sorority
If you’re a freshman, you may not realize it yet but your life-long friend could literally be down the hall. Whether you’re in the greek system or in a dorm, don’t be afraid to make friends with your neighbors. Ask
your neighbors if they want to grab lunch or dinner in the dining hall. Or if you take any classes together, go sit by them in class. Or even ask them to explore the city or town with you.
3. Attend School Events – like Football games!
A great way to meet friends is to attend school events. If there are any events like concerts or fairs that happen before school starts, find a friend on your floor and head to those events. Or attend the sporting events on campus. It’s always fun to watch a sport especially if you played in high school or have friends on the sports teams.
I especially loved going to football games! The atmosphere on campus during a game day is amazing. It’s fun to get dressed up in your school apparel and tailgating!
4. Your College Classes
I’d recommend to always make a friend in class because it’s nice to exchange notes if one of you misses class. It’s also nice to be able to study with a friend. If you have no friends in your class, try turning to your neighbor and introducing yourself.
5. Intramural Teams or a Workout Classes
Joining an intramural teams or signing up for a work out class is a great way to stay active and meet friends. I recommend looking up what your intramurals sports and work out classes your college gym offers. In undergrad, I signed up to take hip hop classes, a weights class, ballet, and Pilates! I would sign up for those classes all over again if I could!
6. Join a club
If you’re interested in fashion or skiing or even the environment, chances are there is a club on campus that you can join. And if there isn’t, you should create your own club!
Advice if you’re looking for a club to join: At the University of Washington, I would search what current clubs are listed on the Student Activities Office website. I would also look at what clubs are out there that are related to your major. When I went to the business school, there were so many different types of clubs to join – Husky Sales Club, UW AMA, accounting focused clubs, and more.
7. Get involved in leadership
There are so many ways to take on leadership roles on campus. I highly recommend exploring your interests, joining a community aligned with those interests, and then moving into a leadership role in the organization or club. The experiences you get from leading a community on campus will be valuable to you well beyond after your graduate.
If you’re currently at the University of Washington: Explore the organizations in ASUW (Associate Students of the University of Washington), the dance teams, or other interest or ethnic groups on campus.
Personally, my favorite experiences in my undergrad were co-organizing the TEDxUofW conference and running the Victoria’s Secret PINK team as a Campus Representative!
Where did you meet your college friends? And what advice do you have to any college students out there for making new friends?
Thank you for reading!
Photos: Holly Phan