5 Ways to Make Friends in College

How I found my people at UMKC
A group of three diverse people, two who present as female and one who presents as male, sit outside on the UMKC campus.

Moving away from home and making new friends can be really intimidating. But forming new friendships is a critical part of college. And you don’t have to be really outgoing to have a social life. In my experience, these are some of the best ways to make and meet new friends on campus.

1. Get yourself out there by getting involved.

A group photo of dozens of students holding an "Ally" banner at UMKC

With more than 300 student organizations at UMKC, there are lots of ways to get involved on campus. Join different clubs, sororities/fraternities, sports teams or religious organizations that seem interesting to you. These settings are usually where students find a network of friends to be around.

To see the list of student organizations, explore our Roogroups page. You can also visit the Office of Student Involvement for more information on how to get involved.

2. Hang out on campus regularly.

A male and female student sitting down in a booth

Rushing to your car after class is probably not the best way to get to know others on campus. Go grab coffee at Jazzman’s in the Student Union or lunch at Einstein Bros. in Royall Hall. This is where most of the socializing happens, and it’s a great way to find opportunities to make new friends.

3. Attend as many school-related events as you can.

A group of diverse students sitting on outdoor bleachers; one is holding a UMKC finger sign

There is always plenty to do at UMKC. Look for flyers of on-campus events that interest you and go! Attending something you love with others creates a special bond and an easy way to start a conversation. I attended a lot of events on campus—even before I was officially a student here at UMKC—and that’s where I met most of my current friends.

4. Find an on-campus job.

Someone who presents as an African American women helps another person at the Offices of Student Involvement & Multicultural Affairs

Finding an on-campus job is a great way to get to know others. It gives you the opportunity to see familiar faces and finally get the chance to get to know them 1-on-1. Your coworkers can also be a great help to you in the future, whether you need a great reference for a job or help with school work.

5. Strike up a conversation any chance you get.

Two people who present as white women are talking outside and laughing

Whether it’s on the elevator or sitting and waiting for class to start, take the opportunity to talk to others around you. For example, we had to break into groups in my class and I did not know anyone in that class. I asked the student next to me if she would like to be my partner and now she and I are really good friends. If I never asked her to be my partner, our friendship probably wouldn’t exist right now.

Not everyone has the courage to speak to someone first. If that’s the case for you, then try using small tactics like smiling first to see if the person is approachable. The worst that can happen is not getting a smile back. Whatever is it is, it’s important not to get discouraged. With enough patience and confidence you can make friends anywhere and everywhere!

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Published: May 30, 2019

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