How to Make Friends in University - A simple guide for new students

October 27, 2023
5 min read
Cress Warnell

Welcome to university, where the possibilities for growth, learning, and friendship are endless! Making friends with like minded people in this new and exciting chapter of your life is crucial - not only does it enhance your overall university experience, but having a strong social network can also have numerous benefits that extend beyond your time on campus.

Studies show that friendships formed during university have a lasting impact on both personal and professional aspects of life, as these connections provide support, a sense of belonging, and opportunities for personal development. Whether you are an introvert, nervous about meeting new people, or simply unsure of where to start, in this guide we address common concerns, and share practical tips to help you cultivate meaningful friendships in this new environment.

Social Activities and Clubs

Shared hobbies and passions can serve as a strong foundation for friendships - it can be helpful to take advantage of the various clubs and activities offered that cater to your interests, as they provide opportunities to connect with individuals who share the same enthusiasm. Whether it's playing a sport, painting, or attending themed events, these commonalities can lead to long-lasting friendships.

When you participate in social activities and clubs, strive to build meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals. Take the time to get to know the other students, and show genuine interest in their lives - by cultivating these connections, you increase the chances of forming lasting friendships.

Participating in social events and joining clubs can be a great way to make friends in university. Here are some effective strategies:

Social Clubs and Organisations on Campus

One of the best ways to meet like-minded individuals is by joining social clubs and organisations on campus; whether it's a sports club, a cultural society, or an academic group, these clubs provide a platform to connect with people who share similar interests and passions.

Extracurricular Activities

Engaging in extracurricular activities related to your interests is another fantastic opportunity to meet new people. Whether it's attending a debate club, a book club, or an art workshop, these activities allow you to bond with individuals who have similar hobbies and passions without putting too much pressure on making friends at uni.

By actively participating in social activities and clubs, you increase your chances of meeting like-minded individuals and forming lasting friendships in university.

Orientation and Welcome Events

Orientation seminars and workshops are designed to help you acclimate to university life in the first few weeks of student life. These events provide valuable information about the campus, its facilities, and the academic programs offered, meaning that attending these sessions can be a great way to meet other students who are also new to the university and looking to make friends.

Most universities will organise welcome parties and social gatherings at the beginning of each semester to help students connect with one another - these events provide a casual and enjoyable environment that encourages interaction and networking. Take advantage of these opportunities to meet fellow students, find course mates and make new friends!

Remember; you are not alone in your quest to make friends at university. Many other students are also looking to expand their social circle (especially at the start of term and during freshers week!). You can use this time to seek out individuals who may be in the same situation as you and strike up conversations. This shared goal of making friends can serve as a starting point for forming meaningful connections.

Orientation and welcome events provide a welcoming environment for students to break the ice and start forming initial friendships; even if you are feeling nervous, don't forget to engage in conversations, share your interests, and listen to others. Be open-minded and approachable, as these events are specifically designed to help students connect with each other.

Taking the initiative to introduce yourself (I know how scary this sounds!) can go a long way in helping you to form lasting relationships - a simple gesture such as holding the door open for someone walking behind you could be the first step in creating conversation and building a bond.

Networking and Group Projects

Once classes have started, collaborating with classmates on group projects and assignments can be a great way to make friends in university. Not only does it provide opportunities to interact and bond with fellow students over the new experience of uni life and common interests, but it also allows you to meet students and build friendship groups through teamwork and shared academic experiences.

When working on group projects make an effort to actively participate and contribute to the team, listen to others' ideas, provide constructive feedback, and offer your help when needed. This will not only earn you respect and appreciation from your peers but also create a positive and supportive atmosphere within the group.

It can make a difference if you take the initiative to organise study sessions or group meetings outside of class as well. This can be a great way to get to know your classmates on a more personal level and establish stronger connections. Consider suggesting a convenient location, such as a quiet coffee shop or the university library, and make sure to communicate and coordinate effectively with everyone - try not to let any of the group members feel left out by making sure the meeting place is inclusive and suitable to everyone.

Remember, building friendships through group projects and collaborations can take time and effort, but if you are patient, open-minded, and willing to compromise you will soon find good friends to spend your time at university alongside. Embrace the opportunity to learn from others and try to appreciate the different perspectives and strengths each team member brings to the table!

Study Groups

Forming or joining study groups can be a great way to make friends at uni and receive academic support at the same time. Study groups provide an opportunity to interact with classmates outside of the classroom, fostering a sense of community and camaraderie.

By studying together, you can create a conducive environment for both studying and socialising - plus it means you don't have to worry too much about awkward silences, as independent thinking can be beneficial in these circumstances. As you tackle assignments or prepare for exams, you'll have the chance to bond with your classmates over shared academic goals, developing friendships that go beyond the confines of the lecture hall.

When joining a study group at university, it's important to sought out and meet like minded people who share your dedication to academic success. Look for peers who are motivated and committed to their studies, as they'll likely contribute to a productive and supportive group dynamic.

To find or form study groups, you could start by reaching out to your classmates and asking if they're interested in forming a group, or if there are existing groups you can join. Many universities also have online forums or bulletin boards where students can connect with others looking to form study groups, which so many new people find useful for meeting people and making friends at university.

Once you find a study group, make sure to actively participate and contribute to the discussions. Be open to different perspectives and suggestions, as this will help foster collaborative learning and deepen your connections with group members.

Remember, joining study groups is not only an opportunity to improve your academic performance but also a chance to make lasting friendships with like-minded individuals who are invested in their education!

Living Arrangements

When it comes to making friends in university, your living arrangements can play a big role in facilitating connections. Here are some ways to make the most of your living situation:

Roommates/ fellow residents in university housing

One of the easiest ways to start making friends as a first year student is by simply reaching out to your roommates or fellow residents in university housing. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your new flatmates, strike up conversations and show genuine interest in getting to know them. I'm sure they will appreciate you putting in the effort, as not only will you be spending time living together, but they are most likely in the same situation of not knowing where to start when finding friends.

Living together provides ample opportunities to share common experiences and form lasting friendships. Whether it's navigating through the challenges of university life or celebrating milestones, bonding over shared experiences can bring you closer to your roommates or fellow residents.

Spending more time getting to know each other

Building friendships takes time and effort. Make a conscious effort to spend more time with your roommates or fellow residents, whether it's by having meals together, studying together, or participating in activities within your housing community.

Engaging in social activities within the dormitory or residence hall

Take advantage of the social activities organised within your dormitory or residence hall. Attend events, join committees, and participate in community gatherings to meet new people and foster a sense of belonging - having familiar faces on campus can help you feel at home much faster!

Attending Campus Events

Attending campus events - especially during the first week or term - is another excellent way to meet new people and make friends during your time at university. Whether it's participating in sports games, cultural festivals, speaker series, or parties, these events provide the perfect opportunity to connect with fellow students and expand your social circle.

One of the great advantages of attending campus events is the chance to meet people from diverse backgrounds - university campuses are vibrant and diverse spaces where people from all walks of life come together. By attending events, you'll have the opportunity to interact with individuals from different cultures, countries, and fields of study, allowing you to gain new perspectives and forge meaningful friendships.

By attending campus events you also get the chance to explore different interests, or find out about other events that are going on that you would be interested in attending, while expanding your social circle. 

Universities often organise a wide range of events catering to different interests and hobbies. Whether you're passionate about art, sports, literature, or music, you'll find events that align with your interests. By engaging in these activities, you're likely to meet like-minded individuals who share your passion, making it easier to establish connections and form lasting friendships.

Seeking Common Interests

Finding others who share similar hobbies or interests is a great way to make friends in university; whether you enjoy playing an instrument, painting, playing sports, gaming, or any other activity, connecting with others who have the same passions can lead to lasting friendships.

One way to establish these friendships is by joining relevant clubs or groups on campus. Many universities have a wide range of clubs and organisations where you can meet like-minded individuals. Participating in club activities, events, course induction, or even just attending meetings can help you bond with others who have similar hobbies or passions.

Additionally, don't hesitate to reach out and initiate conversations with people you meet who have similar interests. Strike up a conversation about a shared hobby or interest and see where it takes you - you never know, it could be the start of a great friendship.

Making the First Move

When it comes to making friends in university, taking the first step is crucial. Here are some strategies to help you break the ice and initiate connections:

Taking initiative

Don't wait for others to approach you – be proactive! Introduce yourself to classmates, roommates, or anyone you come across on campus; starting a conversation can be as simple as asking about their major or where they're from. 

Remember, everyone is in the same boat, eager to make new friends.

Breaking the ice and overcoming shyness

It's normal to feel nervous or shy when meeting new people, which is why it's important to remember everyone else is likely feeling the same way. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge any shyness by making small talk, finding common interests, or engaging in activities together. By taking these brave steps, you can overcome your shyness and make lasting connections.

Utilising Online Platforms

Making friends in university can sometimes be challenging, but with the help of online platforms, it becomes much easier. These platforms offer a variety of opportunities to connect with potential friends who share similar interests or backgrounds.

University forums, social media groups and online platforms

One of the best ways to make friends online is by joining university forums or social media groups (joining a facebook group may seem outdated, but can prove hugely beneficial in helping you build connections and meet those who will become your close friends). These platforms provide a virtual space where students can interact, share experiences, and find like-minded individuals.

Participating in online discussions or virtual events is a great way to meet new people. Make an effort to join relevant conversations and actively engage with others. This will not only help you expand your network but also showcase your personality and interests.

Additional Tips for Making Friends

  • Being open-minded and accepting of different backgrounds and experiences
  • Being a good listener and showing genuine interest in others
  • Participating in group activities or initiatives outside of academic settings
  • Exploring the city or local area with fellow students to create shared experiences


It may feel intimidating at first, but the rewards of establishing a strong social network are long-lasting. Friends provide support, companionship, and contribute to an overall positive university experience.

In conclusion, making friends in university goes beyond simply attending classes. It requires a proactive and open-minded approach, as well as willingness to seek out and create meaningful connections. 

By embracing the different opportunities available and stepping outside one's comfort zone, students can build a strong social network that will benefit them academically, socially, and personally. 

If you are struggling to make friends or find your group in university, Summer Schools education experts are here to provide any additional support, advice or answers to your questions - don't hesitate to contact us.

Cress Warnell

Cress is a skilled copywriter who transforms ideas into captivating content. With a passion for words and a keen eye for detail, she crafts compelling copy for Summer Schools, helping students explore their options in education.

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