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Five ways to make friends at university

Off to university in the UK this autumn? Don’t be scared, take a deep breath and just say hello

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Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

Seeta Bhardwa

Editor, THE Student
July 28 2017
Three fingers which are happy to be friends


One of the biggest concerns for many new university students is making friends, and it is always surprising to discover how many students worry about this. Try to remember that everyone is in the same boat, and that everyone has concerns about finding a friendship group.

Here are some helpful tips on trying to make friends at university. And don’t feel like you can only use these as a first year! 

Join some freshers’ groups online

Just after A levels, a host of freshers’ groups will pop up on Facebook, usually including an official university freshers’ week group and others that are related to your course and hall of residence. Make sure that you join these groups and strike up conversations with some members. Try talking to someone online and then transferring it to “real life” when you arrive at university. Joining such groups is also a good way to keep up to date with freshers’ events that are occurring on campus and in your halls. 

If you aren’t living in university accommodation in your first year, then join a group for halls that you like the look of, or one that is located near to where you will be living. The groups are not usually restricted to residents and most people will be happy to socialise with students who aren’t living in their halls. 

Take the plunge and say hello

University is a time in your life where it is totally acceptable to strike up a conversation with a stranger. If this is completely out of your comfort zone, start by talking to someone who sits next to you in a lecture or seminar. You will already have something to talk about, as you are both on the same course, so ask them about a reading list or which module they are most looking forward to.

Join a society

This is another way (probably the best way) to find people guaranteed to have at least one thing in common with you. Head to some taster sessions for societies that you like the look of during freshers’ week. You can try as many as you like, so don’t be afraid to pick up that hobby that you’ve always wanted to try, or to join a society for something that you are already familiar with. 

Additionally, don’t feel as though you are restricted to just joining university societies. If there is something happening in your university city that you like the look of, get involved and widen your friendship pool. 

Read next: everything you need to know about student societies at university

Keep your door open and have some treats on hand

If you are in university accommodation, leave your door open while moving in. It gives the impression that you are receptive to making friends and also provides you with the opportunity to have a look at who you will be living with for the next year. Also, keeping a packet of biscuits or chocolates in your room to offer to people will definitely earn you popularity points!

Don’t assume you’ll make friends for life during freshers’ week

Most people say that university friends are friends for life. And while this is often the case, it doesn’t mean that these are friends that they made during freshers’ week. You have at least three years to make good friends, and remember that making friends is an ongoing process.

Don’t put pressure on yourself immediately to seek out people who you think might stand the test of time. Instead, speak to as many people as you can, and it will slowly and naturally become apparent who will stick around after you graduate.

Read more: my advice for prospective students

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