8 Ways to Improve Your College Social Life

Starting college can be intimidating no matter what your age. Even if you’re going back to college to start a new career, your encounters the second time around are going to be varied. College is a different animal than it was even five to 10 years ago, and regardless if you’re planning on attending a brick-and-mortar campus or taking part of your course load online, you still should make the most of your co-ed experience. So to help you integrate yourself into the new world of being a college student here are eight ways you can improve your college social life.

  1. Get to School a Week Early
  2. If you’re attending a brick-and-mortar school, and you’re moving on-campus, then plan to arrive at least a week early and become familiar with the lay of the land. Meet your neighbors and (if possible) your instructors. Find the nearest grocery store, pharmacy, all the school libraries, the student union buildings, cafeterias, etc. Get to know as many of the people as possible that you’ll be interacting with throughout the year. This gives you the opportunity to make a positive first impression without the pressures that typically go along with the first week of school.

  3. Start or Join Clubs
  4. If you have special interests (for example, chess, music, biking, dance, business, etc.) find out if any collegiate clubs for those interests exist and if so join those clubs. If no club exists for your interest see about starting one. Go through the proper channels to start a school-sanctioned club on-campus (or online) and then set a table up in the student union to recruit members. Not everyone who speaks with you will join, however, talking about your new club is a great way to meet new people.

    If you doubt the awesomeness of college clubs, just check out this woodwind ensemble by a Medieval club at Brigham Young University. Oh yeah, it’s getting hot in here!

  5. Go to Sporting Events
  6. Most colleges are passionate about their athletic teams, so attending school games and sporting events is perfect way to meet new people. Your common thread is that you’re all rooting for the same team and therefore you instantly have something to talk about—no icebreakers needed! And having a sporting event to fall back on is a great safety net because if the conversation starts to lag you can always go back to talking about the game or team.

  7. Work Out
  8. College campuses are rife with gyms that include free memberships for students. Working out is a very “healthy” way to meet new people. You can sign up with a personal trainer, join an intramural swim club, take zumba or spinning classes, or simply strike up a conversation with the person on the stationary bike next to you. If find people with whom you have a lot in common suggest you move your workouts to outdoors by organizing bike rides or hikes.

  9. Write for the School Newspaper
  10. Even if you aren’t on the newspaper staff you can still send letters to the editor or write editorials on spec and in most cases (if your letter is well-written) the school newspaper will print your letter. If you have an opinion on a certain issue comment about it in the paper. Or if you want to write regularly propose a column that you write weekly. Soon your name will get out there as the leading campus expert on whatever it is you write about. It’s only a matter of time before the masses start putting your face with your name, and before you know it people will be introducing themselves to you when you’re out!

  11. Run for Student Council
  12. If you’re politically active, consider running for a position on your school’s student council. Even if you don’t win running for office gives you an obvious reason to get to know the rest of the student population during your campaign. And if you do win, then you’ll be expected to attend regular council meetings where you’ll get to know the rest of the council members. Plus, you’ll actually have an opportunity to make positive changes for your student body.

  13. Get an On-campus Job
  14. College campuses are the best places to get part-time jobs that accommodate your school schedule AND allow you to meet new people. Whether you serve food or bus tables in one of the many cafeterias or you work as a teacher’s assistant in the department of your major, an on-campus job puts you in the thick of campus life. Plus, you stand to make a little extra money, which is always a good thing when you’re a starving student.

  15. Be Greek-y
  16. Traditionally fraternities and sororities were brought on-campus to bring new students together. Even though the college Greek system is not for everyone, just going through rush is a convenient way to introduce yourself to a large part of the student population. And just because you go through rush doesn’t mean you have to pledge to any Greek house. However, keep an open mind if you do go through the process because after you meet all these new people you may decide the Greek system might be something you’d like to try.

Starting a new school can be a little bit intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be if you just remember that all students are in the same boat as you. Everyone is from somewhere else. They all have to adjust and make new friends, so you might as well give yourself as many opportunities as possible to do just that. Besides you might find you have some new hidden talents (or at least you can call them talents when you add them to your resume years later after graduation).

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