What are the best ways to make friends at uni?
It’s perfectly normal to feel nervous about making new friends at university. In fact, you’d probably be the odd one out if you weren't. It’s a new environment, new tutors, potentially new accommodation and definitely a whole heap of newfound independence. However, you can take comfort in the fact that everyone else is in the same position – and they’re keen to make friends too. To make life a bit easier, we’ve broken down our best tips for making friends at university. Let’s get started!
1..Get on social media groups before you start
Most universities offer a Fresher’s Facebook page. It’s a group that’s not focused on your accommodation or your course – it’s a group for all new starters across the entire university! At BCU it’s managed by BCUSU. BCUSU? That stands for Birmingham City University Students’ Union. Aside from running loads of amazing events and societies, BCUSU manages the most populous BCU Facebook group for new starters. The membership numbers are in the thousands every year. So if you want to connect with new starters across the whole of BCU, then this is the best place to be.
Tip: Watch out for fake BCUSU Freshers groups with similar names. These are often not run by students and are simply a means of building up a mailing list to market external products!
2. Join Accommodation groups and get to know your flatmates
Some universities set up social media groups for specific accommodation buildings, which is really handy. We certainly do this at BCU to give you a sense of place before you arrive. Once your room is confirmed, our Accommodation team will invite you to a Facebook group for your building. If you manage to find out who your roomies are going to be, why not set up a group chat? You could use this to organise group outings to Welcome Week events, find out what essential items people are bringing (who needs two kettles?), or simply just to get to know people throughout the building. Getting in touch with your flatmates before you move in will help calm any nerves you have about not knowing anyone.
3. Join societies and get stuck in at the Student Union
Students' unions put together social events, sports, and societies for a wide range of different hobbies and interests. It goes without saying that these are great for getting to know new people. Why? Because you’re making connections based on shared hobbies and interests. Sure, your course and accommodation are things you have in common with others, and they’re a great way to connect. But connecting with people who share passion is the way you’ll make the strongest bonds.
You can check out the full list of societies currently offered by BCUSU and our students here. And if you’re thinking: ‘I’d love to join the [insert-name] society but I’m only a newbie and I wouldn’t fit in’, then don’t worry! Every society is noob-friendly and they’re seriously stoked by anyone who joins with even a keen interest. Want to start your own society? Our SU loves supporting new student-led societies. If there's a society that you can't see on offer, you are welcome to apply to create it!
4. Get to know your coursemates
This one is pretty important. You’ll feel much better on the first day of your course if you see some familiar faces. Many courses set up a Facebook page/group specifically for their new starters, which is a great way to meet with students in your year group. Why not be the first to leave a comment to get the ball rolling? At BCU, you’ll be able to find this in our Welcome Week pages, which we’ll send you a link to after you enrol. Most courses at BCU run a course-specific Facebook group for each year group, but some might not. If you establish for sure that yours doesn’t, then why not create one?
5. Get a part-time job at the university
At BCU we have opportunities to work across a range of positions. Some are occasional such as becoming an ambassador at open days/applicant taster days. Other jobs are longer term – some of our students work 9 hours a week for most of the academic year. For example, our Marketing and Communications department sometimes hires students with relevant skills spanning from writing and journalism to event management and web development.
And guess what? You’ll meet students from outside of your course and accommodation bubble. Many of our students make friends this way. And the best part is, you actually get PAID for doing it.
Tip: Remember to take on work that you can balance with your studies. And while you’re having fun making friends, make sure to do the job to the best of your ability, as this usually opens the door to more opportunities.