Now that the decision's been made, your enrollment fee's paid, and you're signed up for a summer orientation session, it's finally sinking in: you're headed off to a brand new school that's most likely way bigger than your current high school filled with strange people and places in just a few short months!
While the first few weeks of college are overwhelming to say the least, they're also super exciting, filled with all kinds of ways to meet people, some of whom could end up being friends for life! Where does a freshman begin, though? Some collegiettes are getting crafty, and using the web and other resources to meet people before officially setting foot in a college classroom. So what’s the secret to finding friends for life before life at school officially begins? Four current collegiettes weighed in on how they met people before beginning their college careers.
Get active on Facebook or your school's freshman website
Leah Palmquist, a freshman at the University of Tampa, advises signing up for and using any special websites many colleges and universities establish for their incoming freshman classes.
"At UT when we were admitted, they had a special site for all admitted freshmen called the Verandah and you could make your own profile and chat with other people on there to find and connect with people," she said. These sites help you connect with people interested in similar things at your university as well. "One thing that was kind of cool about that site was the group feature it had. You could join groups based on your major, where you were from, if you were an honors student and stuff like that," Leah explained.
There are drawbacks to sites like these, however. "It was kind of a nice first step to meeting people, but after a while no one really used it," said Leah. She said most people from the site switched over to Facebook, which offered several advantages over a site designed just for freshmen. "We had a few upperclassmen that joined our class page and would answer any questions we had about the school in general which was really helpful too," Leah noted. Call your school’s admissions office to find out if your school has an online platform like this, and search around for Facebook groups too!
Connect with your future roomie
With school-specific websites and Facebook, finding a roommate is easier than ever, even if you're miles apart. Is it worth filling out countless questionnaires and trying to strike up a conversation with someone on Facebook with the hopes of finding the person that could be one of your first college friends?
As far as finding a roommate before signing up for a dorm, Leah chose to go with a random roommate, rather than use Tampa's site or Facebook to find someone. While there are pros and cons to picking your first-ever college roommate, social media can still help you get and stay in touch with whoever you'll be sharing a space with next year.
For Leah, living with someone random ended up working out awesomely in the end. "I didn't really start connecting with people too much until we got our roommate and suitemate assignments though," she explains. "Once we got those we exchanged numbers and would talk every now and then. When we finally got to school those were really our first friends. Basically I became friends with everyone that I live near and now they're some of my best friends, even though we're all from different states and are in different majors."
Regardless of the choice you make when it comes to finding a roommate, contact your roommate as soon as you can. Introduce yourself, share your hometown, any interests or hobbies you have, and a little bit about what you plan to do at school. Establishing a friendly relationship with the person you'll be sharing your space with next semester is key, not just to make sure you don’t end up with two microwaves but no mini-fridge, but also because your roommate can help introduce you to people. She's also a great buddy to attend those first few awkward welcome week events with come the start of school, especially if neither of you know many people at your college or university. Be nice, keep an open mind, and stay in touch!