How to Make a Big University Feel Smaller

As a freshman in college, nothing can be more intimidating than a big school. Throughout the past few years at a huge university, I have learned some of the best ways to make a big school feel smaller. Here are my best tips:


I cannot stress enough how incredibly important this is. When you are at a large university, sometimes it can be hard to find ways to seek out smaller communities. I highly suggest attending your school’s club fair, look online for different organizations or reach out to friends and see what they are getting involved in.

Participate in class

Ok, I know that sometimes speaking up in class can be intimidating, but it can also do more than just help your grade. When you participate in classes, especially smaller discussion courses, you get into conversations with the people around you and even if you don’t become best friends, it is always nice to see a familiar face around campus.

Join Greek Life

This is 100% a personal choice, and I know that Greek Life isn't for everyone. I know hundreds of people who absolutely thrive at their schools without being involved in a sorority or fraternity. However, if it is something that you are even slightly interested in, I would say to give it a shot. If a social fraternity or sorority is not something that peaks your interest, there are also professional fraternities as well that focus on specific career paths (engineering, law, public policy, etc). Those are a great alternative (or additional) way to get involved in Greek Life!

Keep in touch

That one person you sat next to in your Intro to Statistics class may not seem all that important, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a good person to keep in touch with. This doesn’t mean that you need to text them every day and be best friends, but to keep those connections in the case that they are in another class of yours is more important than you might realize. You also never know if those people could become good friends of yours outside of the academic aspect of school!

Seek out students in large classes

When you are in large lectures, making friends with the people around you is fairly crucial to having a positive class experience. Should you not understand something, miss a day of classes or want someone to study with, you have those people! Also, chances are that if they are in your major, you will have classes with them more than once in your four years of college!

Talk to your professors

Your social life isn’t the only thing that can be intimidating in college. The reality is that for the first few years of college, and sometimes all the way through, you are nothing but your student ID number to your professor. The best way to avoid this is to participate in large lectures, but more importantly, to attend their office hours and make sure that they know exactly who you are and know the effort that you are putting into their class!

Talk to people in your dorms

Unfortunately, I missed out on the dorm life. This is something that has actually had a pretty big impact on me, as I often see people whose best friends are ones that they met in their dorm. You can get very close to people that live on your hall, so if you have that opportunity I would definitely suggest taking it!

These 7 tips should be enough to get you started, but the reality is that you will learn the ways that work best for you to build a small community within your school. These tips all work for smaller universities as well! Enjoy your 4 years, they go by faster than you know.


Images courtesy of: Chloe Wallach and Wikipedia