Transfer students face some unique obstacles, and it certainly takes some nerve to move from one college to another, but transferring is not the insurmountable task people make it out to be. Of course, there may be a grain of truth to some myths—for instance, transfer students need to plan carefully and put in extra effort to meet requirements to graduate on time. But you may be asking yourself, “What’s the big myth I should really ignore?” This one: It’s hard for transfer students to make friends.
Wherever you’re coming from, colleges and universities have plenty of ways for you to meet people and build a new circle of friends on campus. Transfer students, just like their freshman counterparts, can find their niche on campus just as easily. After all, you were brave enough to transfer schools! You may find you have an advantage as a transfer student because you get a second shot at it. The college social scene, like so many facets of the experience, is what you make of it, so make the most by seeking friends in these three simple places.
1. New student orientation
Many colleges usually offer an orientation specifically for transfer students, where they’ll get a chance to bond with new classmates. If this isn’t the case, it’s likely your new school offers a new student orientation that caters to both freshmen and students transferring in. If you have the option of a transfer orientation, I’d say it’s easier to make friends amongst that smaller group because you all have one big thing in common. But a new student orientation provides just as many opportunities to get to know new people. The people you meet at orientation don’t have to become your best friends, but they can help you acclimate to campus while you find your place.
2. Your classes
Does big classroom bonding happen during freshman year? Absolutely. But don’t forget, it’s often during those upper-level, more specialized classes that give you the chance to work closely with others, particularly those in your major. Required introductory classes tend to be larger and comprised of students from different majors, so you’re really not at a disadvantage if your transfer credits have let you skip those. Certainly, great friendships can be found there, but you may never have a class with the same group again, whereas these major-specific classes will likely have you hanging around the same kids for several semesters.
3. Campus activities
One obvious way to meet people who share your interests and make new friends is to get involved in campus activities, and you should look into student groups as soon as possible after your transfer. Join a couple of your favorite groups, and you’ll find yourself getting to know and spending time with people with similar interests. Your new college may even have clubs and organizations specifically for transfer students. Even if your school doesn't hold a fall or spring activities fair (depending on when you’re transferring), you’ll probably find a directory online and/or flyers around campus advertising extracurricular opportunities. Though you may encounter some groups that only take new members once a year in the fall (such as some campus singing groups), many extracurricular organizations recruit new members at the beginning of each semester or year-round.
If you’re an outgoing person who makes friends easily, you’re probably not too worried about this myth. But if you consider yourself an introvert and wish you were a little more outgoing, this could be your chance to start anew. That doesn’t mean you have to magically transform into a chatterbox overnight, but you could find the resolve to talk to more people, join more campus groups, or raise your hand more in class this time around.
Tips for making friends are pretty universal whether you’re a transfer student or not, so check out all Our Best Advice for Having Fun and Making Friends in College to help you live your best campus life.