Students sitting on steps outside and laughing

Ways to make new friends at uni

Meet other students in freshers' week, at uni events, in your accommodation and on your course

A big part of settling in at university is meeting new people and making friends. When you arrive, you'll get plenty of help – from the University and the Students' Union – to make friends.

Your first couple of weeks will be full of events to help you meet people. At Freshers' Fair, you'll find out about clubs and societies where you can meet students with similar interests.

Whatever you're studying, you'll meet people with different interests and hobbies who'll become close friends. You could meet them in your halls, on your course or in the local community. They'll make up your new social and support network.

Making friends at uni

A lot of other students will be trying to meet people and make new friends when they arrive at university. Feeling nervous is normal and it helps to remember that other people are in the same boat as you – bear that in mind, and it'll give you the confidence to make the first move.

In your halls of residence

Your accommodation is one of the first places you'll meet new people when you arrive at uni.

Our halls of residence are buzzing every September with everybody hoping to make new friends. If you're in private accommodation, you're likely to have housemates who'll want to chat and get to know you.

When you're in your room, leave your door open so you can say hello to housemates as they walk past. It's more welcoming than keeping it closed and housemates are more likely to say hi through an open door than knock on a closed one.

Find opportunities to talk to your new roomies. If you see a new housemate struggling to carry their stuff in, offer to help carry their belongings. You'll probably strike up a conversation and might make your first friend.

Once you've met people in your accommodation, you could offer to cook a meal, suggest going out as a group, walk with them to lectures or organise a weekend day trip.

Sam Shaw; 11th June 2019; Portsmouth Photoshoot
Two students leaning against barriers that look over the sea, laughing
Group of students smile in technology facilities

During Freshers' Week

Freshers' Week will give you many opportunities to meet people at uni, with lots of events taking place all week. You'll meet sports clubs and societies who are recruiting new students and want to meet you.

Keep an eye on the Students' Union website for freshers events and ask your housemates if they're attending any you might like.

You'll get to talk to some of our welcome ambassadors – current students who can share their experiences of uni. If you want advice before you arrive at Portsmouth, you can ask questions to our welcome ambassadors on Facebook and Instagram.

After the dust settles from Freshers' Week, keep an eye on the university and Students' Union website for other events, especially in your first few weeks. You could meet like-minded people attending the same guest lectures, at a networking lunch or on a pub crawl.

When at an event, talk to different people as well as the ones you arrived with. If you stay in the same group, other people might think you're not open to making new friends.

On your course

You're at uni to get a degree, but classes are also a great way to meet new people and make friends.

Instead of sitting alone during lectures, ask if you can sit next to someone. When you get to your seminars, sit at group tables with other students. The time before the lecturer arrives is the perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and learn new names.

You might start to see the same faces at lectures. When this happens, ask them if they want to grab a coffee after class instead of heading straight home.

You can also see if anyone wants to set up a library study group so you can bounce ideas off each other, rather than going home to study on your own.

L-0319-Library Shoot

In a society or sports team

When you start university, you'll automatically become a member of the Students' Union. Visit the Union website and see if there are any societies or sports teams that interest you. Sign up for something you're interested in even if you have little experience. Most groups welcome beginners.

If you want to play competitive sport, you can join an official sports club that takes part in competitions. Team sports are an ideal way to make friends.

Humanities; Graduation; July 2019

Being part of a society is always fun and a great way to make friends. I was part of the Arts and Crafts Society, where we met once a week and did different crafts, talked and relaxed. I also took part in the student associate scheme where I volunteered in a primary school twice a week for a while.

Lyncia Mande, BA (Hons) English Language and Linguistics

By volunteering

Volunteering in the local community is another great way to meet new people. Volunteering can also help you add valuable experiences to your CV. When you volunteer, you'll contribute to local causes you're passionate about and meet other people with the same interests.

Through mutual friends

One way to meet new people at uni is to ask current friends if they know anyone who already goes to your uni. The best thing about meeting a friend of a friend is that you already have your current friend in common.

Put a post up on social media when you arrive at uni, asking if anyone knows anyone at your uni or living in your city.

Three students smiling and sitting outside on red bench
Up for Uni Residential; June 2019

Tips for making friends in your first year

Once you start meeting people at uni, there are a few methods that make it easier to make friends:

  • Say yes to new experiences – go to lunch or an event when asked as this will help you get to know new people better
  • Be welcoming – be open, friendly and warm when meeting people at uni, especially if you enjoy their company
  • Spend time in different friendship groups – don't confine yourself to 1 group if you get along with different people
  • Remember you're not alone – the majority of people you meet are also looking for new friends so approach others who might be shy or nervous
  • Listen – take the time to listen and show interest in other people and they'll often show the same kindness to you