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How to make friends as a transfer student

University of the Pacific students walk to class together on the Stockton Campus.

Transferring to a new university can be a big adjustment. Whether you’re moving from a community college or another university, or you’re returning to school to finish your degree, you’ll be entering an unfamiliar environment. Making a new friend group and learning your way around campus can be challenging when you’re the new kid on the block.  

Fortunately, you’re not alone. In fact, about 2.1 million undergraduate students transferred between institutions in academic year 2020-21. There are literally millions of students just like you navigating similar changes around the nation, so embrace the journey and check out these tried-and-true strategies for how to make more friends and feel connected. 

Take advantage of your classes 

  • Talk to people in your class. Striking up conversations with classmates might feel uncomfortable at first, but making friends requires you to put yourself out there. Simply introducing yourself could be the first step in meeting your next best friend.
  • “What if my classes are online?”  
    Don’t worry. The same principle applies to virtual settings. Leaving a comment on a classmate’s discussion post or sending a DM about a homework assignment are low stakes ways to make  connections. 
  • Create a study group. Everyone could use a little extra studying. Schedule a time and place for you and your classmates to get together and study. This is a great way to build camaraderie among your peers and make studying more enjoyable for everyone. Your classmates will appreciate that you took the initiative to bring everyone together. 
  • Attend tutoring sessions. Tutoring is a fantastic way to meet new people while getting academic support. Tutors are often fellow students who have previously taken the courses they tutor for and can offer valuable insight to help you succeed.  

“Make a group chat with your classmates for every course you’re taking. Although it might be nerve-racking to ask your classmates for their number, it’s beneficial in getting to know them both personally and academically in the long run. I think that group chats allow you to bond more and cheer each other on when taking a difficult course.” 

Paloma Morales ’25, Pacific English major and transfer student

Get involved on campus 

  • Join a club. Most universities have events at the beginning of each semester showcasing the different clubs and organizations on campus. Use these as opportunities to seek out clubs that pique your interest and attend a few meetings. This is a great way to meet people with shared interests and explore new hobbies.  
  • Take leadership in student government. The job of the associated student body is to advocate for all students—including transfer students. So why not take an active role in driving discussions that shape the collective student experience? Transfer students contribute a wealth of knowledge and life experience that can aid in creating a more inclusive and enriching student experience for everyone. 
  • Go Greek. Joining a sorority or fraternity offers a unique opportunity to cultivate lifelong friendships, develop leadership skills and engage in meaningful acts of service. Most universities have several Greek organizations with social, multicultural or professional focuses. Greek life can dramatically enrich your college experience by creating a community where you bond over shared interests and values. 
  • Play on an intramural sports team. No matter how athletic you are, getting involved in recreational sports is a great way to meet students from different majors and class years. Between all the hours spent practicing and playing, you are sure to form friendships with your teammates. 
  • Attend events. Like most universities, Pacific always has a robust calendar of events happening on and off campus. Immersing yourself in these events will enhance your social circle and familiarize you with college traditions and culture.  Participating in events also strengthens bonds with fellow students and alumni that can continue long after college. 

Go off-campus

  • Volunteer. Get involved by volunteering on campus or in the local community. Universities are always looking for volunteers to help with events or service projects. Volunteering is also a great way to make new connections and add valuable experience to your resume. By helping others, you also help yourself. 
  • Take a trip. Through campus recreation services, students have the chance to go on extended weekend trips that include camping, hiking, visiting amusement parks and more. Spending time outdoors in groups creates shared memories and helps break down social barriers.

For the fullest experience, live on campus 

Living on campus is the best way to become fully immersed in college life. Residence halls are designed to promote personal growth and belonging through shared amenities, social lounges planned activities and more.  

Introduce yourself to your neighbor and ask what their major is, where they are from, what they like to do on campus – or where the best taco spot is. These are great questions to ask new friends and help you get acquainted with the people living on your floor.  

At Pacific, students who share similar interests or backgrounds can live together in Living Learning Communities. There’s even a Transitions Living Learning Community designed for transfer students, military and veteran students, and students who are starting school during the spring term. 

Remember, no matter how long they’ve been on campus, nearly everyone is looking for friendship. So be kind to yourself and trust the process. Transitioning to a new college can present a lot of challenges, but making new friends doesn’t need to be one of them. 

Take the next step and learn more about student life at Pacific

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