How to Make Friends Before Arriving on Campus

It's Easier Than You Think

During high school, your teen didn’t have to think much about how to make friends. Friendships developed naturally out of middle school connections, and with any luck they flourished in the classrooms and activities that were regular parts of the high school experience. But after high school graduation, lifelong friends start to go separate ways. It’s at this point that your child (whether a quiet introvert or a people-focused extrovert) may start wondering—with some nervousness—about how to make friends at college.

Fortunately, technology can empower your kid to start forming on-campus social connections weeks before arriving on campus.

how to make friends

5 strategies for students wondering how to make friends on campus:

1. Connect with your roommate weeks before college starts. 

During the summer before dorm move-in day, the college housing office will usually provide you your future roommate’s name, phone number, and email address. Reach out, introduce yourself, find each other on social media, and start talking about your room. Who will bring the dorm refrigerator? Who will bring the microwave? Is one waste basket enough or do you need two? Get to know this person a little bit ahead of time, and you’ll lay foundation for what could end up being a lifelong friendship.

2. Connect with your future college community on social media. 

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5 Ways Parents Head Off College Anxiety

This article is for you whether you’ve got a high schooler or a college student experiencing college anxiety.

When Samantha was in 10th grade, her Dad offered her a great suggestion. “Sam, why don’t we get your guidance counselor to sign you up for some college classes for next year, and you take those instead of regular high school classes? You can get real college credit for them, they’ll still count toward your high school graduation, and best of all, our state will pay for them!” Samantha hesitated, nervous apprehension squeezing at her stomach and working its way up to her chest and throat. It was her first experience with college anxiety. “I don’t know, Dad—couldn’t I just take a couple of AP classes instead?”

Don’t let your child retreat into AP classes to avoid college anxiety.

AP classes are the least dependable way to earn college credit in high school.

Contrary to popular belief, AP classes are not typically “easier than real college classes.” Think about it. Would you want to study a subject for months and months, and then have your success or failure depend on performing well on one big test at the end?

And then, after all that work, you find out that the college you’ll be attending may not even accept your hard-won AP credit?

That’s enough to exacerbate even the mildest case of college anxiety.

Here are 5 ways parents can head off college anxiety. (Number 5 is a big one.)

1. Emphasize that college success isn’t about how smart you are, it’s about how organized you are.

Your son is worried that he’s not smart enough for college. All kids are. If you went to college yourself, tell him that you really started being successful at college when you learned to use a calendar and make lists of tasks you had to do. Emphasize that organization is something anyone can learn.

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12th Grader’s Got No Career Direction? Do This—Right Now.

This article on career direction for 12th graders was originally published here on March 11th, 2015. It was updated and republished here on December 7th, 2018.

Your 12th grader hasn’t yet figured out “what he wants to do with his life,” and it’s making you nervous. You absolutely don’t want him living in your basement next year—partially for fear he’ll turn into one of those 20something kids floundering through their 20’s without jobs that actually allow them to support themselves.

Don’t lose another night’s sleep over this. You can help your child take aim and shoot at an exciting future that’s beautifully suited to him.

7 Ways to Help a 12th Grader Who Needs Career Direction

1. Get your child three specific career assessments as soon as possible. I’ll help you.

I clearly explain why and how in chapter 13 of my book, LAUNCH: How to Get Your Kids Through College Debt-Free and Into Jobs They Love Afterward

To see which assessments I recommend and where to find a certified practitioner to administer them, visit the Approved Consultants tab on this website.

I’m convinced that having this career direction work done before starting college can save your family $50,000 in tuition payments for unneeded college classes.

If your child doesn’t want to take career assessments, read this article on paying teens to do things.

2. What was your son’s personality type on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator? INTP? ESFJ? Read the chapter on that personality type in the book Do What You Are.

I love the book Do What You Are by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron, and Kelly Tieger. This book will provide a huge number of possible career goals for your son based on how his personality type thinks, works, and processes information.

3. Your child’s still resistant to the idea of taking career assessments, even when you offer to pay him to take them? Do this.

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