How to Make Friends as a Transfer Student

Making meaningful friendships comes with its challenges, but as a transfer student at a new high school or college, it can be especially difficult.

You may have met people here and there, but those connections have never evolved past being just acquaintances. It seems like everyone you meet belongs to a friendship group already, and it leaves you feeling like an outsider.

If you live off-campus, you won’t have the same opportunities to socialize as you would if you were a freshman staying in a dorm. You’ve realized that if you want to meet new people, you’re going to need to put in the extra effort.

To help make adjusting a little easier on you, try out the advice shared in this article. You’ll be encouraged to know that it is possible to find friends as a transfer student. You just need to know where to look and how to go about it.


  1. 6 ways to make friends as a transfer student
  2. Common questions

6 ways to make friends as a transfer student

If you are about to become a transfer student and are concerned about making new friends, or whether you already are a transfer student who is struggling, these tips will be very helpful for you. They apply to high school students, college students, and students in study abroad programs.

Here are 6 tips for how you can make friends as a transfer student:

1. Find a club

An easy way to find like-minded people who could become great friends is to join a club. It is less intimidating finding friends this way. Why? Because it’s a given that you’ll have a common interest connecting you from the start.

Check out your high school or college website to see if any of the clubs listed interest you. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, art, religion, or anything else, there’s sure to be a club for you!

Even if there is nothing that 100% appeals to you, give something a try anyway. You may find a new hobby in addition to some new friends.

2. Talk to your classmates

Classes are a very convenient place to meet new friends. You will see the people you take classes with regularly, and you may even have similar schedules to them. This will make it easier to find time to hang out.

If there is someone you speak to often in class, then next time, take a leap of faith and ask them to grab coffee or lunch after class.

You could even gather a group of classmates to hang out together after class. Why not be the one who brings people together? If you ask one person to hang out and they say yes, let your other classmates know about your plans and invite them to join, too. The more the merrier!

If you are shy, you might like this article on how to make friends when you are shy.

3. Attend the transfer student orientation

Most colleges and schools will organize some kind of orientation or mixer for their transfer students. Attending this would help you meet other transfers who are in the same boat as you.

The other transfers probably have no friends at this stage either, and they will probably be very open to making new friends.

So don’t feel embarrassed to go and meet others who can relate to what you’re going through. Exchange numbers with people you click with at the event and make plans to meet up with them. This article on how to ask someone to hang out can give some extra ideas.

4. Try a new sport

If you want to make new friends and get more involved in your college or high school community, then joining a sports team is the way to go.

You will meet people who enjoy the same activity as you do. This will create a bonding experience and an opportunity for good friendships to develop.

Joining a sports team will also provide you with a sense of community because sports teams usually hang out together outside of game time. You can be sure that there will be many social events for you to attend as a team.

5. Volunteer for a worthy cause

Volunteering will not only help you make new friends, it will also help beat any loneliness you’re experiencing in the interim.[1] Research shows that volunteering is also great for physical health, and it can even help reduce the negative effects of stress.

A simple Google search will help you find a local outreach project that resonates with you. Maybe you’d like to work in children’s education, animal welfare, or with the homeless. There are so many charities that need help.

Another great benefit is that you can probably expect to meet some compassionate and kind-hearted people volunteering alongside you. These sound like characteristics anyone would love in a friend.

6. Go to events

If you’re serious about making new friends as a transfer student, then you need to put yourself out there. You need to make an effort to be around other people, and you need to take the initiative and talk to them.

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Make it your mission to find out about student events that are happening on and off-campus. Check out your university or school website, and browse their social media pages to see what events are coming up.

Make a decision to attend at least one event per week and to talk to at least one or two people while you’re there.

If you want more tips on how to make new friends as a student, you may also find our article on how to make friends in college helpful.

Common questions

Is it possible to make friends as a transfer student?

While it is more challenging to make friends as a transfer student, it certainly is possible. The only catch is that you’ll need to make more of an effort. You’ll need to step out of your comfort zone and do more of the initiating since most people will already be part of a friendship group.

How can I adjust to life as a transfer student?

You can make life easier for yourself as a transfer student by getting involved in your school or college community. Join a club or sports team that interests you, and you will start to meet people and feel more integrated sooner.

How do I befriend a new transfer student?

Go to an orientation or mixer for new transfer students and speak to the students there. Start your own support group or meetup event for other transfer students looking to make friends just like you!

How can I make friends as an older transfer student?

Don’t assume that because the other students are younger than you, you won’t click with them. Common interests can connect people of all ages. So, when you meet new people—no matter their age—try to establish common ground and take it from there.

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Kirsty Britz has a Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of New York in Prague, Training in Person-Centered Counselling, and a Career Coaching Certification. Read more.

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