Making Friends and Building Community in the Dorms: A Guide for College Students

Navigating the college search can be thrilling yet overwhelming, particularly in terms of forging new friendships and fostering a sense of belonging within the dormitories. As students embark on this journey, the dorm experience often marks their initial venture into independent living, presenting an exclusive chance to establish significant bonds with fellow peers. The following article provides effective strategies for making friends and building community in the dorms, drawing on insights from experts and experienced college students.

Be Open and Approachable

One of the most important factors in making friends in college is being open and approachable. Remember that everyone is in the same boat, adjusting to a new environment and looking to make connections. Take the initiative to introduce yourself to your dormmates, strike up conversations in common areas like the lounge or kitchen, and attend dormitory events and social activities.

Get Involved in Activities

Dormitory activities and events provide excellent opportunities to meet new people and build connections with your peers. Whether it’s a movie night, game tournament, or study group, participating in these activities allows you to bond with others over shared interests and experiences. Keep an eye out for flyers or announcements about upcoming events and make an effort to attend and/or get involved in planning.

Respect Boundaries and Differences

In a dormitory setting, you’ll be living in close quarters with people from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. It’s essential to respect each other’s boundaries, privacy, and differences. Be mindful of noise levels, cleanliness, and shared spaces, and communicate openly and respectfully with your dormmates about any concerns or issues that arise. Building a positive and respectful living environment is important for fostering trust and camaraderie among dorm residents.

Create Study Groups and Support Networks

College can be academically challenging, and having a support network of fellow students can make a big difference in your success. Consider forming study groups with your dormmates to review course material, work on assignments, and prepare for exams together. Not only does studying in a group provide academic support, but it also strengthens friendships and fosters a sense of camaraderie among group members.

Explore Shared Interests and Hobbies

Finding common interests and hobbies with your dormmates is a great way to bond and build friendships. Whether you enjoy playing sports, exploring the outdoors, or pursuing creative endeavors, seek out those who share your passions and interests. Joining clubs, intramural sports teams, or special interest groups on campus can also connect you with like-minded individuals outside of the dormitory setting.

Be Patient and Persistent

Building friendships and a sense of community takes time, so be patient and persistent in your efforts to connect with others in the dorms. Don’t get discouraged if friendships don’t form immediately or if you encounter setbacks along the way. Keep putting yourself out there, attending events, and reaching out to new people, and you’ll soon find your tribe.

Be a Good Neighbor

Being a good neighbor in the dorms goes a long way toward building a positive living environment and fostering community spirit. Take the time to get to know your neighbors, be considerate of noise levels and shared spaces, and offer help or support when needed. Small acts of kindness and consideration can go a long way in creating a sense of belonging and camaraderie among dorm residents.

Take Advantage of Resident Advisors and Resources

Many college dormitories have resident advisors (RAs) who are there to support and assist students living in the dorms. RAs can provide guidance, resources, and support for navigating college life, resolving conflicts, and building community within the dormitory. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your RA if you need assistance or advice, or if you’re looking for opportunities to get involved in dormitory activities and initiatives.


Making friends and building community in the dorms is an essential aspect of the college experience. By being open and approachable, getting involved in dorm activities, respecting boundaries and differences, creating study groups and support networks, exploring shared interests and hobbies, being patient and persistent, being a good neighbor, and taking advantage of resident advisors and resources, you can forge meaningful connections and find a sense of belonging in your college dormitory. Remember that building friendships and community takes time and effort, but the bonds you form in the dorms can last a lifetime.