College Social Life: What Students Must Know About Personal Growth and Making Friends
Your college social life may not be a top priority. After all, you attend college to get an education. But there’s more than one type of education and not prioritizing your social life is a missed opportunity.
This is your chance to be challenged by ideas, exposed to new cultures, and grow as a person. How you handle the social aspects is every bit as important as what you study or which internship you’re able to land.
In the following article, we’ll be discussing the key elements you should know before leaving for college. Take these to heart and get the most from your college experience!
Percent of Students Identifying As Persons of Color
Think about the town where you grew up. If it was a larger town, then you probably had a great deal of diversity. But if you were like many students, it was probably a smaller, homogenous setting where the people you hung out around looked, acted, and thought the same ways that you did.
College offers a great opportunity to get out of this mold. That’s why we recommend looking into the demographics of the university you plan on attending. If you know the amount and types of diversity you’ll experience, then you will have an easier time assimilating to a non-homogenous environment. And it’ll open so many doors for the person you’re meant to become.
Religious Affiliations of Students
We all have our beliefs systems that we’re brought up with. College is a great time to assess where we’ve been and where we’re going from a spiritual standpoint. (Even if that means finding you no longer connect with any of those teachings and doctrines.)
This is the time to make your faith your own. Learning the various active religious organizations on campus will help you do this. It’s also useful in finding those with similar beliefs if you need that extra bit of encouragement when transitioning to what you will become.
Number of Undergraduates Receiving Financial Aid
With student loan debt so high, it might seem impossible that there are any students not receiving financial aid. Even so, look into how many are getting it, what types of aid it is, and which socioeconomic backgrounds they are. This will give you a clear idea of where you stand in relation to your peers. It also highlights the opportunities available.
Males to Females
You love who you love. Nevertheless, knowing the male-to-female ratio could be a factor you look at if you’re going to college to find a soulmate. Just be sure that’s not the only reason you’re going It’s also useful to know the M2F ratio if you feel more (or less) comfortable with your own gender.
Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Students
These particular groups have historically found it difficult finding acceptance as well as the proper resources to deal with the downside of societal reaction. While we still have a long way to go, that’s thankfully changing for the better, especially on college campuses.
When doing your research, look into the transgender and gender nonbinary population. This may be something you’re dealing with yourself, so it can be useful in that regard. It also can be useful to know if you’re not but would simply like to be prepared for responsibly navigating social situations.
Age Range of Undergraduates
How many students are going to be in your age group? This is useful information from a communications standpoint as you’ll all likely be exposed to the same cultural aspects. The more you have to draw from, the better chance you have of making great new friends.
With universities in border towns, it’s not uncommon to see large numbers of students from across the state line. Knowing the size of your out-of-state population as well as the feeder states primarily responsible for them will better prepare you to interact with those particular individuals in a social setting.
International Students Population
See “Out-of-State Population.” One thing we would add here is that there will likely be a larger learning curve when trying to break through completely different cultures. But knowing what to expect ahead of time will give you the insight needed to make new meaningful relationships with international students.
First College Attendees
Are you the first person in your family to go to college? How many others are in the same boat? That can be useful information to have as you step out into the social sphere as it gives you and others a common experience on which you can build.
Check with your university ahead of time on all the factors mentioned above. If your Admissions Office can’t provide the information, they can likely guide you to the departments that can. Once you have an overview of your school’s layout, it’s time to think about practical ways that you can grow your social circle. Here are some suggestions.
This venue will be the easiest opportunity to expand your social network. Show up to class often. Learn the people and personalities you’re dealing with. Introduce yourself to people you might not have interacted with back home. This is your chance to break free from the preset social constructs of high school.
Through Clubs and Organizations
Clubs and organizations connect you with a lot of people who have the same goals and interests. Even so, there can be enough diversity in thought and background to help you expand your horizons while making a friend for life.
At Special Events
College sporting events, on-campus concerts or entertainment programs, and political outings are all beneficial for growing your friends and acquaintances. Keep up with the official Events Calendar as well as any social media events that are advertised to take advantage of more opportunities.
Nurturing Older Relationships
Through it all, don’t forget to hold onto the relationships from back home that really matter to you. It may be only one friend that you retain, but that friend can pay social dividends your entire life. Social media, text messages, email, and video calls make it easier than ever before to keep these relationships strong.
Your College Social Life Is Integral to the Experience
Hopefully by now you see the importance of a healthy college social life. Whatever you do, find the balance. Don’t let your studies slip. But do make time for it, and try to break free from the comfort zone you experienced growing up. Good luck!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]