College is a significant period in your life; it doesn’t matter whether you’re straight out of high school, or going back to learn new skills, many of the people you get to know at college will become friends for life. You meet like-minded folks who share your interests and ambitions, you grow intellectually and personally together; with a firm foundation like that it’s no wonder than college friendships can last a lifetime.
A problem faced by all online colleges is that prospective students may be put off remote learning because they fear missing out on these friendships and experiences. This perception or assumption is wrong! You can make friends just as easily while studying an online program, and here’s how…
- Research your peers – Once you’ve signed up, do a little research to figure out who lives where. Don’t be shy! You wouldn’t be shy if you were trying to make friends and connections on campus would you?
- Be assertive, introduce yourself – Send out an email to the students you’ve identified as being relatively local. Introduce yourself, exchange phone numbers, and Skype addresses; mention that you’d be interested in developing…
- …Study Groups – Suggest some convenient public meeting places to study initially, maybe on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Mix study time with get-to-know-you time. Not only will this enable you to foster some new friendships, it will also help you with your program.
- Networking works – As well as trying to make friends on your program, try joining reputable websites like meetup.com; you’ll find hundreds of groups of people meeting up with various common shared interests in cities all across the country.
- Participate – Ask questions and participate in discussions in class; offer to pitch in and help others. Be someone who others can count on.
- Don’t forget your old friends! – A benefit of an online degree is that you don’t have to leave your old friends behind. These friends will form an important support system when things aren’t going your way; so don’t forget about them just because your situation may have changed.
Here are two important things to remember:
- Having friends at college can help you attain better grades, and make the whole experience more enjoyable, so make an effort to get out there and meet people!
- Your best friends in life will be those with whom you share common interests and compatible personalities; so if you’re going back to school don’t worry about age, you’re making friends with a person not a number.
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