How to Find Your College Tribe
The Transition From High School To College Can Be Isolating...
Not only are students going through a huge life change, but they’re also faced with leaving old friends and finding new ones. “Finding their tribe,” the process of finding their closest, most consistent friends, is a task that every high school student must prepare for alongside getting ready for college.
This process asks students to put themselves out there, try new things, and be the first to introduce themselves. Everyone struggles with this kind of forwardness at least once in their lives, so this guide attempts to show you how you can encourage your child as they begin to find their college tribe!
A Whole New Experience
As your child wraps up their senior year of high school and looks towards beginning life as a college student, it’s important that you remind them of a few key points early so they’re not blindsided by the college experience.
At times, college will feel very different from high school. It’s likely that your student won’t be prepared for the larger class sizes, the multiple courses to choose from, or even something as common as moving away from home for the first time. If college does anything, it takes students out of their comfort zone.
It can be helpful for students to think of college as a full reset of their social life, too. While they may still keep in touch with their friends from high school, for the most part, their social lives will be a clean slate. This clean slate is exciting, but it can seem lonely and isolating at first which can be detrimental to your student’s mental health and positive attitude in the midst of an already-difficult adjustment.
Finding a tribe takes time, so the earlier your student can start, the better! Plus, there are plenty of ways that they can start the process before they even arrive at college.
5 Ways To Find Your College Tribe
Remind your child that finding their college tribe can’t be a forced process. While it does require effort, it’s something that happens on its own, organically. It’s also an all-encompassing process. From the college they choose to attend all the way to where they choose to live, every factor of this major transition in their life will contribute to their success in finding their tribe.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT COLLEGE
Remind your child that finding their college tribe begins as early as the college they choose to attend. Our counselors at WeAdmit can’t stress enough how important it is for students to find their best-fit college.
From programs offered to campus culture, if your student attends a college that isn’t a good fit for their personality, goals, and interests, they might have a more difficult time finding like-minded people who will become their tribe. Every college campus has a personality of its own, and many students who visit campuses during their junior or senior year can tell pretty quickly if they will thrive at certain colleges.
UTILIZE SOCIAL MEDIA
We live in a social media world - most people have it, and almost everyone uses it for something in their lives, whether it’s personal, school, or work-related. Encourage your child to utilize their social media time to their advantage by building college connections early.
Encourage them to join chat rooms, group pages, and online hangouts for incoming freshmen. This is one of the best ways for students to introduce themselves to others without the added pressure of face-to-face contact. They may even hit it off with some other students and make plans to meet up before the school year starts!
For students, finding their college tribe is all about putting themselves out there. From their dorm life to student activity groups, being the first to speak up and start a conversation is the most effective way to meet people and build meaningful relationships.
Encourage your child to join clubs, try activities they’re not familiar with, and talk to the people that surround them every day. Nothing will happen if students wait for other people to take initiative; they need to make those moments happen if they want to find their tribe!
Joining groups that are outside their comfort zone or participating in activities that they aren’t necessarily good at can be extremely effective in making friends because it forces them to rely on other people’s guidance. Being bad at an activity is actually really freeing and fun, and it can be great at getting them to let their guard down too!
However, it’s also a great idea to join an activity group that focuses on something that your child is very interested in or already skilled at. This will bring opportunities for leadership and refinement in their already-existing skills. They may even be able to provide guidance for any other students who are trying groups outside of their comfort zone, too!
Lastly, encourage your child to be patient if their college tribe doesn’t reveal itself right away. Social dynamics can’t be predicted or controlled sometimes, and it’s very normal for students to feel like it’s taking a long time for them to find their friends.
As long as they continue to participate in social events and keep putting themselves out there, they will experience the fruit of their labor eventually!
Finding Your Tribe
Every student needs their “tribe”; their go-to group of friends that they can do anything with, talk to about everything, and experience the four years of college together. As you guide your child through this tough transition, remind them that the keys to discovering these people are found in patience, persistence, and forwardness.
Finding a college tribe is an all-encompassing process; make sure your child is confident in their college choice and encourage them to connect with other students online before they even arrive on campus. Remind them to join activity groups, whether they excel at the activity or not, strike up conversations, and to not be afraid to put themselves out there.
Of course, if you or your child have any questions along the way regarding transitions or finding their tribe, WeAdmit’s professional counselors are experts in this area and are standing by to help, ready to aid you through this life-changing process!
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