How To Succeed in College/Friends

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Like-Minded Others[edit]

Friends tend to be similar to each other, particularly in their interests and attitudes. As a result, one of the best ways to meet people and make friends in college is to join clubs or student organizations that reflect your interests. Members of those organizations are also likely to share your interests, increasing the odds of those people becoming your friends.

Proximity Matters[edit]

Many individuals feel that they choose the people with whom they surround themselves. Research is starting to show that may not be the case. Using students in an introductory psychology course, research is beginning to indicate that proximity is important too.[1] The students were randomly assigned a seat number, then were asked to step forward beginning on the right hand side of the classroom and introduce themselves. The rest of the class was asked to evaluate the person introducing him/herself on two scales: (1) "How likeable do you find this person?" and (2) "Would you like to get to know this person?" The researchers then tested what the relation to sitting near each other had on the students' friendships one year later. What they found was individuals had a higher chance of becoming and remaining friends by just sitting near each other as opposed to individuals who sat nowhere near one another. While friendships are heavily determined by like-minded thinking, simply being near someone can lead to the creation of a friendship.[1]


Meeting one’s spouse in college, while it can and does happen in some cases, is not as common as one might think. As one statistic showed, only 10% of people felt college was their best chance of meeting a spouse, leaving 90% of people believing love can be found elsewhere. Recent research suggests that it is more likely college students will meet their spouses later on in life (through work, friends, etc.). Also, given the recent trend in college students returning to live with their parents after college - 83% do for some period of time - this also reduces the odds of marriage. Of the 17% of graduates who do live on their own after college, 42% of them are married or living with someone they met in college.[2][3]

The low percentage of people meeting their spouse in college may also be related to maturity differences between men and women, since women are more likely to settle down at a younger age than men.[4] While still relatively low odds, there are certain groups that are more likely to meet their spouse in college: Caucasians are twice as likely as African Americans and men are more likely to marry a former classmate than are women.[5]


  1. a b Back, Mitja D., Stefan C. Schmukle, and Boris Egloff. 2008. “Becoming Friends by Chance.” Psychological Science 19(5):439-440.
  2. Roksa, Josipa, and Richard Arum. "Life after College: The Challenging Transitions of the Academically Adrift Cohort." Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning. 44:4, p8-14 2012
  3. Steinberg, Stephanie. "Saying 'I do' while studying at the 'U'." CNN. 8 Aug. 2011.
  4. Wei , Clarissa. "For some, getting married in college is worth it." USA Today. 2 Mar. 2012.
  5. Dustin, . "Getting Married in College." Engaged Marriage. Accessed: 2 Mar. 2013.