Advice for Students Who Want to Find Belonging in College

Marilyn Gardner, Lawyer
2 min readJul 20, 2023

The college experience is not just about academics; it’s also about finding a sense of belonging and connection within the campus community. Feeling a sense of belonging is essential for students’ overall well-being, academic success, and personal growth during college.

Seek Out Supportive Relationships

One of the key factors in feeling a sense of belonging in college is building meaningful and supportive relationships with peers, faculty, and staff. Engage in campus clubs, organizations, or interest groups that align with your passions and values. These communities can offer a sense of camaraderie and provide opportunities for shared experiences and growth.

Participate in Campus Activities

Immerse yourself in campus life by participating in various extracurricular activities and events. Attend orientation programs, seminars, workshops, and cultural gatherings. Involvement in campus activities fosters connections and exposes you to diverse perspectives and experiences, broadening your horizons.

Engage with Faculty and Advisors

Positive relationships with faculty members and academic advisors can significantly enhance your college experience. Seek mentorship from professors who share your academic interests and career goals. Regularly communicate with your academic advisor to ensure you are on track with your coursework and plans.

Embrace Diversity and Inclusivity

Colleges are melting pots of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and perspectives. Embrace this diversity and seek opportunities to learn from others who may have different life experiences than your own. Engaging with individuals from diverse backgrounds fosters empathy, promotes understanding, and enriches your college experience.

Create Your Support Network

Building a support network is crucial for finding belonging in college. Identify individuals who uplift and support you emotionally, academically, and mentally. This network can include friends, roommates, classmates, or campus counselors. A support system can help you navigate challenges and celebrate successes during your college journey.

Practice Self-Compassion

Adjusting to college life can be challenging, and it’s sometimes okay to feel overwhelmed. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion. Understand that it is normal to face ups and downs, and reaching out for support is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Finding a sense of belonging in college is critical to the overall college experience. Remember that it is normal to take time to find your place, and the college journey is a process of growth and self-discovery. By actively engaging in college life and building meaningful connections, you can create a fulfilling and enriching college experience beyond the classroom.

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