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Isabel Chun / Columbia Daily Spectator

College away from campus is a new but not impossible concept. With this semester taking a remote form, we lose the in-person aspect of socializing. Luckily for you, we have compiled some tips and resources to help you make friends from a distance.

Columbia Virtual Campus

Campus life looks different for all of us now, mainly because most of us aren’t there. But now, campus life is brought to you, thanks to Columbia Virtual Campus. Created by a team of Columbia students, this website provides a variety of resources and fosters a new sense of community in response to the remote conditions of the school year. Some features on the website include

– a weekly workshop hosted by Design@Columbia called Figma Fridays for students who want to learn how to create their own digital prototype and get help with online designing.

– “Freshmen Socials,” where you get paired with an upperclassman host and grouped with other first-years who share your interests.

If you want to host your own virtual event or network with others, you can! Just request to plan an event, submit a topic and time, and Columbia Virtual Campus will host it on their website.


Designed for students in Columbia College and the School of Engineering and Applied Science, StudBud provides virtual study groups for students. With almost 300 study groups created for more than 1,000 courses, StudBud has become a valuable resource to many students. All you have to do is complete a survey and StudBud will work to match you with a study group. Groups for the fall semester are already assigned, but look out for sign-ups for the spring semester.

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are always a great starting point for befriending people. Search for other Columbia students to follow and send them a message! First-years can also connect with their peers and learn more about resources, virtual events, and links to other student group chats through the Columbia Class of 2024 and Barnard College Class of 2024 Facebook groups.

Friend-dating apps

In addition to the obvious social media platforms, friend dating apps are another way. Whether it’s within the Columbia community or with students from other schools, here are some useful apps to help you along your platonic matchmaking journey.

FriendMatch: A friend-making app that can connect you to people nearby or around the world through similar interests, age, gender, and location.

Bumble BFF: The platonic version of Bumble, except this time, you can only swipe on people who share your gender identity.

Friender: A friend app that yields activity-based connections only! When you add your interests to your profile, Friender will only show  users who share at least one interest with you.

Hey! VINA: Also known as “Tinder for (Girl) Friends,” Hey! VINA connects you to a community of new friends based on shared interests, experiences, age, and location.

Atleto: Need a workout buddy or missing your teammates this year? Find a workout buddy near you or create your own team with Atleto, the app where students can meet IRL based on sport and workout preferences.

Meetup: Attending events based on your specific passions is always a good first step to making lasting friendships. Meetup helps you do exactly that with a catalog of nearby events organized by interest.

REALU: An app that connects you to people nearby so you can meet up with “real people in real-time.” Just make sure to still practice social distancing when you link!

Skout: The name says it all! Wherever you are, you can use Skout to connect with people near or far, tune into live streams, and meet your potential bestie.

NextDoor: Immerse yourself in your local community with NextDoor. This app connects you to other residents, local businesses, and more, so it’s easier to stay in the loop.

Meet My Dog: A dog is a man’s best friend, but this app connects your dog with others of its own kind. Meet other dog owners in the area, and set up a doggie play date!

Through your classes

With midterms season in full swing, studying may be the perfect excuse to connect with your classmates. Create a group chat on GroupMe to collaborate on a study guide or review notes with others. If you’re confused about a certain topic, you can be sure that someone else in your class is as well. Slide into the Zoom DMs of your peers and not only will you have a study buddy for the rest of the semester, but maybe a friend as well!

Knowing which platform is right for you

When making friends online, it’s important to consider which platforms work best for you. One way you can differentiate between apps is whether they’re reciprocal or non-reciprocal. Apps that use reciprocal networks require mutual interest. For example, on Facebook, both people have to accept the follow request to become friends, or on Bumble BFF, both people have to swipe right to initiate conversations. As for non-reciprocal network platforms like Instagram and Twitter, mutual following isn’t always necessary.

Keep your options open

You may be more inclined to narrow your friend searches to ensure you find the most compatible friends. Though connecting with others through mutual interests and activities is always a good move, don’t limit yourself!! Like you would in person, be open to meeting new people who may not seem compatible on paper, but could turn out to be your closest friends through just the shared experience of a remote semester. Don’t be afraid to swipe right or hit that friend request button!

Once you’ve met new people and made new friends, check out our article on staying connected from afar.

Staff writer Haleigh Stewart can be contacted at Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec.

Online Campus Events Columbia First-years Barnard Connection Virtual Friendship
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