If you’re considering an online high school, you may wonder how to get to know your peers. Since you won’t be sitting next to them in class or bumping into them in hallways, you might need to make a bit of an effort to make friends. But it’s worth it, and it’s much easier than you might think.
Make Connecting with Online Classmates a Priority
Think of friendships as one of your high school goals, similar to getting good grades and preparing for college. Give yourself some objectives and deadlines. For example, you could introduce yourself to five new people every week. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to get to know your peers when you make a regular effort.
Participate in Class
Your online courses have required discussion boards and other interactive components. Since participation is part of you grade, you need to speak up. But that participation, where you share your academic insights, personal opinions, even your sense of humor, helps your peers get to know you. Just like you, they want to connect. The more you present your authentic self, the more likely you will be to find classmates with shared interests and viewpoints that could lead to deeper connections down the road.
Go to Study Groups
Even if you usually study alone, a study group is a great way to meet people and make friends. You already have the common thread of being in the same class, so you have something to talk about. Whether the study group is for a subject you find difficult and could use a little help, or one where you excel and could offer your knowledge to classmates, it can benefit your academic and social experience. And if there’s a course you think needs a study group but doesn’t have one, step up and form one.
Join Clubs and Take on Projects
Does your online high school have extracurricular activities, clubs, or passion projects? Find something you love and there will be classmates who love it too. Are there opportunities to help in the community where another classmate lives? Join them in a mission-driven project. Do good for others, while getting to know the people you see in virtual class all the time.
Connect with Classmates on Social Media
Connect with your virtual classmates on Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and even Facebook. After you’ve gotten to know them in class, you can learn more about them and their lives on social media. You can find common interests and hobbies, and even see if you share any mutual acquaintances. These apps offer a lot of two-way communication functions, so you’ll have a built-in way to talk, text, and video chat right there on the platforms. You can also look for and follow school groups where some of your classmates already are.
Don’t Forget about In-Person Meetings
The COVID-19 Pandemic has put a damper on a lot of in-person connections, but with restrictions lifting, vaccinations more widely available, and knowledge about transmission increasing, it can be done more safely. If you live close to someone in your online high school, or plan on being in the same area, why not plan an in-person meeting? Virtual connections can be great but supplementing them with in-person gatherings (where possible) is also a good idea. You could meet for coffee, a meal, a walk, or do an activity together that you both enjoy.
To meet people and make friends online, you have to put yourself out there and take initiative. And don’t discount the digital world. Online relationships have been found to be just as meaningful as face-to-face connections. Remember, your online high school classmates could be your future college roommates and lifelong friends.
Gravitas is an online college preparatory school and an extension of the storied Stony Brook School in New York. We help students build character, academic excellence, and friendships. Contact us today to learn more.