Going to college can be an intimidating experience, especially when you have to introduce yourself to a whole new group of people.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your introduction leaves a lasting positive impression on your classmates and professors.
Here are some tips on how to introduce yourself in college as a student.
Mention an accomplishment or a career-related element that you have developed or mastered
My college students often ask me for help with networking, and I typically ask them a few questions.
First, I ask them to describe their dream career — not their dream job. When we talk about a career, this is when interests, passions, and what drives their mission beyond simply talking about the work they do for an employer.
Second, I ask them to share an accomplishment or artifact from their college journey up to this point. Too many times, students just talk about what grade they earned in professor so-and-so’s class.
This is where I stop them and ask about a project, a collaboration, teamwork, leadership, or an accomplishment that they can discuss.
The reality is that introducing one’s self as a college student to others in the same group does little to convey what makes you unique or what value you bring to an activity.
My recommendation is for students to strive to create an item or two discussing an accomplishment in each course they complete.
Something worthy of including could be:
- leading a team,
- working with a sponsor,
- presenting findings,
- publishing an article,
- attending a conference,
- earning a certificate, or
- any career-related elements that you can note as having developed or mastered
Don’t get me wrong… I am not saying that you carry around a resumé all over campus for this, but if you are able to put your thoughts on your accomplishments onto paper like these, then not only are you ahead of the game the next time you apply for a grant or a position.
But you have multiple ways of avoiding the minimal perspective that you are only a college student.
Be conference friendly
My college students often ask me for help with networking, and this conversation includes conferences.
Students think that they are not qualified to go to a conference or that they would not be able to network due to being college students.
A few things to consider — first, conferences related to most fields are held every year in major cities, including those close to universities. These conferences offer incredible discounts on student rates and even student memberships.
Beyond the ability to hear from leaders in the field, students should take advantage of student socials, career boards, and the exhibitor halls, where employers are often having recruiters on-hand to talk with students.
Here are great opportunities to learn about companies, people, and issues that matter to them, but to note the key players and even collect business cards and literature about them.
One tip I always recommend is that students who attend a conference obtain an agenda and information on:
- who is presenting,
- what topics,
- and even who the exhibitors are.
This gives students an advantage in planning, prioritizing, and even practicing how they introduce themselves.
Another tip I offer is to go online and create business cards to take with them. They don’t cost too much and are a great tool for introductions and for asking for a card in return.
After returning home from a conference, take the additional step of looking up the people who gave you their business cards on LinkedIn, following them, and even sending a connection request.
Related: How to Network on LinkedIn
Also, consider sending them an email thanking them for their time, complimenting them for their presentation, or even being as bold as to reiterate that you value their thoughts on the next steps in the transition from college student to a leader in that field.
Student Support Specialist, My College Planning Team
One of the greatest opportunities presented to students in college is the opportunity to start fresh.
Students can be surrounded by literally thousands of others on campus which can be both amazing and amazingly overwhelming.
You are new among your peers and your professors, and that leads to an important question: “How do I introduce myself as a student to the people in my new college community?“
Here are three pieces to lean on as you dive into these new relationships.
Put yourself out there; go with an open mind and open-ended questions
College provides dozens of opportunities per week to meet others. Not only in your classes but in your dorm, the gym, the library, the dining hall, the student center — you name it.
Colleges also have many student organization meetings and student-centered activities.
You can use these meetings and activities to find others with your unique interests:
- athletic events,
- community service, and
- guest speakers
Put yourself out there; nobody says you have to attend every event. And nobody says just because you go to one event; you have to go to every following similar event.
Go with an open mind, some information, and an open-ended question:
- “Hi, my name is Sara, and I’m studying English. This is my first time coming to karaoke! Have you been to karaoke before?”
- “What song are you hoping to hear?”
- “What are the chances of us scoring a recording contract?”
In these first few words, you’ve accomplished a great deal:
- You’ve shared your name and your major (another talking point!),
- you’ve shared that you’re new to the event (maybe ask for pointers or why the other person enjoys the event!),
- and you’ve taken an interest in the person you’re meeting.
This brings me to my second point.
Take an interest in others; ask them about themselves
American writer Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Even if you’re social and outgoing, you can help break the ice with your peers by asking them about themselves.
Bonus: this also works when getting to know your professors and other adults on campus.
Go beyond “Where are you from?” or “What’s your major?” (although those are totally usable), and try something a little more forward:
- “Hi Professor, my name is Sara, and I am in your Intro to Linguistics class. I’m wondering when you became interested in studying linguistics?”
- “I am really enjoying your class. What other courses do you teach?”
- “I thought the class about different dialects was really interesting. I’m wondering if you can help me understand something better?”
Let’s face it. Introducing yourself to new people can feel unnatural and intimidating. At your core, you know how to do one thing better than anyone else on the planet: You know how to be yourself.
As Aladdin’s great Genie of the Lamp advised his love-stricken friend, “Be yourself.”
Ask to sit with others in the dining hall and laugh at their conversation. Ask a neighbor if they want to come to check their mailbox with you.
You don’t have to talk the whole time, and that’s OK. Start with something you know, or admit that you’re trying to meet new people and go from there. You’re definitely not alone in that adventure.
And if you don’t feel something click one day, you have many days ahead of you to try again or try differently.
Nowhere will you be surrounded by so many others who are excited to live and learn in this new student-centered community as you will in college.
College Counselor and Community Manager, Transizion
The key is to bring up a similarity quickly
When you’re in college, it’s about preparing yourself for your future career. A lot of times, that means expanding your network is just as important as what you’re learning.
In university, networking is typically comprised of three types of individuals: peers, professors, and professionals already established in your field.
But how do you introduce yourself to these different types of individuals?
Introducing yourself to peers
Start by thinking about how you like to be approached. It never hurts to start with a compliment. “Hi! I love your Zelda shirt. I’m a big fan, too! Did you play Breath of the Wild?”
Once a conversation has started, it’s easy to exchange names and even contact information.
Introducing yourself to professors
Typically, you’re introducing yourself to a professor for a reason, so lead with it.
For example, “Hi, Professor Smith. My name is John. I’m in your Chemistry 101 class, so I wanted to introduce myself.”
Alternatively, “Hi, Professor Patel! My name is Sally. I recently read your paper on quantum computing and was wondering if you had a few minutes to discuss it with me.”
Introducing yourself to professionals
A great way to get ahead in the job market is to do networking and get advice from people in your target industry before you get there.
If you go to a talk or are at a job fair and are interested in making a connection, consider asking them to be a mentor, whether formally or informally. “Hi, Mr. Wang! My name is Jane. Could I ask you a few questions about the talk you just gave?”
Alternatively, “Hi, Ms. Cortez! My name is Peter. I’m interested in being a politician, just like you. Would you be willing to meet with me for 15 minutes every month to give me some advice?”
Whomever you’re looking to make a connection with, the key is to bring up a similarity quickly, so they feel drawn to you rather than bothered by the interruption.
It can help to practice, so if you struggle to talk to people you don’t know, consider hiring a mentor to work with you through the problem. As a career mentor, this is one of the many skills I help people master.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Neuroscience Coach
When it comes to introducing yourself, did you know that they see you before they hear you?
And what they see from you will interpret the meaning of your words. Since we can say a lot without speaking, it’s important for us to blend our body language with our spoken language.
Here are some examples of how you can intentionally blend your non-verbal with verbals to introduce yourself to your peers and professors that will leave an unforgettable good first impression.
Emit confidence vibes
Emit confidence vibes by extending a firm handshake, fist bump, or elbow bump (depending on what you are comfortable with), and genuine smile while saying, “Hello, my name is…”
Keep in mind that “hello” can also be “hey,” “what’s happening,” “what’s popping,” “what’s good,” “what’s up,” or any other words that your culture/peers use.
To present with confidence, it is important to feel comfortable and genuine.
Be armed with a fun fact about yourself
Fun facts are unique skills (I can cook), hobbies (I like to write), interests, or personality traits (i.e., I’m an extrovert/introvert).
Oh, and don’t forget to mention where you are from. This will give off the impression that you are open to continuing the conversation and invites the other person to share with you.
An example of this is also saying, “Hello, I’m [your name], or they call me [your name] and I [fun fact].”
Talk about what major you are in
Lastly, talk about what major you’re in, and if you’re still deciding on a major, talk about what you are most interested in learning.
“Hello, my name is Dr. Renetta, and I am from Maryland. I have always loved to write and cook, so one day I hope to write a recipe book. I haven’t decided on my major yet, but I know I enjoy listening to and supporting others with their goals.”
Remember to bring along your smile, handshake, elbow or fist bump, and uncrossed arms and hands out of your pockets.
Here’s a COURAGE formula you can post on your mirror as you practice your introduction:
- Opens up
- Unique and
- Avenues to
- Grow and
Content and Marketing Manager, crowjack
There is nothing exciting in life like embarking on a new journey! It could be learning how to drive, bake, or perhaps set off on a career path.
Similarly, many of us get thrilled when it comes to joining a new college, whether within our localities or abroad. Setting foot on the college premises for the first time is exciting but terrifying at the same time.
First of all, you will be excited about meeting new people, making new friends, advancing academically, and landing opportunities.
However, amidst all that, there is a dilemma that comes with self-introduction. “How should I introduce myself to my classmates, what words should I use, or what standing posture should I adopt?”
Wondering how you can introduce yourself in college? Here is how to go about it.
Whether it’s introducing yourself in front of the college principal, classroom, or around the college premises, there are two major things to keep in mind.
Self-confidence is associated with a myriad of competencies. Being confident about yourself doesn’t mean you’re perfect, nor does it require you to play a deaf ear to your flaws. But it’s about embracing yourself without projecting others as insignificant.
Confidence is a healthy conscience, and it can help you overcome the phobia of public speaking in case you have it.
You will even feel less intimidated by the new faces you come across in the initial phase of your college life.
Maintain eye contact
Effective communication occurs where there is proper eye contact. Apart from developing a connection with your audience, maintaining eye contact can also help you feel less anxious.
If you’re generally terrified about meeting new people, try practicing while alone or in front of your friends.
Note: Public speaking etiquette doesn’t come accidentally. It is through continuous practice and interaction with different groups of people and ages.
A self-introduction in college mainly involves telling people about yourself, your educational background, and your academic goals.
Your self-introduction can be similar to this:
“My name is Alexa Portman, and I am from Bristol. I completed my secondary education at Colston’s school, where I performed incredibly well in maths.
My ultimate goal is to become a data analyst because I am fascinated by the field of data science.
I come from a family of five members and am the second child out of three.
I love music and sports and am eagerly waiting to become of the college sports team. Just like any other student, I have brilliant academic ambitions, but besides that, I love engaging in activities that impact and impart something new.
I don’t take college life as a race for popularity but as a phase to craft and direct my professional path and life ahead. If given an opportunity, I would like to make a difference by fostering equity, inclusion, and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Lastly, I am looking forward to exploring this new phase with each one of you. Thank you so much.”
CEO, Kitty Baby Love
Starting college can be an intimidating time in your life. I know it was for me— despite my parent’s reassurances, I was totally panicking about meeting a whole bunch of new people and living with strangers for the first time.
My parents, for all their efforts, had never been to college, and I know I would have really appreciated some advice from someone who had at that point.
Here goes with mine:
Relax and be yourself
I know a lot of people think of college as a great time and place to ‘reinvent themselves,’ and that’s fine if that’s what you want to do.
But don’t feel like you have to; there is space in college for every different type of person, from the sport obsessed to the musical and creative and everything in between.
Remember, this isn’t school anymore— there aren’t ‘cool kids’ and ‘nerds,’ just different people with different interests.
The more you relax and be yourself, the quicker you will connect with like-minded people.
I should say this, though. You won’t get anywhere at college by being quiet as a mouse, so you absolutely do need to put yourself out there and talk. In fact, be prepared to do a lot of talking.
People say you should smooth your transition to college by joining a bunch of clubs and societies, and sure, that does work, but talking a lot works too.
I practically pestered my way into a friendship group in college, chatting to them, suggesting activities, etc., and that persistence paid off. I’m still great friends with them all these years later.
Be friendly, articulate, and concise
One of the most important things you’ll do is introduce yourself to your professors and classmates. This task may seem daunting, but with a few simple tips, you’ll be on your way to making great first impressions.
When introducing yourself in college, it’s important to be friendly, articulate, and concise. You should also make sure to include any relevant information about your educational background or professional experience.
When you’re introducing yourself, start by saying your name and then give a brief explanation of who you are and what you’re studying. For example, you might say, “Hi, my name is Sarah, and I’m an English major.”
If you have any relevant work experience, you can also mention that in your introduction. For example, you might say, “I’ve interned at a publishing company, so I’m interested in a career in editing.”
When you’re introducing yourself to your professors, it’s also important to be respectful and professional. Make sure to use proper titles and honorifics when you’re speaking to them.
Finally, remember that first impressions are important, but they’re not everything. If you don’t make the best first impression, don’t worry — you’ll have plenty of other opportunities to get to know your classmates and professors throughout the semester.
Director of Marketing and Communications, Carvaygo
Decide what you want to do and meet like-minded people
Since people typically begin college right after high school, many new college students are still stuck in a social clique mentality.
For instance, they may feel a need to join Greek life to feel like they are part of a close-knit community.
While joining a sorority or fraternity can be a great experience for some, this is not the only way to meet people in college. College is a time to find yourself through the classes you enjoy and activities that genuinely spark your interest.
Rather than clinging to any group out of desperation, decide what you want to do and meet like-minded people.
For example, if you enjoy history classes and are considering majoring in history, introduce yourself to the people you meet through those classes.
For instance, you could say, “Hi, I’m [Name]. Are you a history major?” or, “Are you enjoying this class?” You should focus on finding the commonalities you share with these people to keep the conversation rolling.
You may have difficulty making friends if you merely introduce yourself to anyone, especially if you do not have much in common with them.
This is why you should focus on discovering your interests and introduce yourself to people who pursue the same classes and activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I’m nervous about introducing myself?
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about introducing yourself to new people. Take a few deep breaths and remember that everyone else is probably just as nervous as you are. Don’t be afraid to start with a simple “hello” and smile. It’s a great way to break the ice and start a conversation.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when introducing myself to other students in college?
While it’s important to be yourself when introducing yourself to other students, there are a few common mistakes you should avoid:
Being too aggressive: It’s important to be confident when you introduce yourself, but don’t come on too strong. Remember to respect others’ boundaries and personal space.
Talking too much: While sharing a little about yourself is important, you shouldn’t dominate the conversation. Remember to ask questions and listen to what others have to say.
Using inappropriate language or jokes: College is a professional environment, so it’s important that you don’t use inappropriate language or tell offensive jokes. Remember to keep things respectful and appropriate.
Ignoring non-verbal cues: Pay attention to the body language and non-verbal cues of those around you. If someone seems uncomfortable or disinterested, it might be a sign to wrap up the conversation.
What if I’m an introvert and struggle with socializing?
Introverts can have a hard time socializing, but that shouldn’t stop you from meeting new people. Start by attending events and activities that interest you, and approach people who are standing alone or seem approachable.
Remember that it’s okay to take breaks if you feel overwhelmed and that it’s better to make a few meaningful connections than a lot of shallow ones.
Is it okay to ask for help when introducing myself?
Absolutely! Asking for help can be a great way to start a conversation and show that you’re interested in learning more about the person you’re talking to. For example, you could ask for advice on a class or recommendations for campus resources. Usually, people are happy to share their knowledge.
What if I accidentally offend someone while introducing myself?
It’s possible to unintentionally offend someone while introducing yourself, but don’t beat yourself up over it. If you realize you said something that could be taken as offensive, apologize and try to explain what you meant.
Remember to listen to the other person’s perspective and be open to learning from your mistakes.
Is it okay if I introduce myself differently to different people?
It’s perfectly fine to tailor your introduction based on the person you’re talking to, especially if you’re trying to make a meaningful connection.
For example, you might emphasize your interest in music when talking to someone who plays in a band or your interest in community service when talking to someone passionate about social justice. Just remember to stay true to yourself and don’t try to be someone you’re not.
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