Colleges offer classes where students frequently do not know each other and even if they do, instructors can use icebreakers to make sure the students are able to participate in collaborative learning. Our list of icebreakers for college students includes introductory games perfect for the first day of class, fun icebreakers for college students that introduce roommates, and icebreakers designed to get students comfortable working together in teams. You are sure to find the perfect icebreaker for any campus need or event.
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Introductory Icebreaker Games for College Students
Freshmen arrive on campus knowing very few other students. In fact, some of them arrive knowing no one. Even after students have been on campus for a while, they work in class and socialize with new groups. These introductory icebreaker games for college students not only introduce members of the group, but also let them acquire some information about each other. Tour list of college icebreakers is guaranteed to provide fun as they familiarize students with each other.
- At the beginning of any class, meeting, or social get together, have each student complete a 3×5 card with their name and three statements about him or herself.
- During the times the students are together, read clues and have the rest of the group guess who is being described.
- Make sure you only use each statement once.
- Have the students stand in a large circle shoulder to shoulder.
- Next, have the students remove their shoes and tie them together.
- Have everybody run to the center of the circle and throw his or her shoes in a pile and then return to the circle at your command.
- Have the students take turns retrieving a pair of shoes not their own from the pile and make a statement about the owner based upon the type and style of shoes.
- The student to whom the shoes belong comes forward, introduces him or herself and then picks a pair of shoes.
- The students continue until everyone has introduced himself or herself.
The following college icebreaker is an excellent follow-up after student have introduced themselves to each other.
Zippity Do Da, Zippity Yea, What a Wonderful Day
- Students stand or sit in a circle with one person in the center.
- The student in the center points a finger at one of the students in the circle and says, “Zippity do da, zippity yea, what a wonderful day.”
- Before they have finished saying this, the student whom they are pointing at must call out the name of the player to their right.
- If they do not call out a name because they cannot remember it, they switch spots with the person in the center of the circle.
- If the student does call the correct name of the person to their right, the person in the middle has to try again with someone else.
Getting-to-Know-You Icebreaker Games for College Students
Getting-to-know-you icebreaker games for college students help them become acquainted with one another. Students learn more about each other than just names. Use these games whenever you need to create a group that feels comfortable enough to work with each other.
- Ask students to recite the alphabet in unison and let them do so until you yell stop.
- Whatever letter they stop on, have everyone share something they are looking forward to at school that starts with that letter. For example, if you stop on “S,” they might say, “Spaghetti in the dining hall.”
- After everyone has taken a turn, stop on a different letter and ask each student to name a personality trait they have.
You can keep going until the group appears to be comfortable with each other. It helps to choose a question for each letter ahead of time.
Who Are You?
Have college students get into groups of three. You can pair them according to the color of their clothes, or have count off three at a time. Have each group find a place to sit and tell them you are going to have them talk together about topics you will give them. Announce a new topic every few minutes. You can use the following topics or come up with some of your own.
- What is the greatest challenge you are facing?
- What do you like most about yourself?
- What do you value most in life?
- What are the easiest and hardest emotions for you to express and why?
- What is something that few people know about you?
- What do you value in a friend?
- What do you want to be doing in five years?
- What is one goal you have for next year?
- What do you want to learn to do better?
- What is a motto you try to live by?
- What are five words a friend would use to describe you?
- Who Done It?
Pass out index cards and markers to each college student. Explain they are to write down something interesting about themselves – something they have done or someplace they have been. Take the cards back up and then shuffle and redistribute them. Go around the room and have each person guess whose card they are holding.
Prior to getting together, the leader of the group of college students prepares a list of sentences. Sentences can be read one at a time for the whole group to finish, or the leader can give a different sentence randomly to each student. Some suggested sentences for this exercise include:
- Before I came to college, my main interests were . . .
- The way I would describe my family is . . .
- The thing I remember most about high school is . . .
- My most unusual friend is . . .
- The things I value most are . . .
- Five years from now I hope to be . . .
- The thing I would most like to accomplish this year is . . .
- The thing that concerns me most about school is . . .
College Icebreaker Games with a Purpose
Sometimes you need an icebreaker game for a specific purpose. Taking into consideration both the personalities of students and the possible needs of instructors, we offer the following groups of fun icebreakers for college students with two purposes in mind: getting comfortable in a new group and forming teams.
Getting Comfortable in a New Group
My Most Embarrassing Moment
- At the end of the first class, tell students that at the beginning of the next class they will share their most embarrassing moment for no more than two minutes.
- Since you are dealing with college students, be prepared for some very funny memories.
A variation of this icebreaker is to have students share something new or good that they have experienced in the last 24 hours.
Back to Back
- Every student must find a partner of approximately equal height and weight or you can pair them up yourself if necessary.
- Have paired students lock arms with their backs to one another.
- With arms remaining locked at all times, have each pair down on the ground and kick their legs out straight and try to stand back up.
- Have students take turns picking a comic frame out of the large container.
- After all the students have chosen one, have them begin searching for other students with the same comic strip.
- Once groups have been formed, have them arrange their comic strip frames in chronological order.
- When they finish, the group sits down together as a team.
To make sure the teams have the same number of students, choose comic strips with the same number of frames. You can use these exercise repeatedly if you laminate the frames.
Paper Bag Skits
- Divide the college students into teams consisting of three to members.
- Give each team a paper bag filled with assorted objects, such as a wooden spoon, a screw, a bar of soap, a computer disk, etc.
- Give the teams ten minutes to come up with a skit using the props provided. If you wish, you can give each team a topic upon which to base their skit.
- After all the skits have been planned and rehearsed, students perform them for everyone.
Know Your Roommate
When college students are living on the college campus, they have roommates. It helps if they can learn some things about their roommate when they first arrive at the dorm. These college icebreakers help dorm roommates learn about the person with whom they will be rooming.
I Chose This College Because
- Have the residents of the dorm form a circle.
- The first person states their name and the reason they chose to attend this college.
- Continue going around the group, repeating the names of the people preceding their name and the reason they give for their college choice.
- You can also do this again having each student state their college major and why they chose it.
- The last person in the group has to name all the people and why they came or their major.
My Roommate Is
The following questions are excellent for making sure students get to know their new roommates. Have students pair with their roommate and ask the following or come up with some of your own questions:
- The first day we met, I noticed that you were. . .
- One thing that surprised me about you was . . .
- Something I like about you is . . .
- It appears to me that an important difference between us is . . .
- I think we might have to compromise on . . .
- What I think I will get out of having you as a roommate is . . . because . . .
The Reception Line
Divide the students into two groups and have them stand facing each other. Each person talks to the person across from him or her until signaled to move. The person at the end of one line moves to the other end, so that everyone has a new person with whom to talk. You can use our list of possible conversation topics or your own.
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be?
- What is a quote that you live your life by?
- What is your favorite movie/TV show/music group why?
- What’s your favorite hobby or pastime?
- Who is your biggest role model and why?
- Why did you decide to enroll at this college?
Have students choose their preference between the following dichotomies. Have them go to one side of the room or the other to show which they prefer. Have students discuss why they made the choices they made.
Play before you work or finish your work so you can play
- Chocolate or strawberry
- Hangout with a few close friends or get together with a large group of people
- Listen or speak
- Country or pop
- 007 or batman
- Happy Gilmore or Terminator
- Design a car or build one
- Jeans or khakis
- Be a bat or a baseball
- Texas or Montana
- Plan your vacation or decide what to do when you get there
- Liberal or conservative
- Morning or night
- Go see a play or a football game
- And One More – a Feel Good Icebreaker
- Pat on the Back
Pass out paper and have each college student trace their hand. Attach the hands to the back of each student with pins or tape. Have them circulate and get other students to write one positive thing each on the hand. When the students are finished, let them read the comments on their hand. This is a good way to get students to relax before a test.
There are many situations on a college campus where icebreaker games for college students can be used to get people relaxed and ready to work together. The first day of class, the college dormitory, or groups of student getting together to work or play all can utilize our list of icebreakers for college students. You will find that your have your favorite icebreakers that you use repeatedly as they are fun and always seem to work well for you.
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.