The student experience at university is impacted by student and institutional factors that combine to influence student wellbeing and engagement. This paper contributes to existing literature on student engagement by exploring friendships that are formed with other students. The qualitative study followed students at an Australian regional university throughout their first year of study. Drawing on Kahu and Nelson’s framework of student engagement, this paper reports findings on the influence of friendships on students’ psychosocial experiences, and on learning engagement outcomes. Findings indicated that students establish friendships with people with common interests, increasing a sense of belonging. Friendships also improve student wellbeing through increasing comfort in attending class, reducing stress, and providing opportunities to relax. Through initiating student supported learning opportunities, friendships also lead to opportunities for students to deepen their engagement: enhance student interest, develop positive learning behaviours, and increase cognitive understanding.