Not sure it’s ever ‘easy’ to make new friends, but of course everyone else in the 1st year at Uni is new too. Also lots of chances to meet people, people on your course, people in place where you live (esp halls of residence), people at gigs/concerts, people in societies/clubs… and once you meet some people, there are all the other people THEY know etc etc. So most people seem to manage without too many probs.
It is probably easier than at school, just because Unis are (usually) so big that there are lots of other people there who like similar things to you. As Kirsty said, finding them often takes place through clubs and societies. These are also great ways of trying out something new – I learned to scuba dive through a University club, which I have enjoyed doing on and off since.