What Dating In College Is Really Like: Expectations Vs. Reality

I remember thinking about college when I was a senior in high school. My friends and I were all convinced that the college dating scene would be so much different. We wouldn’t be going on dates to get cheap slices of pizza, we wouldn’t be trying to sneak in sexy times without parents knowing, and we definitely wouldn’t be dating a dude who thought it was funny to fart while cuddling. We would be with mature guys who took us on real dates, bought us real presents, and treated us perfectly.

Obviously, we were basing all of the ideas off of all the oh-so-realistic movies and TV shows about college out there.

The truth is, dating in college isn’t nearly as great as you think it will be. Sure, some people meet the love of their life in college. But a lot of people stumble along, meeting tons of Mr. Wrongs, wondering when guys will actually grow up. I heard this a million times in high school: “College guys are so much more mature and better, just wait.” Um, no. Most of them are not. 

But it’s fine. I was single throughout most of college, and I will never regret that. So don’t sweat it! Here’s what dating in college is really like: expectations vs. reality. 


Expectation: You think the guys will all be SO much more mature than they were in high school. 

cute guy gif

Reality: Most of them seem to have regressed in age, maybe. WTF?? 

fart gif


Expectation: You’ll go on sophisticated dates where you go to a fancy restaurant wearing something fabulous (like in the magazines). 

date gif

Reality: This is college. You guys go to a frat party and then pass out in a cramped bed in a tiny dorm room. 

ronnie and jenni gif


Expectation: Things will get serious quickly, because you’re older and more mature and ready to settle down.

prince eric gif

Reality: No guy wants to get serious because they’re in college… they want to be single.

arrested development gif


Expectation: You’ll meet a super smart, cute guy in glass who wears glasses and loves reading.

ryan gosling guitar gif

Reality: You won’t meet anyone in class because you’ll be doing work. You’ll meet guys when you’re both tipsy at a party. 

spring breakers gif


Expectation: The guys in college will dress way nicer than the guys in high school. Goodbye sneakers, hello button-down shirts!

leo great gatsby gif

Reality: Dudes show up to class in sweats and graphic tees. If possible, they are more slobby.

sweatpants gif


Expectation: Guys will be better at communicating because they’re older and will have a better idea of what they want. 

i love you gif

Reality: Guys will keep you confused and waiting for hours… for a one-word response. 

texting gif


Expectation: You two will cook together in your cute little college apartment, and basically play house.

cooking gif

Reality: LOL you guys live in dorm rooms. 

stepbrothers gif


Expectation: Sex will be better because you’ve both had more experience.

kiss gif

Reality: You’ve both probably been drinking before you start hooking up, making things… weird. And blurry.

sex funny gif


Expectation: You and your dates will have way more privacy because you don’t live with your parents.

kissing gif

Reality: Your roommate regularly walk in on you having sex. 

leave me alone gif


Expectation: You’ll go to college thinking you’re going to meet totally different guys than you knew in high school – maybe this will be your year!

cute relationship gif

Reality: Every guy is just a slightly older version of a dude you knew in high school. Or middle school. 

college guy gif


Expectation: You’ll have fun, casual one-night stands where you’ll walk home carrying your heels in the morning, giggling to a friend about a sitcom-worthy awkward moment.


Reality: You’ll wake up next to a random person, try to sneak out, and get caught by 10 people in the dorm room. 

walk of shame gif


Expectation: You’ll meet your soul mate, the person you’re going to marry.

soul mate gif

Reality: You’ll be single all four years of college (besides those weird, casual in-between “relationships”). 

dave franco gif


Do you agree or disagree with these? What do you disagree with? What did we forget to include? Tell me in the comments!

You can follow the author, Jessica Booth, on Twitter or Instagram.

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  • Static

    Stay single and probably give into lesbian tendencies…got it. Is it bad that I didn’t expect any of those expectations?

  • NicksGurl

    Actually, I met a mature (well, both of us act like kids sometimes, so we’re at each others’ level of maturity =P ), sweet, romantic guy who’s madly in love with me at college. The relationship we have right now is literally the best relationship I’ve been in because he’s a total sweetheart, we have pretty much everything in common, and he’s extremely respectful. He already wants to get place with me when I transfer colleges. While I’m sure this article is true, don’t give your hopes up yet ;D

    • Jillian

      Thank you! You have restored my faith that I will meet mature, decent guys in college…even though I’ve never had a real boyfriend.