10 College Movies You Need To Watch Before School Starts

If you’re about to be a college freshman, congratulations, you’re in for some fun and sometimes incredibly miserable years ahead. Look, I’m not going to sugar coat it: You’ll produce lasting memories with friends (and maybe some lovers) that you’ll cherish forever, and experience some of the most stressful nights of your life as you try to finish up term papers without pulling your hair out.

Are you just as excited as you are scared? Good, because that’s going to sum up a lot of your college experience in a nutshell.

You’re probably preparing for your first semester with your dorm room necessities, which is great! But take some time to chill and amp your self up about this new stage of life with some college movies. Now, are college movies all that realistic? Definitely not; they’re possibly even more unrealistic than high school movies. But there’s nothing wrong with suspending your disbelief for 90 minutes. Check out these 10 college movies you should watch before starting college; from feel good comedies, to over the top dramas, you’ll find something you’ll want to stream ASAP beyond Pitch Perfect.


Legally Blonde

Legally Blonde is a classic, and if you haven't watched it already...what are you doing with your life? This movie about a sorority girl who follows her ex-boyfriend to Harvard Law School is both a cautionary tale and a lesson in empowerment and independence.

Dear White People

This indie darling about black students combating racism at a prestigious university provides both humor and a little bit of dealing-with-racism-101. If you're a person of color, particularly black, and you're going to a mostly white college, you'll want to watch this.

Spring Breakers

Okay, this movie about a group of college girls' spring break turned crime spree should probably just act as a guide of what not to do in college. Stay away from creepy white dudes with grills, ladies.

Reality Bites

People have an overly idealized image of their lives right after college, and Reality Bites helps destroy that fantasy. Watching this group of friends go through the motions of unstable jobs and even more unstable romances will give you a dose of reality without depressing you entirely.

22 Jump Street

If 21 Jump Street wasn't ridiculous enough for you, there's always 22 Jump Street which is set in college and is, somehow, more outrageous than its predecessor. Sure, it plays on the college-is-a-24-7-party trope a little too much, but it's worth a watch if you like goofy comedy.

Mona Lisa Smile

This movie about an edgy art history teacher disrupting an ultra conservative women's college in the '50s is really fascinating. You'll be thankful that we live in an era in which women aren't just encouraged to go to college to find an educated husband and produce his educated babies, and you'll learn a little something about art too. Feminism, art, and Julia Roberts. It's a pretty good deal.

Drumline

If you want a light, feel good movie with a few dramatic bits and a nice lil' moral at the end, check out Drumline. It's about a cocky college student who is looking forward to dominating his historically black college's iconic marching band, but he learns that he can't always play by his own rules.

Higher Learning

If you're looking for an over the top drama, you need to check out Higher Learning. This movie is about various college freshman who are dealing with everything from race issues, to assault, to sexual awakening. It's incredibly intense--you literally watch one of the students become a full blown white supremacist by the end of the movie, guys--but it's also a little corny...in other words, it's the perfect movie if you want to go "WTF?" every few minutes.

Animal House

If you want a classic, go for Animal House. This comedy about a delinquent frat house back in the '60s is as hilarious as it is legendary.

School Daze

This Spike Lee joint about tension between various groups at a historically black college is worth a watch if you're looking for a movie that's a little more unique. School Daze covers everything from colorism to the politics of blackness with a wardrobe and soundtrack to die for.

What are some of your favorite college movies? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!

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