Who doesn’t love the topic of dating? When I was a little girl, I was so curious about the love lives of grownups. I grew up wondering whether relationships were anything like what I saw in Disney Channel shows and teen movies. Now I can say that, in 99% of cases, they are not! But what I saw on the screen so often depicted high school relationships. I never really thought about what came after: college. Now that I’m preparing to enter my sophomore year at Wellesley, I have an idea of what dating in college is like, at least on my campus.
I entered college already in a relationship, so I’m only speaking as an observer. Several of my friends downloaded Tinder when they arrived for orientation. Wellesley is a woman’s college — a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do if she wants men in her life! Nearly all of my friends went on dates with Tinder boys from schools in the Boston area. In most cases, my friends never pursued anything serious with those boys. However, one of them met someone she ended up liking a lot, and they’re still together today. Some of my friends also met guys at parties. From what I saw, none of my friends went to parties looking for a serious boyfriend, just hookups and casual flings.
As a student at a women’s college, I know my experience is probably different from the average college student’s. That’s why I asked college girls from around the country to weigh in on what dating and hookups are like at their schools. Here are their responses.
“I’ve had a really phenomenal experience with dating on my campus. My freshman year I met a senior at a school sponsored event and we talked for a couple months. Now, we have been together for nearly two years. Generally, the dating scene is hit or miss. There is of course hookup culture, but if you want a long term relationship you can find it.” – Sydney, Washington & Jefferson College
“We have a really diverse dating scene at SMU. I’ve seen people get married and people who just do hookups. Since SMU is considered a party school, there tends to be a stronger hookup culture. Originally I went into SMU with a high school boyfriend, but that didn’t last. I was nervous about meeting people because I didn’t think relationships were common but quickly I ended up dating my next door neighbor in the dorms. We are still happily together, even with doing long distance. I will say the dating culture is very casual. It can definitely appear discouraging to some who don’t want to hook up. I’ve noticed that if people stay true to themselves then they will find someone for them. I like how friendly everyone is at my school because it creates a much better culture for overall dating and hookups. People generally feel safe and welcoming to each other at SMU, which I think is a great benefit in college when dating can appear scary and volatile to many.” – Brytin, Southern Methodist University
“At least at my school, hookups were a lot more popular than any type of dating. A few people I knew would attempt casual dating, and even fewer went into actual relationships. For my hookups, I met them in a myriad of places…I met two on Tinder, two in class, and one at a frat party. I met my long term boyfriend surprisingly on Tinder as well. We initially met under the guise of a hookup but hit it off so well that we kept seeing each other until we decided to date, which I’ve found is incredibly rare for college. Anyone here with serious relationships either started it in high school or met through class or mutual friends.” – Mallory, Towson University
“I actually met my boyfriend at a political conference. I wasn’t looking for him, but it just happened. I went to Catholic in DC and I know so many people who found their fiancé there since most people are attracted to people similar to themselves.” – Veronica, The Catholic University of America
“Hookup culture for sure trumped dating culture freshman year but the older you got, the more common serious relationships/engagements were.” – Erin, Millsaps College
“As far as my experience goes, there wasn’t really a big hookup culture in college. There was a group of partiers who definitely did that, but for the most part, people were just very goal oriented and knew what they wanted. Most of the couples I knew in college were pretty serious and a lot got married. Others were just so focused on their goals that they didn’t date.” – Sarah Anne, Campbell University
“I’ve only been in school for one year but where I am there is so much hookup culture and lots of people who cheat often.” – Emma, The American Musical and Dramatic Academy
“I met my boyfriend on Twitter! Everyone my age thought it was really cool that we met that way. My parents thought it was weird at first but now they realize it’s not that big of a deal because lots of people make friends that way, so why not meet your significant other online? As far as hookup culture goes, my school has it bad. Some of my close friends got really involved with it freshman year, and it just sucks to see how many friends of mine had to go through STDs, unplanned pregnancies/pregnancy scares/abortions, and heartbreak over the way that so many college students behave. I’m also in a sorority and it’s a major state school, so long story short, I’ve seen some sh**.” – Anonymous, University of Alabama
I really enjoyed hearing all these girls’ stories and comparing them to my own experiences. It’s crazy how different the social scene is from school to school! Maybe next year, I’ll learn something new about the dating/hookup at Wellesley and other Boston area schools. From what I’ve seen, it’s pretty standard: the culture is casual, but anything can happen.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about college relationships and/or hookups. If you have any experiences you’d like to share, comment them below!