Many girls go into college with the expectation that dating will be a breeze and that they will leave with a ring on their finger. While that is definitely possible, the dating scene is not always easy to navigate. We talked to some girls who have been in your shoes, as well as some relationship experts to get the scoop on how to date in college.

College dating tips

Make a list and check it twice.

Create your bucket list of traits in partner. Instead of looking at what you don’t want in partner, start looking for what you DO want in partner. Be specific with your list as well! Instead saying, likes sports, thinking about specific sports that interest you. I always suggest creating at least five non- negotiable items or items you won’t budge on at all. – Courtney Geter, LMFT

The best power partners in any relationship bring different qualities and strengths to the relationship than you do. Know that this is what makes it fun and interesting, dating someone just like yourself would be boring and nearly impossible. So going into dating mindfully looking for someone who has complimentary strengths to yours, not the exact same ones! – Christina Rowe, MSOL

Flirting 101

When flirting with a boy at a group event or at the bar, ask questions about why they picked their particular major and what they hope to achieve with it one day.  Share in their excitement as well as providing your own passionate ideas for what you hope to experience one day. – Nicki Slattery, Certified Life Coach

Subtle is always better. Choose your best feature and draw attention to it. Hair? Play with it. Smile? Use it. Eyes? Make eye contact – Diane Passage, Empowerment Coach

Don’t be afraid to make the first move!

Be willing to talk to boys and make the first move! College boys are just as nervous as us girls are! I promise they’ll at least be flattered (and most likely relieved) if you ask them out, and the worst that can happen is that they’ll say no and you’ll know to stop pining over them. Sometimes you’ve gotta be brave and ask for what you want! – Kymberly Ann, Blogger

Research has shown that most guys are clueless about reading a woman’s body language. Don’t be shy about walking up and breaking the ice. When I’m attracted to a woman, I’ll often walk up, smile and say, I have a crush on you, and I think we owe it to ourselves to see how far we can take this… I’m sure it would work on guys as well. – Douglas McWilliams

Understand your motive.

Don’t date someone just to have a relationship. College is hard enough without adding relationship drama. Date someone who you like and care about, someone who makes you a better you. – Rebekah Kish, Blogger

Set high standards and boundaries.

It’s all-too-easy to get caught up in how cute he is or what kind of car he drives when you’re in college, but if you’re hoping to find someone to have a lasting relationship with, my advice is to look for someone who values you, not just likes you. There are plenty of boys who will be willing to give you their attention for a night, a week, or a month, but if he is easily distracted by other girls, does not show you respect, and is not marriage-minded, then don’t waste your time with him. – Nedalee Thomas, Founder of

Steer clear of guys who move to quickly and seem more interested in your body than in who you are as a person. Take the relationship slow to cultivate a solid friendship based on emotional connection and shared recreational activities together. – Dr. Wyatt Fisher

Respect yourself enough to not ignore the little things. Him checking out someone else isn’t just something all guys do–you deserve to be with someone with eyes ONLY for you! – Rebecca Lindenbach, Blogger

It’s so cliche, but…just be yourself!

Always be yourself. You might have heard that phrase 1000 times, but it’s very true. Who you are is enough. When you try to be the person you think they want, you will eventually be unhappy because it’s not genuine. They will eventually see that you were acting or pretending and it still won’t work out. When you are yourself, it’s less stress on you. If they don’t like the real you (good and bad), it works in your favor in the long run. Trust me. – Bernetta Knighten, Dream Life Coach

College is the time to find out what makes YOU happy. If you find someone along the way who shares in those things that you enjoy, all the better. But don’t try things just because you’re hoping to meet a catch. In other words, don’t go to the archery field if you don’t love archery—you might meet someone who genuinely does love it and will only be disappointed when they find out that archery stunt was all a sham. – Lauren Cook, Life Coach

Take your time.

Take your time! Don’t feel pressured to meet “The One” in college, and don’t forget to have fun. You have plenty of time to settle down, but this is your time to test the waters and learn what you like. – Michelle Williams

Don’t feel like you NEED to have a boyfriend or girlfriend in college. In may be easy to feel like you’re missing out when most other people around you are with someone while you’re still single, but good things come to those who wait! There will always be pros and cons to being both single and in a relationship, so don’t feel like you need to rush to date. – Jasmin Suknanan, Blogger

4 thoughts on “The Essential Guide to Dating in College

  1. This is all great advice! I always feel like I end up dating someone just because I want to date someone, not because I truly like them. Since I realized that I’ve become more conscious about why I’m attracted to certain people and if we are worth each other’s time. This was all super interesting to read!


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