5 Things No One Tells You About How Dating Changes From High School To College

When I was in high school, I was basically counting down the days until college. It seemed like a dream: I'd live in a new place, meet completely new people, and get to learn a ton, too. I had no idea how to handle dating in college. And when I got there, I kind of went with the flow. If you're about to move onto campus for the first time, you might wonder how dating changes from high school to college.

If you dated in high school, you might have felt frustrated by how complicated and limiting the experience felt: You might have had to rely on your parents or friends to drive you to dates, you might have had a curfew, and you might have felt too awkward or scared to work up the courage to tell your crush exactly how you felt.

In college, you're typically granted a huge new sense of freedom. You're likely dictating exactly how you spend your time and who you spend it with. If you want to go on a date and it lasts until 2 a.m. on a school night, that's your own choice. You can go wherever, whenever, with whomever you want and that's likely a whole new world for many people. Here are some other ways in which dating changes dramatically from high school to college.

You can date whoever you want.

Some high schools' social scenes are restricted to weird and specific circles and cliques that aren't really easy to get into. Think Mean Girls: You sit at certain tables with certain people, and that doesn't change much. In college, you meet new people all the time. From classes, clubs, parties, to your dorm, you're always introducing yourself and putting yourself out there. This expands the dating pool so much.

You probably have a lot more free time.

I don't know about you, but growing up, my high school schedule was constantly booked. And it wasn't filled with all of the socializing I would've liked, but instead, with ACT tutoring, religious school night classes, and my cousin's basketball games. At college, you have a little bit of distance from family obligations, and you can choose the classes that you actually want to take. Of course, you'll feel a lot busier studying with the free time you do have, but you can take breaks when it makes sense for you to have the fun you deserve as well. Study breaks with ice cream or coffee dates are the perfect way to let off some steam, and you don't have anyone telling you you can't do it.

You can run to your friend's dorm to gossip about your latest date.

I attended a high school in which all my friends lived at least a 20-minute drive away from me. Since I didn't have my license until the middle of junior year, that meant a lot of relying on FaceTime and texts to talk to my friends about my latest crush. But in college, you're likely living way closer to your friends, so you can just run on into their room to give them every detail about your last date or crush.

You can easily go to the health center for any sex-related questions you may have.

If your gynecologist or primary physician were always tough to book a last-minute appointment, you have more flexibility going to your campus' health center for any questions you may have. If you're dating for the first time in college, you may have a bunch of sex-related questions that you want to ask a doctor about. Walk on into the health center for any questions or concerns you have – which is likely a short trip to get there, too.

Things are more low-key.

With grand gestures like promposals and asking someone out for homecoming, dating in college is a lot more low-key than that. You'll probably be asked to "hang out" with someone, which is the equivalent of a date, more or less. You'll learn that sometimes bigger romantic gestures can come with time, and starting off slow and more casual isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Like many things you'll find in the transition from high school to college, dating changes as you grow older. But these changes can be new and exciting, so have fun.

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