The Best Dating Advice For Your College Years, According To 9 Women Who Have Been There

College is the time for so many new experiences: exploring your academic interests, braving dining hall food (is chicken supposed to be yellow?), and wearing flip-flops in the shower. Without your parents there to watch over you, it can also be a time to test out the choppy waters of romance, maybe for the very first time. For those interested in dating but unsure where to start, I've collected the best dating advice for college years from women who have — against all odds — survived the college dating scene.

Dating in college can be challenging — there are so many new people, you might be experimenting with alcohol for the first time, and you could feel overwhelmed by the options. Perhaps there's an emphasis on hook up culture, and, for anyone who has ever proudly done the walk of shame, it can feels like a barrier to dating. However, the women I spoke to have navigated all types of romantic and sexual relationships, and are ready to share their wisdom.

I've collected advice from people who went to a variety of institutions — small liberal arts colleges, large universities, performing arts schools — so they really have seen it all. Read on to learn exactly how to get the best possible dating experience, at any college.

Find The "Romantic Moment"

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Maybe it’s easy for me to say because no one wanted to be my boyfriend in college, but don’t enter a serious relationship right at the beginning of college. You’re 18 and you’re going to change so much before you walk across that graduation stage, and, more importantly, you’ll miss out on all the make-outs in that lacrosse suite or times you almost fell off the roof of the Asian languages building trying to have 'A Romantic Moment' with some dude in a tie-dye sweatshirt.

— Claire, 25

Practice Makes Perfect

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Start practicing dating in college. The chances you make it long-term are slim, but the more people you meet and date, the better you’ll start to understand what and who you like.

— Yuliya, 27

It's All About The Good Time

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Don’t try to find the person of your dreams in college. You have your whole life ahead of you to settle down and get serious, so spend this time dating around, playing the field, and having a ton of safe sex. That said, remember that you don’t owe anyone but yourself a good time.

— Maggie, 27

Excitement Is Key

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Find somebody who’s excited to spend time with you.

— Isabelle, 27

Don't Jump On The Band Wagon

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Maybe people are telling you don't date in college, or to enjoy having casual sex. If that's not something you want, you don't have to listen to what everyone says. Know what type of romantic or sexual relationship will make you happy, and then go pursue that.

— Claudia, 23

Stretch Your Interests

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I met my boyfriend in the Frisbee golf club. I'd never played Frisbee golf before, and I never played it again, but if I hadn't taken a risk and tried something new, I never would have found him, and we're still together today.

— Cynthia, 23

Go Slow

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If you don’t wife up freshman year you’ll be screwed. All the good ones get swooped up quick! Just kidding. Take your time and date around — there are so many people to meet, and college is all about trying new things.

— Caroline, 24

Play The Field

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My advice to anyone dating in college is just to date as many people as you can. Date your classmates, date a townie, go abroad and date a townie there. Fall in love with everyone! If my 90-year-old self could talk to my 20-year-old self, that’s what I’d imagine she’d say: fall in love hard and often. You’re young and gorgeous and the repercussions are so minimal (use protection, obv, and use your feminist discretion). But really — dating is such a cool opportunity to become intimate and close with someone you might not otherwise have a relationship with… You’ll learn about them, and you’ll learn about yourself. When you’re old and crabby in your late 20s you might not feel like getting out of bed to go to a fancy dinner — trust me. So do it now!!

— Karen, 28

Know Who NOT To Date

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Don't date anyone freshman year. Wait until junior year when everyone is older and smarter and you find out which people actually grew up rich. Kidding! Date the quietest business major you can find! And last but not least don’t date anyone you met in the sticky basement of a frat house while you were drinking rum out of plastic Pepsi bottles!

— Stewart, 26

College is a thrilling time, and you want to make the most out of it. Take that class you're scared to take, try the new hobby, and venture out on dates! Take this advice for the best possible college dating experience.