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How to Plan the Perfect College First Date

male and female college students out on a date smiling in the street
Written by CB Community

You’re in college trying to tackle all your classes, work at your part-time job, and maintain some semblance of a social life. It can be hard to think outside of your basic needs while you’re struggling to stay on top of your studies in college. But believe it or not, this is a prime time for dating. Don’t miss out on meeting awesome people by staying in your dorm room every night.

Get out there, sign up for some dating apps (we’re partial to Bumble), and get going! If you’ve already got a date set up but you’re looking for some advice on how to prepare adequately, we have your back.

Keep reading for a list on how to prepare for a first date and your entrance into the world of college dating.

Pick the right venue

Before you choose the snazziest place in your local college town, hit pause. Everyone in college is probably under a pretty strict budget limitation (um, hello ramen for every meal). So, while you don’t necessarily have to go to a dive bar and stick to water. You shouldn’t do the opposite and choose the restaurant with a Michelin star, either. If you can find a happy medium between those two options, that’s the sweet spot.

So, what option is left? Maybe go for a pizza joint that serves alcohol. Make sure wherever you decide to go isn’t too loud. You should be able to actually hear your date. So you can have a meaningful conversation instead of interjecting with, “Wait, what?” every two seconds.

Choose the right outfit

Look, we understand that you barely wear real pants at this point – leggings and sweats are where it’s at. But for a date, casual date night outfits should be what you aim for. That means you should class it up more than what you’d wear to Econ but avoid overly fancy looks as well.

Perhaps you can opt for some nice dark wash jeans, a nice top, and ditch your backpack for a simple wallet or purse. Keep your makeup simple if you’re a lady and just run a brush through your hair if you’re a man. You want to look like your best self, but you don’t want to feel uncomfortable. Avoid making rash decisions like giving yourself bangs or a mullet the day before your date.

Stay relaxed

You’re in college. Dating should be fun and not a source of stress. If you’re beginning to overthink your dating life or just want to take a break, do it without hesitation. Sure, it’s great to get out of your comfort zone. But if it’s causing you serious distress, you can always come back to the dating world later. There’s no age limit on dating, after all!

Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out

There’s plenty of fish in the sea, don’t forget that saying as you enter the dating world. You’re probably going to meet quite a few people who aren’t right for you – and that’s okay. Learning what attributes you do like in a person is just as important as learning what you don’t like in another person. On the other side of the coin, don’t take it personally if the other person doesn’t feel the chemistry – appreciate his or her honesty and keep moving forward.

Keep your options open

If you’re still new to the dating scene, it can be a little hard to navigate the world of emotions, mixed signals, and crushes. But, one thing to keep in mind as you date is to keep your options open. You don’t have to say yes to somebody just because he or she is nice to you. You also have no obligation to get into a relationship with anyone. To avoid any trouble, make sure that you’re very clear in your communications with anybody you are seeing. That way, you can avoid hurt feelings.


Look, we get it – you’re busy and going on a ton of dates isn’t always your first priority. After all, maybe you’re trying to get into medical school. Or you are trying to work so that you’re not saddled with mountains of student loan debt when you finally graduate. With that said, it’s important to focus on your emotional well-being. And give yourself the chance to meet people and have a little fun.

For more great topics on all things college related, check out the other blogs on College Basics.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.