You still have that sun-kissed glow from summer and you’re wearing that super fabulous new dress you just bought… but did anyone else notice? Trying to catch the attention of a cute guy as the fall semester starts up can be hard—there are so many men on campus and so many places to find them! How do you find a setting that’s more intimate than a loud frat house on a crazy Friday night? Luckily, there are a ton of unconventional places to meet guys as you get into the swing of things this autumn!
Instead of: Your Dorm Hall Common Room
Try: Your Dorm Kitchen
There’s a reason why the old saying “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” has survived! Guys (especially college guys) gravitate towards any plate of food, so why not make sure you’re the one holding it? Not only can the dorm kitchen help you avoid only meeting people (ahem, hot guys) from your hall, but it’ll also help you sharpen your cooking skills!
Tasha Wang, a junior at Wesleyan University, used the dorm kitchen to her advantage last year. At first she was only using her cooking as a way to eat better food, but she soon found that many of the people coming around the kitchen were guys—very cute guys at that! “One night, I made super delicious sugar cookies with homemade frosting,” she says. “The next thing I know, I’m surrounded by about 15 guys, all asking if they can grab a cookie or two!”
Using food as a segue, Tasha was able to strike up more genuine conversations with some of the guys in her dorm over the course of several weeks and months. “At first they asked about my cooking, if I could cook and bake more often, stuff like that,” she says. “But eventually those conversations led to more intense discussions about other stuff, like classes and friends and feelings about being in college.”
Tasha’s tip for collegiettes trying to use food to get to a man’s heart? “Try baking first!” Tasha says. “Though guys will eat anything from steak to salad to spoiled milk, making cookies or cupcakes is an easy way for guys to take notice. And who doesn’t have a sweet tooth of sorts?”
Once you get a guy who loves food interested, try getting his number so you can text him the next time you cook (or when the food’s ready!). Talking about food is also a great way to keep any conversation going: what’s this guy’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite food of all time? He shouldn’t be surprised if the next time he stops by, you’re cooking something he suggested!
Instead of: On-Campus Events
Try: Off-Campus Events
Many college clubs have retreats, away games or field trips, so there’s no better place to meet a guy than when exploring a brand new place together in a smaller, more intimate group!
Laura*, a sophomore at the Wesleyan University, met her boyfriend during a freshmen pre-orientation trip. They went kayaking with a small group of students, and she was able to get to know him better.
“We started out as friends, but getting to know him a setting different from a college campus was a great experience,” she says. “It was fun racing him in our kayaks, walking around and talking in the wilderness and just sort of being away from the fast pace of normal life, especially since I knew starting college was going to be nuts.”
Laura feels like she got to know him better than she would at school. “Freshman year can be especially overwhelming,” she says. “Everyone’s running around all the time, not knowing where to go, and it’s easy to completely forget who everyone is. By taking time to know John on that personal level before getting to school, we were able to grow even more once we were there.”
Off-campus events are relatively easy to sign up for; many groups on campus have something going on, so keep your eyes peeled and ask around! If not, create an off-campus event yourself. Talk with administrators, professors and other students about your college’s regulations for putting on an off-campus event. Even if you don’t connect with a potential partner, it’ll still be a great way to bond with other students!
Instead of: Tailgates
Try: Conferences or Panels
Many schools host a variety of conferences or panels for students about everything from social justice to academic rights to vegan food on college campuses. The nice thing about these events is that the people who care about the issues the most attend them, and this includes extremely passionate guys!
Marley*, a junior at the University of Texas, was sick of trying to meet guys at random pregames and tailgates. “I’m not a huge fan of the drunken party scene, especially the one that surrounds sports school culture,” she says. “It is so hard to really talk to anyone at those things. Everyone is wasted, guys are belligerent and you really can’t have any sort of conversation with anyone after the alcohol starts flowing.”
A couple months into her sophomore year, Marley attended a conference about women’s rights and ended up sitting next to a gorgeous blonde boy. “We listened to a speaker discuss sexual assault on college campuses,” she says. “But during a break right after the session, this guy and I started having a pretty awesome discussion about what we could do to help women feel more secure in how universities handle sexual assaults.”
Overall, she felt it was a great conversation to have. “I got to meet someone whom I could talk to—sober, no less—about things I really cared about,” she says. “It was a small, relaxed setting (only about 20 people were in our session), so I was able to get to know him better than I would have during more traditional college events.”
The nice thing about smaller conferences and panels is that it’s easy to find conversation starters. Is there a cutie catching your eye? Casually ask him what he thought of the speaker(s). If he really liked the presentation, ask him if he’s involved with that particular cause on campus or if he knows any other events like this one that you could attend (who knows? Maybe you two could go together!). If he didn’t like it, there’s still room for discussion. Why didn’t he like it? If this particular panel wasn’t his style, what kind of activities is he into? There’s a way to make the most out of any situation!
Instead of: The Library
Try: The Campus Bookstore
Campus bookstores don’t typically seem like the most romantic places to meet someone (unless you’re an English major), but they can work, especially at the beginning of the semester!
First, there are the actual books. See a cutie getting the same psychology textbook as you? Ask if he’s in your class and what he’s heard about the professor. Is he a psych major, or he just taking this class for fun? If it ends up that you are in fact taking the same course, you now have a super attractive buddy to sit next to during the upcoming lecture (always a plus!).
Long lines in the bookstore are also a huge part of the beginning of fall semester. Hundreds of students are trying to get those last minute textbooks (and random college T-shirts) to start off the school year right. This interminable line can definitely include some nice guys. Strike up a conversation with the people standing in front of you and behind you. You’re all going to be waiting a long time for the cash register, so you might as well have some fun and meet some new people (including that adorable dude carrying a book by your favorite author!).
Instead of: Interest Clubs
Try: Volunteer or Community Service Organizations
Although interest clubs are great, it’s always good to expand your horizons and flex your Good Samaritan muscle by joining a volunteer or community service organization. Not only do you get to do good for your community, but you also get to meet some great guys who are doing the same thing!
Tasha also met several guys while volunteering with an organization that tutors elementary school kids close to Wesleyan’s campus. “It was so great seeing these guys interact with these kids,” she says. “You get to see them in a different light. And what’s cuter than a guy who’s genuine and wants to make the world a better place?”
As with her experiences cooking in her dorm kitchen, Tasha found that the volunteer organization was a great conversation starter with all the guys she worked with. “It was a lot less intimidating than trying to talk to them at a party,” she says. “I didn’t have to yell to be heard, and I didn’t have to dress up and look pretty for them to notice me. Instead, I got to know these guys as people who care about the world around them, and that was so cool to me!”
Though Tasha is part of several interest clubs on campus, she says that her work with the tutoring program helped her forge much stronger connections with her fellow volunteers. “I’ve actually got my eye on a boy that I met while tutoring,” she says. “I think what sealed the deal for me was watching him interact with this third grader who couldn’t understand decimals—it was great seeing him be so caring!”
Overall, you can find college guys anywhere; it’s all about seizing the right opportunity and striking up a conversation. The smaller and more intimate the space, the easier meeting a guy will be. Branch out of your usual spots this fall—you never know what you’ll find!
*Names have been changed.