For incoming freshmen, the idea of college life can be both exciting and daunting, especially when campus stereotypes can influence students’ expectations. But like mystery meat in the cafeteria, these collegiate conventions are not always to be trusted.
Niche has collected thousands of survey responses from real college students across the country to reveal what life is really like on campus.
With technology often being plentiful at campuses across the country, one would think that lugging a laptop to school would be unnecessary. However, 62 percent of Niche users reported that owning a computer is extremely important, especially when labs can get crowded. It’s a mobile world, and having technology at your fingertips can be the difference between receiving a class cancellation email and wasting a trek across campus.
The stereotype has long been that the Democratic party is the political party of youth, but as Niche users will show you, that’s not always the case. In a Niche survey of more than 50,000 users, 28 percent were unsure of how to describe their campus’s political beliefs, while 15 percent reported their college leaning to the right and 31 percent reported to the left. In fact, 25 percent reported falling right in the middle as moderates, so clearly not everyone is liberal on campus.
The red plastic Solo cup is as synonymous with collegiate life as the beer known to fill it. But is alcohol as readily available as the media depicts? According to Niche users, not necessarily. In a survey of more than 45,000 respondents, 49 percent reported underage drinking being somewhat to very limited on campus, roughly the same amount as people reporting it being abundant, so perhaps underage drinking is a matter of perception.
In movies and on television, Greek life is sometimes depicted as socially dominating college campuses. Yet, in a survey of more than 45,000 students, 40 percent reported no one being treated any differently for not participating in a Greek organization. And in a separate survey of more than 800 users, 79 percent reported Greek life being unnecessary in order to have friends on campus.
Just because you may be hundreds of miles away from your hometown doesn’t mean you’ll never see your parents during the semester. In a Niche survey, 50 percent of students reported seeing their parents anywhere from every weekend to once or twice a semester, and 58 percent of Niche college students are 100 miles or less from mom and dad, so there are many options to get you back home if need be. Check with your college to see what kind of busing and transportation options are available.
Most students think that academics will be the most stressful component of college life, but in a Niche survey of more than 800 users, students named “money” as the No. 1 most strenuous aspect. Thankfully, campuses will offer work-study jobs, where students can man jobs while hitting the books (thus the name).
When one thinks of college sports, varsity teams come to mind, with rigid schedules, mandatory practices, and weekend road trips for matches. However, you don’t necessarily have to play sports for a college team. Intramural and club sports are just as—and sometimes more—popular than varsity sports on campus, providing a fun (but less intensive) alternative. Sixty-one percent of Niche users note them being a big part of campus life.