Are American colleges like the movies portray?

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The answer is – you can find wild and crazy students on any campus, but the vast majority of college campuses have students who are serious about their studies. It is far more entertaining to make movies that show parties, excessive drinking, and students doing pranks than to focus on students who study and behave maturely and appropriately.

For years, films have used college campuses in stories for movies. Why? They are entertaining.

In this issue....
Clubs and Organizations
Sororities and Fraternities


These are the most infamous college movies:

For the most part, students enter college with careers in mind, and this leads them to taking courses that will further their development in different academic areas. But there is definitely a side of college that encourages fun.

You may have heard of the term ‘stereotypes’. Stereotypes are broad generalizations about people. They usually put people in categories, not always pleasant ones. They may be about people from a certain location, people of a certain ethnicity, religion, gender, status, or sexual orientation.

One thing is for sure – using stereotypes causes people to judge others without getting to know the person for who they are. Rather, a conclusion is made in haste. 

Movies base their characters on stereotypes. There is usually the “good guy”, the “bad guy” etc. People who use movies to understand a culture or society will be mislead if they take the content of the movies too seriously. What can be taken from movies is the culture of entertainment from a particular place. But please, don’t misinterpret the content as reality.

The wise student knows how to balance both studying and participating in fun activities. Students, who spend too much on one, and not the other, will miss living the ‘whole’ college experience. Not to mention that success in college requires completing academic requirements.

Rules on campus are common – and these apply to appropriate behavior and expectations. Generally speaking, American colleges require students to respect themselves and others, apply themselves academically, and to see themselves as a part of a learning community.

The drinking age in the United States is 21. Colleges are serious about this and take disciplinary action when a student drinks on campus.

So what kind of fun can be found on college campuses in the United States?

Clubs and Organizations

Join College Clubs and Organizations  – they will allow you to meet other students, make friends who enjoy the same activities you do, and provide you the potential to engage in leadership roles.

Here is a link to clubs at the University of Virginia:

Here is another from the University of Michigan:

Look on your college’s website to see what clubs and/or organizations you can join.

Most colleges/universities have these:

Student Government
Dance Teams
Career clubs
International Student
Music – singing and instrumental
Quidditch (from Harry Potter - gaining popularity on campuses)

(just to name a few)


NCAA – National Collegiate Athletic Association

In the United States, colleges fall into three categories of competitive athletic divisions:

Division I –
Highly competitive college sports programs/teams
Can provide athletes with athletic scholarships
Athletes are recruited from high schools by college coaches
Most types of college sports teams

Division II
Very competitive college sports programs
Some athletes receive athletic scholarships, though not many
Athletes are usually recruited from high schools by college coaches
Many types of college sports teams

Division III
Least competitive college sports programs
No athletes receive athletic scholarships
Athletes may be recruited from high schools by college coaches, but walk-ons common
Fewest types of college sport teams

If you are not a high level competitive athlete, but still enjoy team sports, many colleges/universities have intramural sports. These teams compete against other colleges, but on a less competitive level than the NCAA.

To learn more:

Sororities and Fraternities

Sororities (female) and Fraternities (male)  - also known as Greek Life

These are clubs that are very particular about membership. They recruit their members at the beginning of the academic year by having interested students visit (rush) with each sorority/fraternity. The members already in these clubs get to know each interested student and choose which students they will accept/bid on. The process can be very exciting and at the same time very chaotic and humiliating. Why? Because you are not always accepted into the one of your choice.  Once chosen/bid on by the interested sororities and fraternities, the accepted students choose which one to pledge/join.

Sororities and fraternities are philanthropic, activity minded, cost money to join and have their own houses/residences on campus. Once a member, you are considered a ‘sister’ or ‘brother’ for life.

Students often like joining sororities or fraternities because of the camaraderie.

Not all campuses have strong Greek life. It is a good idea to do some research about how prominent Greek life is at the college you are considering. You may decide Greek life is not important to you, and therefore would not be interested in a college where most students join.

To learn more:


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