The college dating scene has taken a dramatic turn in the past few years and according to sociologists, school may not be the best place to find a spouse, based on dating trends.
According to sociology professor Dr. Leslie Bunnage, college has traditionally been the place for students to discover themselves.
Naturally, it was also the place for students to meet their future spouses.
However, Bunnage said this isn’t the case anymore. College-educated professionals are getting married later in life.
As a result, dating in college is taking a different focus.
A couple’s status is “less clear- cut,” and more ambiguous, Bunnage said. The traditional relationship, two people in a committed relationship, just isn’t happening as much as it used to, she added.
Instead, Bunnage suggests, sociologists believe that college students are participating in more noncommittal hook ups and even establishing friends-with-benefits relationships. However, studies also have shown that female students are going into these relationships with the hope that it will turn into something more.
In the past, students have come into college with the intent of finding a life partner. It was no secret that college was the dating pool for young adults. While this is still on the minds of students coming into college, Bunnage says that intention is not as openly discussed as it has been.
The emphasis is on working toward a professional career, rather than establishing the foundations for a family. However, Dr. Bunnage observed that the female students at Seton Hall are more open about wanting to find husband material.
Bunnage also said that the rise of “credentialing” is affecting college students’ dating life.
She defines credentialing as the idea that education serves as a means to an end to get credentials for their future professional prospects. This takes the focus away from the personal cultivation that college used to promote and emphasizes the learning.
Bunnage said she has found that trying to recreate her experiences for her students is almost impossible because “too much has changed.”
Sophomore Samantha Scelzo said she has seen the effect that an increased focus on college has had on dating.
She said that students are “more about being committed to school work than (to) other people.”
Seniors Will Stella and Marcia Oliveria have been dating since freshman year and hope to keep it going strong.
According to Bunnage, this increased focus on credential leaves college students stuck “in a grind” between wanting to do well in school and wanting to forge lasting relationships.
Elena Vitullo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.