There are different challenges associated with dating at various stages in your life, and college dating is no exception. To be fair, there is also a lot of good stuff that goes along with dating while you’re in college. Here are a few thoughts to help you make the most out of this important time.

If you started dating in high school, then you should know that college dating is entirely different. The biggest difference is that your parents had some control over your dating when you were still living at home, but you are entirely responsible for your actions now that you are on your own. While this can feel liberating, you also need to remember that your actions have consequences.

It should go without saying, but remember that the primary reason for going to college is to get an education. You can still date someone, but your studies should always be a priority. Go ahead and have fun, you’re young, and you deserve to enjoy your life. However, don’t let love blind you to what your purpose is.

Speaking of purpose, college dating differs from high school dating in another way: you are thinking more about your future and settling down. Where high school dating was mostly about dating, college dating tends to be about finding somebody to spend the rest of your life with. Needless to say, this changes the entire dating dynamic.

That’s not to say that all college dating is serious. Sometimes you just want to have a fling, and that’s okay. However, you should make your intentions known to whomever you are dating, so they aren’t any under false pretenses.

Most college students are away from home for the first time in their lives, and this can give them an amazing sense of freedom. That freedom, while alluring, may lead to trouble for those who aren’t careful. Experimentation comes in many forms and some of them care deceptively destructive. In other words, sexual experimentation may be encouraged by other students, and it may even feel good at the time, but the truth is that it often takes an emotional toll and causes other problems.

One of the best parts of college dating is that there are so many potential partners to choose from. Even a modest-sized campus can have thousands of students, and they are all there (in theory at least) to do the same thing: get an education. So, not only do you have a lot of people to choose from, but you automatically have something in common with them. That alone can give you a solid start on a relationship.

Finally, your college years will be over before you know it, so make the most of them. College dating is fine, but try not to take it too seriously. Keep your priorities straight and everything else will fall into place.