back to top

American University Explained To Foreigners

American college life is a bit confusing to those over the pond. So we've pooled our collective knowledge gathered from American media to give you this handy field guide before you go see the ultimate college movie 22 Jump Street, available on Amazon Instant Video.

Posted on

1. American college isn't really a 'college' at all

Buzzfeed/Shutterstock

It's what we Brits call a University.

2. This is a college

Shutterstock

3. You go to college at 16 in the UK. You go to American college when you're 18

Shutterstock Buzzfeed
Shutterstock Buzzfeed

So everyone is really mature and eager to learn.

4. But remember: it's illegal to drink alcohol if you're under 21

5. Unless you do it from a red cup - it's a weird local bylaw

6. The most important day of your life will be when you're admitted to the college of your dreams

7. Because the alternative to college, is:

Plus, the shame of your parents.
Sjharmon / Getty Images

Plus, the shame of your parents.

8. However, only three types of people get to go to college:

1. The super-smart

2. The super rich

Lady Gaga/Beautiful, Dirty, Rich/ Interscope/ youtube.com / Via gifsoup.com

3. People who can run good

Forrest Gump/Paramount Pictures/youtube.com / Via gifsoup.com

9. While we in the UK just have groups of friends: Americans have 'fraternities' and 'sororities'

The Revenge of the Nerds/ 20th Century Fox/ community.foxsportsnext.com

It's where they group like-minded people so that jerks and their natural enemies, dweebs, will never have to meet.

10. Sororities and Fraternities all have Greek names because they were founded by the Ancient Greeks

Which is why it is important to dress in togas whenever possible to honour these brave pioneers.
Keith Parker/Flickr/(CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: keithusc

Which is why it is important to dress in togas whenever possible to honour these brave pioneers.

11. If you join a fraternity or sorority you get to live in that group's luxury house

Adam Crowley / Getty images
Adam Crowley / Getty Images/
Andy Sacks / Getty Images

This is a fraternity, according to stock image sites.

12. This is a sorority

Christin Rose / Getty Images/
Christin Rose / Getty Images
Christin Rose / Getty Images

According to stock image sites.

13. If you choose not to join a fraternity or sorority you'll be put in dorms and given a psychometric test to find a roommate

You will then be teamed with someone who is the polar opposite of you, with ‘hilarious’ consequences.
Rubberball/Mike Kemp / Getty Images

You will then be teamed with someone who is the polar opposite of you, with ‘hilarious’ consequences.

14. The biggest test you'll ever face is learning to get on with your roommate

Other things you should know about American college life:

15. If you're a female college applicant, you're handed a uniform on arrival:

A North Face jacket and/or a hoodie, Uggs, leggings, sunglasses and a Starbucks cup.
Liz/Flickr/(CC BY-ND http://2.0) / Via Flickr: missylizzylucy

A North Face jacket and/or a hoodie, Uggs, leggings, sunglasses and a Starbucks cup.

16. College professors are highly paid individuals specially trained at reading Powerpoint presentations

They come in five sorts: sexy, evil, sexy evil, down-with-the-kids and some-sort-of-law-enforcement-officer-masquerading-as-a-professor.And they subsidise their wages by making students buy their highly expensive text books.
Viorika Prikhodko / Getty Images

They come in five sorts: sexy, evil, sexy evil, down-with-the-kids and some-sort-of-law-enforcement-officer-masquerading-as-a-professor.

And they subsidise their wages by making students buy their highly expensive text books.

17. Classes are optional

youtube.com / Via gifsoup.com

It's the extra curricular activities that really count.

18. Pranks are a way of life

19. Coffee is a God to be worshipped

20. At some point you'll be forced to do a keg stand

andpop.com / Via andpop.com

It's drinking beer upside down.

21. Springbreak is their version of the Easter Holidays

coed.com / Via coed.com

While we get chocolate eggs and roast lamb at your mum's house, American college students get tequila, nudity and hedonism.

Think you've learnt enough to blend in at an American college? These guys probably haven't:

View this video on YouTube

22 Jump Street, available on Amazon Instant Video.