College life is a unique and transformative experience, filled with late-night studying, new friendships, and a fair share of challenges. Television shows often try to capture this dynamic environment, but not all of them get it right. As a college student, you might be curious about which shows depict your reality accurately and which ones fall short.

When juggling classes, assignments, and exams, finding time to relax can be challenging. Watching TV shows that resonate with your college experience can be a great way to unwind. And if your workload becomes overwhelming, you can always rely on an online paper writing service to help manage your academic responsibilities.

Shows That Accurately Depict College Life


“Community” is a standout when it comes to portraying college life, albeit through a comedic lens. The show is set at Greendale Community College and follows a diverse group of students navigating their educational journeys. It captures the essence of community college life, from quirky professors to the challenges of group assignments. The friendships and rivalries among the study group members feel genuine, reflecting the social dynamics you might encounter in college.

The series also touches on the realities of balancing personal lives with academic demands. While it leans heavily on humour and absurdity, the underlying themes of personal growth and learning are very relatable.



“Felicity” offers a more dramatic and realistic portrayal of college life. The show follows Felicity Porter as she moves across the country to attend the fictional University of New York. It delves into the complexities of leaving home, forming new relationships, and discovering one’s identity.

“Felicity” accurately portrays the emotional ups and downs of college life, including the pressure of assignments and the intensity of studying for exams. The character’s experiences with dorm life, academic challenges, and evolving friendships mirror what many students face in their own college journeys.

“Dear White People”

“Dear White People” provides a nuanced look at college life, focusing on the experiences of Black students at the predominantly white Ivy League Winchester University. The show addresses critical issues such as racism, identity, and social justice, offering a perspective that is both insightful and thought-provoking.

The series is notable for its realistic depiction of student activism, the complexities of interracial relationships, and the struggles with balancing academics and social responsibilities. It highlights the importance of finding one’s voice and standing up for what you believe in, which are significant aspects of the college experience.

Shows That Don’t Accurately Depict College Life

“Gossip Girl”

While “Gossip Girl” is undeniably entertaining, its depiction of college life is far from realistic. The series focuses more on the glamorous and scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite rather than the academic and social realities of college students. The characters’ experiences at prestigious universities are often overshadowed by their personal dramas and extravagant lifestyles.

For many students, the intense focus on wealth and social status in “Gossip Girl” does not reflect their own experiences of juggling homework, part-time jobs, and extracurricular activities. The show prioritizes sensationalism over the genuine struggles and triumphs of college life.



“Legacies,” a supernatural drama set at the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, blends elements of fantasy with teen drama. While the show is engaging and fun, its portrayal of a magical boarding school is far removed from the realities of college life.

The fantastical elements, such as supernatural powers and mythical creatures, take center stage, leaving little room for realistic depictions of studying, assignments, or the day-to-day experiences of college students. While entertaining, “Legacies” is more about escapism than reflecting real-life college experiences.

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager”

The Secret Life of the American Teenager

“The Secret Life of the American Teenager” follows the lives of high school students, but its later seasons touch on their transition to college. However, the show’s melodramatic approach often overshadows the realistic aspects of college life.

The characters’ experiences are frequently exaggerated, focusing on extreme scenarios rather than the everyday challenges of college students. This can create a skewed perception of what college life is actually like, making it less relatable for those looking for an authentic portrayal.


Television shows offer a window into various aspects of life, including the college experience. While some shows like “Community,” “Felicity,” and “Dear White People” provide accurate and relatable depictions, others like “Gossip Girl,” “Legacies,” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” take more liberties with reality.

Guest Author Profile

Content writer Nicole Hardy is celebrated for her detailed and thoughtful journalism within the realms of education and the arts, with a special emphasis on performing arts education. Over the course of her decade-long career, Hardy has earned a reputation as a trusted expert in her field. Her writing is marked by thorough analysis and a captivating style of storytelling. She earned her Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of Arts, with a focus on arts and culture journalism.