Top 5 TV Shows about College Life

Fire up your LCD TV, your laptop, or your favorite tablet and get to watching some of the best TV shows (past and present) portraying the happiest and sometimes the most volatile period of a young person’s life. Here are the top five TV shows about college living:


Remember how depressed you were when Judd Apatow’s hilarious take on a gang of high school and middle school students in the 1980s (Freaks and Geeks) got cancelled after just one glorious season? Sadly, the exact same thing happened with his hilarious take on college life. According to Apatow, the only problem was that the show portrayed college life more or less truthfully, with sex, drugs, and drinking – a tough sell for network TV, but it sure made for one great show.


This show was like Carrie Bradshaw before Sex in the City. The titular character talked to a friend by way of taped letters as a format for relating the events that were unfolding in her life (much like Bradshaw wrote columns about her personal life for her readers). Viewers got sucked into relationships, haircuts, and the vast uncertainty facing a group of college students as they tried to make heads or tails of love, life, and the prospect of a lifelong career choice. In short, it was just about as dramatic as actual college existence; with weird roommates, love triangles, and changing majors; which made it a perfect introduction for many teens just heading off to college themselves.


A lot of college students are not only excited about being away from home for the first time, but also about pledging a fraternity or sorority. In ABC Family’s take on the college sitcom, this is exactly the type of student we’ll see. You might not think this material sounds like a good fit for the family-friendly network that produced a show like squeaky-clean 7th Heaven, but when you consider that their current line-up includes more risqué fare like Pretty Little Liars and The Secret Life of the American Teenager (it’s no 16 and Pregnant, but it’s a big step for ABC Family), it makes more sense. And the network is certainly no stranger to melodrama, which this show embraces in spades. Also included, however, are gay-themed storylines, a daring and well-timed touch for the otherwise homogenous network.


This has been described as the smartest, funniest show on the air right now, and anyone who has seen it would be hard-pressed to disagree. It’s 100% worth it for Joel McHale alone (although Chevy Chase and the rest of the cast are equally amazing). You’ll laugh out loud at some of the absolutely ludicrous stories, but overall, the fantastic acting and totally relatable characters will keep you coming back for more.

A Different World

This spinoff of the Cosby Show featured oldest daughter Denise (Lisa Bonet) heading off to college. Of course, she didn’t stay with the show (nor did costar Marisa Tomei), but the show still ran for six seasons. Although the laugh-track was a bit intrusive, the show managed to tackle some serious subject matter that is still relevant today (unlike the giant shoulder-pads and oversized blazers).

What is your favourite college-themed TV show?

This guest post was written by Leon Harris, a College Being contributor.

4 Thoughts on “Top 5 TV Shows about College Life”

  1. There are so many good college shows out there but I would have to agree with community. It is great how it portrays the college scene. It really seems to hit a lot of the assumptions about college right on the money.

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