Do Cliques Exist in College

High school students are often aware of the prevalence and impact that cliques have on social circles. In high school, individual students are often lumped into one of many categories or groups defined by their common interests or distinguishing features. Because it is a part of human nature to feel the need to belong to a group, some individuals may make distinct efforts to become part of these groups, or cliques, whereas others are simply unaware of the labels placed on them by other members of their community.

In an attempt to escape from this categorizing and biased environment, many prospective college students wonder whether there are similar cliques in college. The simple answer is yes. While college admissions counsels often strive to diversify their student bodies in an attempt to include members of various communities with different ethnic, racial, or socio-economic backgrounds, college students are just as prone to stereotyping and classifying students into various cliques as high school students.

Just like high school, there are cliques that include athletes, minority groups, members of the Greek (fraternity/sorority) system, religious zealots, floaters, and various others. Because a number of activities are often available for students on college campuses, it is easy to group students with similar interests into various different cliques.

Fortunately, the difference between high school cliques and college cliques seems to be a higher degree of acceptance. In high school, students are more likely to be surprised when they see a member of a certain, distinguished “clique” engaging in activities or behaviors that are unlike their stereotypical labels. For example, in many cases, high school students would be surprised by or uncomfortable with a star quarterback who is also the captain of an academic math league. On the contrary, college students are encouraged to branch out of their stereotypes by trying new activities and experiencing new things. This encouragement undoubtedly leads to a greater acceptance within the student body of individual members of cliques engaging in activities commonly associated with other cliques.

No matter what, it seems that when a large group of individuals comes together, there are most certainly going to be cliques. People will inevitably connect with others like themselves in order to maintain a sense of belonging in a greater a whole. Whether an individual is a member of a high school, college, or business community, it is likely that they will have to deal with cliques. Luckily it seems that as individuals mature, they’re also more likely to be more accepting of certain members of cliques taking on various roles in their respective communities.