A brief guide to Senior Scramble

The dead of winter immediately after holiday sweets may not seem like the ideal time for romantic intrigue, but for some of the student body, bulky coats and indoor dates are going to have to do.

Snow suits

An outfit that could never fail to stir the heart

For the uninitiated, “Senior Scramble” describes the phenomenon that occurs when a student (hereafter referred to as the Scrambler) beginning their last semester of college realizes that they live in a place full of interesting and attractive people who are close to the Scrambler’s age and part of their social circle (if only loosely), and that this utopia will cease to exist for the Scrambler within five months’ time. In response to this alarming realization, the Scrambler must throw caution to the wind and act on any attractions they have harbored but never had the courage to pursue. Senior Scramble is a social adrenaline rush; the knowledge that you’ll never have another chance to talk to that unfairly attractive person you had a class with sophomore year is galvanizing. We can’t all be the cure for Alex Turner’s January blues, but we can do something about our own. Here are a few tips and recommendations to help you get in the correct mindset for this semester.

(Note: I’m assuming your crush is single, or that you have no knowledge of their relationship status at all. If you’re attempting to get Jessie’s girl, that’s an entirely different game. I don’t feel I can wish you good luck, scoundrel, but I won’t wish you ill fortune either.)

Should you make the first move?

Yes. God, yes. Yes, in every scenario I can think of. Perhaps the attraction between you and your crush is mutual, and you’ll both make the move at the same time. Unlikely as that scenario may be, the main idea is that you should ignore social prescriptions about who asks who out. Maybe you’re shy. Perhaps you think your crush is out of your league. Nothing will come of nothing. Time is running by us, so don’t dick around. Why are you even reading this? You haven’t got the leisure.

Know what you’re looking for.

Given that you’ve only got a few months left, you should understand that a long-term relationship might not be in the cards for you and your crush. That’s fine if you’re just looking for a fling, but if you’re looking for something to continue with post-Brown, understand that you may not have much success. After graduation we’ll scatter across the globe, and no one wants to change their life’s entire course just as it’s about to begin. Long-distance relationships are difficult, especially if there’s no well-defined plan to close that distance. Tread carefully, for your own sake and for the benefit of your crush.

Be polite.

If you’re asking your crush out (which you ought to be, see above), it’s obvious that you shouldn’t be rude. This rule applies to more than just your words. Don’t ask someone out if they’re in a hurry, or if they’re in a quiet study space, or if they’re verging on tears at 1 a.m. in the CIT. You ought to make the first move, but don’t make the first move like a prick. Be brief and candid, look your crush in the eye, and hope for the best. This brings us to the next point.

Steel yourself for rejection.

I’ll make no bones about it: There’s a very good chance that your courage will be for naught, and your crush will turn you down. If we take a broader view, your crush is likely attractive, both physically and intellectually. Tastes vary, but I think it’s usually likely that if you’ve got an eye for someone, you probably aren’t alone. If your crush is also a senior, they’ll have had plenty of time on campus to meet another cool person and go gallivanting off to be attractive together. Perhaps there are photos of them together on Tumblr. Also, you have to take into account what your crush is looking for in a relationship (again, see above). Maybe they’re just not into flings, and don’t want to get into anything serious at the moment. Maybe they don’t like you, and find your request viscerally offensive. These are just some of the reasons your suit can fail, and you may never even know why. Tough luck, comrade. Romance is one of the few areas where we all have to accept that life can be cruel and unfair. Look on the bright side: You may well never see them again after this semester.


Remember that Senior Scramble is likely not the most important thing that you’re doing during your last semester (if it is, you’re beyond help). Your crush is not a vengeful Hellenistic deity who will be displeased that you’ve made no sacrificial offering. One hopes that they are not a sadist who will savor your anguish as they reject you, in which case you’re probably better off staying single. Making romantic overtures to a fellow student isn’t the greatest trial you’ve faced so far in your life.

Don’t creep via social media.

I won’t tell you not to look at all, but you shouldn’t know every last thing about your crush. You may think it will help you, and you may be right, but it’s no less creepy for its utility. Let the mystery of your attraction endure for a bit, and get to know your crush as you go (or don’t, if you get shot down).

Is Senior Scramble exclusive to Seniors?

Certainly not. In fact, if you’re not a Senior but your crush is, you’re operating in the same limited window of time as your elders. Come share in the desperation and reckless abandon.

That’s about all I can tell you, so go forth and conquer. I’m told that dating is supposed to be fun, so you just might enjoy yourself.

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