College AU

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Tropes and genres
Synonym(s)University AU
Related tropes/genresHigh School AU, Academy Fic, Academic AU
Related articles on Fanlore.

College AU is a popular genre of AU fanfic (less often a genre of fanart) in which characters who are canonically not in higher education are students in college or university. College AUs are closely related to High School AUs.

In science fiction, historical or fantasy fandoms, the present-day College AU is a popular subgenre of the Modern AU that puts fantastic or historical characters in more mundane everyday settings, e.g. Arthur and Merlin as college students instead of prince and manservant, or Marvel superheroes attending college together (this is often combined with a No Powers AU).

College AUs also turn up in contemporary RPF like One Direction (where the band members did not ever attend university), as well as in fandoms where, based on their professions, characters presumably would have gone to university at some point, but canonically would not yet have met each other.

College AUs do not include canon-compliant fanfic exploring an adult character's backstory, future fic for young characters who could conceivably go to college some day, or fanfic for canons set in college. See Academy Fic.

Fanworks Examples


  • And With Each Mile by Honor, in which Zac has decided to attend college in England after breaking up with Taylor.
  • Color of Love by Rebekah. Although Hanson exists as a band (and experiences some success near the end of the fic), the story centers around Zac's college experience falling for a girl his family does not approve of.
  • Holy Scrubs by Eve and Leigh, in which Taylor was in a fraternity and Zac was a member of the eponymous religious club.
  • Kiss and Tell by Bethany, in which Georgie has a crush on her best friend from childhood Zac but his brother Taylor as well as her new roommate/enemy Bella complicate things.

Fannish Resources