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9 Movies to Watch Before Starting College

Old School
DreamWorks

Note to incoming college freshmen: Orientations and handbooks are only going to get you so far in life. You're going to need a rigorous arsenal of film knowledge to get you through these next four years, and we're here to help.

Consider the following nine films an essential primer on preparing for all aspects of college life. Within these hallowed films you'll find info on fraternities, dating, roommates, sports, road trips, law school and becoming a billionaire before graduation. And while we can't guarantee this list will help you graduate and find a job, it'll definitely make the attempt more fun.

National Lampoon's Van Wilder
Artisan

9. 'National Lampoon's Van Wilder'

After lying dormant for years, the "National Lampoon" franchise was resurrected in 2002 with Ryan Reynolds playing the titular character, a seventh-year senior whose sole mission is to get as many girls in bed as possible. When the trust fund runs out, Wilder takes a gig planning college parties before running into school reporter Tara Reid. Use Van Wilder's business skills as a guide to start your own lucrative campus business. And once you've read Machiavelli, feel free to apply his life lessons to step on anyone who tries to crush your dream.

Rudy
TriStar

8. 'Rudy'

In the ultimate underdog sports film, Sean Astin plays Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, a Notre Dame student who's "5 feet nothin', 100 and nothin', [with] hardly a speck of athletic ability." Still, the aspiring athlete is determined to fulfill his lifelong dream of playing for Notre Dame football. One of the few movies that can reduce grown men to gushing babies, you'll want to see this for inspiration and tips on achieving your goals, whether it's making the actual football team or just asking that T.A. out for dinner.

The Roommate
Screen Gems

7. 'The Roommate'

So maybe it's a blatant rip-off of Barbet Schroeder's "Single White Female," but "The Roommate" still serves as the best cautionary tale for dealing with your psychotic new college friend. When mentally disturbed freshman Leighton Meester shacks up with Average Jane Minka Kelly, things go south quickly, with Meester turning into a walking after-school special. Easy solution: Only apply to schools your friends are applying to, thus ensuring that the only psychosis will be the result of daily phone calls from Mom.

Revenge of the Nerds
20th Century Fox

6. 'Revenge of the Nerds'

With the rise of the Internet and social media, it's clear that the nerds have won. But sadly, there was a time -- let's call it the 1980s -- when the jocks still ran the school and the nerds were forced to live in the gymnasium after their house was burned down. The short-shorts and dated music will always anchor this film to a particular decade, but for every spazz, dork or geek that "has ever felt stepped on, left out, picked on [or] put down," this is the film for you.

The Sure Thing
Embassy Pictures

5. 'The Sure Thing'

No list of college films is complete without at least one John Cusack movie. Rob Reiner's 1985 comedy about two students who travel to California to meet their respective partners offers numerous disparate lessons. Most importantly, if your life is anything like a movie, you'll end up falling in love with the person you most despise. But equally significant is the necessity of at least one long, primarily useless, life-affirming road trip at some point in your college career.

Legally Blonde
MGM

4. 'Legally Blonde'

You may be asking yourself, "What does the story of a seemingly brain-dead student who enrolls at Harvard just to win her boyfriend back have to do with me?" But as Elle Woods, Reese Witherspoon actually does study for the LSATs and overcomes mocking and ridicule to succeed. Let's call this the female counterpart to "Rudy," with Witherspoon able to overcome perceived deficiencies through creativity and hard work. The more you know.

The Social Network
Columbia PIctures

3. 'The Social Network'

You're not actually at college to "learn" or "grow," right? Those are all just meaningless buzzwords to justify an inflated tuition rate. David Fincher's Academy Award-nominated film teaches us that while college may be the incubator for great ideas, it's the general atmosphere, rather than the classrooms, that breed billion-dollar ideas like the invention of Facebook. Helpful side note: Already be a genius before entering college.

Animal House
Universal

2. 'National Lampoon's Animal House'

Preceding "Porky's," "PCU" or "Meatballs," John Landis' 1978 classic remains one of the most imitated and admired comedies of all time. Don't think about the nonexistent plot and just enjoy life with the Deltas, the most obnoxious frat in film history. Watching John Belushi, Tim Matheson and others mock all that is virtuous and true will both give you inspiration to destroy your own school and humble you that you will never even come close to being as cool as them.

Old School
DreamWorks

1. 'Old School'

Why is Todd Phillips' 2003 film about three men in their 30s who try to relive their college days our top choice? Because one day, regardless of your sex, you'll be those people: washed up, nostalgic and willing to sacrifice your firstborn to Satan to relive the best, most carefree, days of your life. The sooner you see what your life will become, the more you'll appreciate it when it's time to experience it the first time around. You're welcome.

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