Can A Senior Date A Freshman? The Legal Truth

When you’re in high school, you see a lot of teenage student couples of a freshman with a senior.

Is that even legal? Can a senior date a freshman??

Let’s dive into the facts.

Can a senior date a freshman?

senior boy and freshman girl standing in front of a classroom

Under US laws, it is not illegal for a senior to date a freshman, but their parents need to be aware and ok with it. 

To be clear, a freshman in high school is usually between 14-15, while a senior in high school is between 17-18.

The thing is, there are no federal laws in the US prohibiting people from dating.

And by date, I mean going out on days alone with your boo, being together at a party, checking up on each other every day, or confessing your love for your partner every minute. 

There are no laws stopping people from doing those.

However, the law comes into play in situations that involve sexual activities with a minor.

Think actual intercourse (with many variations), sensual touching, and even kissing. 

Usually, the freshman’s parents make the decision to permit a freshman to date a senior.

Until adulthood, which is 18 in most places, parents call the shots concerning who their children can date and have to give their ‘consent’ in matters like this.

What is the age of consent in the US in each state?

Below is a table showing the different age of consent for the different states in the United States, as well as the acceptable age differences between romantic partners when minors (freshmen or seniors) are involved.

StateAge of ConsentAcceptable differences between ages
New Hampshire160
New Jersey164
New Mexico164
New York170
North Carolina164
North Dakota180
Rhode Island160
South Carolina160
South Dakota163
West Virginia164
District of Columbia164

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Is it weird for a freshman in college to date a senior in high school?

freshman girl and senior boy in school talking

If the gap between their ages is just a year, then it’s not weird for a senior in high school to date a freshman in college.

A senior in high school is on average 17, while a freshman in college is about 19. 

That’s a 2-year gap in most cases, although it could be wider. 

I asked around my coursemates in college. They say it’s not weird to date a senior high schooler if you’re a freshman in college. 

There’s a formula to ensure whether dating a person is weird or creepy based on their ages.

The creepiness formula

The creepiness formula is a way of knowing whether dating a particular person would seem creepy or weird to other people based on their age.

It is a simple, widely followed formula.

½ (your age) +7

This formula means you halve your age and add 7. 

Whatever number it results in is the age above which you can date without being perceived as a weird or creepy person.

For example, if you’re 20 and a sophomore in college, according to the formula { ½(20)+7}, you shouldn’t date anyone below 17. 

Dating someone from 16 below as a 20-year-old would be creepy and weird to most people, and they may tag you as a pedophile or a child molester. 

But even in this situation, you need to request consent from their parents because their parents still call the shots in their dating lives. 

If you don’t, there would be legal hell to pay. 

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Can you get in trouble for dating a freshman? 

person in handcuffs

You can get in trouble with the feds for dating a freshman without parental consent, but the wrath their parents can bring you is worse.

While it is not illegal to date a freshman as a senior, you still have to get consent from the freshman’s parents to stay out of trouble from the complexities of the law. 

What can parents do if a senior is dating their freshman child?

signing a form
Always get consent

If you do decide to date a freshman without consent from their parents, you can land in HUGE trouble if they take up the case. 

Besides just getting you arrested, parents can file police reports charging you with:

  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
  • Interference with parental control
  • Kidnapping
  • Grooming their child
  • Child explicit tape distribution (something the fed love to gobble up)
  • Rape/sexual abuse

They can also get a No Contact/ Restraining Order/ Order of Protection against you. 

Sometimes, maybe if you leave the freshman for someone else, they may file a report that you abused them out of jealousy.

This particular act has sent so many people to jail. 

I advise you to make a recording of their parents permitting you to date their child. 

It would save you from a lot of mess.

Should I let my freshman daughter date a senior?

daughter and mother having a discussion

Your decision to let your freshman daughter to date a senior depends on many factors, but age difference isn’t enough to stop a relationship.

Allowing your freshman daughter to have a relationship is not the end of the world.

You may still think she’s that naive, innocent girl you raised in a catholic school, but you may be very wrong. (I am in college, remember?)

So what should you do if your daughter wants to date a senior?

Here are 2 things you should do if your daughter wants to date a senior:

Find out who the senior is

Since you are at the helm of your child’s relationship life, you should know who they plan to date. 

Find out his age, how mature he is, his background, and most importantly, his intentions.

Trust me when I say many seniors want Freshmen just for sex. 

If you talk to the senior, and he seems like the kind of person just aiming to sleep with her, you need to get your daughter away from him ASAP.

But if he’s not, you can let them date, albeit with a close eye on them. 

Talk to them about the dangers of teen dating

Once you’ve given your consent, you should talk to your daughter about it.

Tell her about the dangers of dabbling into relationships at a young age.

Assure her you’ll be with her every step of the way.

But don’t stop there.

Get on a phone call with the boy’s parents, asking them to also talk to their son.

Then have healthy rules and boundaries in place they must follow(curfew, no touching, etc)

Let her understand that it’s for her good and that you only want the best for them. 

Explain why you set the rules and the consequences of breaking those rules. 

But I must warn you.

As teenagers, we can get rebellious when we aren’t allowed to do the things we want. 

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk and enlighten them. 

A verified teacher-mother gives her opinion on whether mothers should let their freshman daughters date senior boys

Recap: Can a senior date a freshman?

a boy and girl on a date

Ultimately, it is legal for a senior to date a freshman regardless of age, but you must get consent from their parents, and have proof that they actually gave you their consent.

If you don’t, you may end up in jail regardless.

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