How to recruit and romance in Fire Emblem: Three Houses

As a professor in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, you'll have plenty of students under your charge. You may want to recruit even more from the other houses, though! Then, later on down the line, you may find yourself wanting to enter a romantic relationship with one of your former students once they've grown up and are no longer your student.

Both of these activities can be accomplished in a similar fashion. Here's how to raise the affections of students, recruit them to your cause, and then later fall in love in Fire Emblem: Three Houses:

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How to recruit and romance in Fire Emblem: Three Houses

  1. Some characters cannot be recruited, including house leaders and their right-hand men and women
  2. Those who can will gain a Recruit option when you talk to them during Explore on free days once you reach a certain story point
  3. Select Recruit and they'll either join you, or refuse
  4. Monastery figures such as Catherine, Shamir, Manuela, Hanneman, Cyril, and others can be recruited after you reach a certain level. Keep leveling up and they'll get the option to join you automatically
  5. Flayn will also ask to join after certain story beats
  6. For everyone else, you need to both raise their affection and excel in a skill or stat
  7. You can see which skills and stats they value by choosing Recruit and letting them refuse
  8. Raise Byleth's skills and stats through Advanced Instruction with instructors, and fighting in battles
  9. Raise student affection by Giving gifts, inviting to tea, battling with them, and finding lost items
  10. Keep trying to Recruit after doing these things, and eventually, they'll join
  11. Recruiting will no longer be possible after the first half of the game is over
  12. Romancing requires S-rank support, and isn't possible until near the end of the game

Help, I can't recruit this student!

It can be difficult to recruit certain students if you want to raise your Byleth to have a certain class build (for example, if you want them to excel in swordsmanship) but a student really just wants to see you clunking around in heavy armor. The good news is, you don't have to excel in the skill AND the stat AND have a high support rating with them. Usually, a C-rank in a skill is enough, and if your support rank with them is high enough they may shrug off lower skills or stats. You should hone in on upping your support rank with them by giving gifts, inviting to tea and meals, and asking them to assist your house for the month then standing next to them in battle.

If that's still not doing it, use the instructors around the school to boost your skills. Don't forget that some characters (Dedue, Hubert, Hilda, the house leaders) can't be recruited if you're not already in their houses. Others, including Cyril, Alois, Hanneman, Manuela, and others can be recruited just from having your overall level high enough.


Fire Emblem: Three Houses puts a much lighter emphasis on romance than previous Fire Emblem games. In fact, you can't even romance anyone until the very end of the game.

Romance is triggered by having an S-rank support with a character near the end of the game. All you have to do is make sure you're at S-rank with them, which shouldn't be too hard if they're already in your house. If they're not, you'll need to recruit them, but since you'll definitely either have them or not by the second half of the game, again, you have plenty of time to work on this. Give them gifts, invite them to tea, fight next to them in battle, and make sure you agree when prompted to view their support conversations. When the time comes for your S-rank conversation and romance, you'll be prompted, so you won't miss it.

Regardless of whether you just want to recruit more students or want to marry someone before the credits roll, what's key is raising both their affection and Byleth's own strength. A lot of this happens automatically, but if you already know who you want to target, you can focus on particular characters' likes and dislikes and recruit only who you want into your house.

Accessories for hours of Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a long game! To make sure you're playing both comfortably and efficiently, here are some suggestions for accessories that are great not just for Fire Emblem, but for other Switch games, too.

Nintendo Switch Pro Controller ($62 at Amazon)

Not just for 'pros'

The Nintendo Switch Pro controller is a must-have for anyone who feels even a touch uncomfortable with the Joy-Cons for long gaming sessions. It's the shape of a standard controller and has the same layout and features as two Joy-Cons paired together.

Official Switch Deluxe Travel Case ($20 at Amazon)

Keep it safe

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is a great game for long trips, but you need to keep your Switch protected and your tiny Switch cartridges from getting lost. The official travel case has space to store the Switch itself, multiple physical games, and a pouch for accessories like extra Joy-Cons or a stylus.

amFilm Tempered Glass Screen Protector ($8 at Amazon)

Playing in handheld mode? Keep the screen on the Nintendo Switch from getting scratched or smudged with screen protectors. This set includes two for a reasonably low cost.

Reb Valentine