From college-only apps to the big players, here’s the best tech for the student dater.
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We love a good party as much as anyone. But the logistics of trying to get to know someone in a packed basement over blaring trap music while someone does body shots in the corner are a bit challenging. It’s not exactly the prime environment for romance. (Although maybe you’re not looking for romance? Party on, friend.)
Dating apps are the saving grace of college students everywhere. Whether you’re serious about finding someone, or just looking for a quick hookup, you may not need to look further than the right app. After all, .
Our best picks for college students are the following: We like for its inclusivity, its ease of use, and its fun algorithms. also gets our stamp of approval, as the swipe-happy, low-touch app makes finding people nearby a breeze. deserves a shoutout as well, since it keeps the dating pool limited to other college students.
Read on to discover which other dating apps for college students made the cut. We’ve narrowed down the list to the 8 best online dating apps for whatever kind of college experience you want. Here they are:
Modern and user friendly • Large dating pool • LGBTQ friendly • Offers matchmaking tech
Questionnaire can get tedious
OkCupid genuinely wants dating to be a good experience, and their multi-faceted matchmaking and modern vibe help you steer clear of feeling like a loser looking for a boo online.
Basic subscription with all you need:
Start at $4.99/month
I mean, I guess that’s probably a good thing to know.
You can choose to share the questions publicly or just keep them private as a way to help the app match you. Our advice: don’t skimp on these. Not only are they an opportunity to show the real you and help the app make more accurate matches, they also make for great icebreakers.
Why it’s good for college students: Unfortunately in the dating world, sometimes we end up spending a lot of time with someone before we get to see their true colors.
If you’re in college, you probably have a ton of stuff on your plate other than your love life (hello exams and 14-page papers), which means you don’t have time to waste on somebody you just know it would never work with. is here to help you avoid that. The app’s wide variety of optional questions help you get a feel for someone’s real personality and even ask the nitty-gritty questions that you may not even think to ask before it’s too late and you’ve already spent half of your semester with someone who disagrees with your views on cilantro. Ugh.
A basic subscription is free (great for the college student on a budget), but an A-list subscription is 4.99/month for six months, 7.99/month for three months, or 9.99/month for one month. Key features of upgrading? See who likes you, see when someone has read your message, and more.
Has a version just for college students • Easy to use
Low chance of meeting IRL
If you’re playing around, Tinder’s new Tinder U feature could make college dating easier.
Basic subscription :
Free, with optional upgrades
Ready for the real kicker? Tinder also just launched a version of the original app that’s specifically for college students. Now, when students sign into Tinder with a school email from a four-year-accredited university, swipes will be made on college students in the surrounding area as well as at nearby universities.
Why it’s good for college students: Some 80% of Twitter users are millennials, which means college kids are definitely familiar with the app. Tinder is perfect for those who aren’t really thinking about commitment, but are open to having some fun with someone new. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
A disclaimer though: one exposed that over 70% of college kids had never even actually met up with somebody from Tinder. The dating app is an easy, popular option with over users and 1.4 billion swipes per day — just don’t hold your breath when it comes to actually meeting up.
hopes to change these stats though. This new feature is especially convenient, since your matches are strictly other college students, giving you a head start on meeting both the people around your campus and the hotties on the other side of the stands at the big game.
Cost: The base app is totally free, but if you want, you can upgrade to TinderPlus for features like “Super-likes” and “Rewind last swipe,” for when you accidentally swipe left on a hottie.
Made for college students • Ability to filter very specifically • Has options for dating • friends • hooking up • Totally free
If you want to meet non-students • you’re out of luck
Friendsy’s college-only policy and drill-down search features make it a winner.
Why it’s good for college students: This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but here it is again: is specifically and *only* for college students. The fact that Friendsy requires an active .edu email to join ensures that no random townies that live around your rural college town will fall into your swipe pool. The filter options are also clutch, mainly because they’re so specific that you can practically find anyone if you narrow your filter enough. (So no, you won’t have to spend four hours swiping in hopes of maybe landing on the cute business major from your freshman orientation’s profile.) Another thing that makes this dating app great: it allows you to put your intentions on the forefront. Right off the bat, you’ll know if someone is looking to hookup, date, or just be friends, so it takes the wondering out of the equation.
Cost: Friendsy is made for the college budget. And by that we mean it’s free.
Offers video verification • Uses tech to analyze your preferences
If you’re tired of other dating apps, Zoosk could be a fresh approach, but it’s not free.
Bonus: Zoosk also gives a photo verification option, where users can use video verification to prove they actually look like their pics. This is a great feature, considering nothing screams “online-dating is the worst” like being catfished.
The more you interact with the app, the better Zoosk is at working its magic. analyzes your preferences and patterns when it comes to interacting with other singles in order to figure out your “type.” Then it uses that information to make recommendations for you, otherwise known as the “SmartPick” feature.
Why it’s good for college students: Using Zoosk takes away a lot of the typical annoyances of dating apps. It allows you to get as personal as you want, without limiting you to a certain method of finding someone. Its multiple search options let you customize your experience based on your needs. For example, if you’re trying to squeeze in a chat in between classes and maybe even arrange a weekend meet-up, you don’t have to waste your time reaching out to people who might not even see your message until next week. Just go straight to the “see who’s online” tab.
Cost: A one-month subscription is $29.95, three months is $19.98 per month, and six months widdles down to only $12.49 per month.
Guarantees you’ll find someone or you get 6 months free • Missed connections feature is especially great for campus
Not cheap • User base skews a bit older
If you’re seriously looking for something serious, Match could be for you, but it’s pricey.
Why it’s good for college students: For one, And if you don’t, then you get to keep looking for another six months for free.
Another great thing about is their “Missed Connections” feature. This part of the app uses your location to match you with people you’ve already crossed paths with in real life. Think about all the times you saw someone cute on campus but didn’t make a move. Or better yet, think about how much more convenient it would be to match with someone who doesn’t live on the opposite end of campus. Proximity is not overrated.
Cost: $26.99/month for three months or $20.99/month for a year’s worth of premium. There’s also a free version, but interaction with other users is extremely limited.
Available in Spanish • Great matchmaking tech
Lots to fill out to sign up • Pricey
If marriage is already on your mind, eharmony is probably your best bet.
Why it’s good for college students: Chances are, if you find a match on then they’re just as serious as you. A decent amount of thought and effort goes into filling out a profile, but it could definitely be the difference between wasting your time and meeting someone who’s on the same page and looking for the same thing. The chance of marrying your college sweetheart is definitely , so why waste your time on hookup apps when you can easily narrow your options to likeminded matches?
Cost: One month is $57.95, but you can get your price down to $26.95 with a year’s commitment. We know it’s pricey, but it’s worth it. If you’re fishing from a pool of candidates who are willing to pay the price for love, chances are they’re in it for the real thing.
Cool “dealbreaker” option • Unique matching features and ice-breakers
Hinge’s unique features could make it worth the $7/month.
allows for a lot of filters in order to narrow down your search. They also give the “dealbreaker” option to narrow the search even further. If you’re someone who wouldn’t even entertain the idea of dating someone shorter or taller than you, filter the height options to your preference and hit “deal breaker,” so Hinge won’t even bother showing you those profiles.
Once you come across a profile you like, instead of “liking” the entire profile, you must choose one thing (whether a photo or a question answer) in order to try and match.
To show off your best pics that didn’t make the six-picture limit, connect your Instagram.
Why it’s good for college students: is perfect for those who are just enjoying the casual college experience, but would consider a relationship if the right person came along. It’s easy to use and offers slightly more than the typical surface-level swiping. The fact that you’re forced to like a specific profile feature makes it easy to break the ice. Someone liked that you answered “my sister” in the “things I can’t live without” question? Aw. How sweet. Now respond back and ask them if they have any siblings. See how easy that was?
Tip: Let your personality shine and try to be original. Make your answers unique and humorous if you can. (Who doesn’t appreciate a sense of humor?) You’ll stand out in a sea of boring profiles.
Cost: Hinge comes in at a whopping $7/month. Definitely friendly for a college budget.
Fresh approach to dating • Low • low pressure
Not a lot to hate • here!
Hater breaks the tension by letting you match on the stuff you mutually hate (or like), plus it’s totally free.
Why it’s good for college students: Hater is a fresh option that starts college kids off on a funny note. Dating in college can be difficult — there’s a whole new pool of hopefuls looking for love, which unfortunately can mean a lot more competition in the dating world. Seeming “perfect” might feel like a necessity on other apps that focus on your best qualities. But Hater takes some of that pressure away and lets students be themselves and bond over the fun, relatable stuff — like your shared disdain for loud chewers.
Cost: Since college students *hate* paying for apps, is free. (See what we did there?)
Online dating 101
It probably seems obvious, but the first rule of online dating is to just be yourself. It’s all too easy to pretend to be someone you’re not online, but that kind of catfishing game won’t garner you a true connection. By being yourself and presenting yourself accurately and honestly, you open yourself up to the possibility of a great relationship with someone who likes you just the way you are. And isn’t that the whole point of dating?
Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Forget all those outdated rules that say a man is supposed to make the first move or that a woman can’t pay on a first date. Instead, focus on finding an equal partner who helps support your goals, wants to see you succeed, and has dreams of their own.
Get a bit more creative with your messaging than the standard “Hey.” If you’re looking to connect with someone on campus, then open up the conversation with a question about them and a little bit about yourself. Messaging someone is more discussion group than lecture hall — it’s about passing the conversation back and forth.
Once you decide to meet up — which is the entire point, after all — stay open. We often come up with an idea for how someone will be after meeting them online, and it’s rare that our expectations sync up with reality. Allow yourself to really get to know this person for who they are rather than who you thought they would be before you make up your mind.
That said, it’s crucial that you’re honest. If you really don’t feel a connection, then do the right thing and tell them. A good line to use is something like, “I’ve really enjoyed meeting you but I think there are probably better people out there for both of us.” Not only will they appreciate your direct approach, but it will alleviate that post-date awkwardness of wondering where you stand. Ghosting sucks for everyone. Just be up front and save each of you a lot of discomfort.
On the other hand, what if you really do like them after finally meeting in person? Then what? Set up your next date while you’re still hanging out. That old rule about waiting three days to call? It’s dead. RIP outdated dating rules. Make plans to do something low key, and for the first few dates make sure the plans are to meet in a public place. (A retro arcade or the student union could be a good, low stakes meeting place. Bowling is always a good choice, too.) The benefits of making a date to do an activity cannot be overstated. It provides you with ample conversation starters and gives you an opportunity to get a little competitive and joke around. Some playful teasing goes a long way. And remember: It’s all about having fun.