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Student Village Academy Forums HEALTH AND RELATIONSHIPS On the lookout for love on campus? The following are the top dating apps for college students.

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      Looking for love on campus? Here are the best dating apps for college students.

      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 ideal 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, everyone’s doing it.

      At this point there are dating apps for every niche you can think of; whether you’re into gaminggeek culturegetting high, or focusing on your career, there are people seeking the same things you are. As a college student, you have specific needs and probably don’t want to wade through all the older people trying to get married ASAP. You need dating apps that are specifically suited for other college-aged people looking for love on campus.

      Online dating 101

      Although it may appear obvious, the first guideline of online dating is to simply be yourself. It’s all too easy to appear to be someone you’re not online, but doing so won’t result in a genuine connection. By being yourself and correctly and honestly portraying who you are, you open yourself up to the prospect of a terrific connection with someone who likes you just the way you are. Isn’t that what dating is all about?

      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 Forget all those outdated rules that say a man is supposed to make the first move or that a woman can’t pay on the first date.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.

      Make your message more creative than the typical “Hey.” If you want to meet someone on campus, start the conversation with a question about them and a little bit about yourself. Messaging someone is more like a discussion group than a lecture hall – the conversation is passed back and forth.

      Stay open once you’ve decided to meet up — which is the whole point, after all. After meeting someone online, we typically form an opinion about how they will be, and it is unusual that our expectations match reality. Allow yourself to get to know this person for who they are rather than who you think they or should or would be before making a decision.

      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 candor, but it will alleviate that post-date awkwardness of wondering where you stand. Ghosting sucks for everyone. Just be upfront and save both of you a lot of discomfort and uncertainty.

      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 the opportunity to get a little competitive and joke around. Some playful teasing goes a long way. And remember: It’s all about having fun.

      So what are the best dating apps for college students?

      Our best picks for college students are the following: We like OkCupid(opens in a new tab) for its inclusivity, ease of use, and fun algorithms. Tinder(opens in a new tab) also gets our stamp of approval, as the swipe-happy, low-touch app makes finding people nearby a breeze. Friendsy(opens in a new tab) deserves a shoutout as well for how it keeps the dating pool limited to other college students.

      Two people kissing.
      Credit: Freestocks.Org / Pexels
      • Standard subscription with everything you need: Free
      • One month of OkCupid Basic: $11.99
      • Three months of OkCupid Basic: $23.97
      • Six months of OkCupid Basic: $35.94
      • One month of OkCupid Premium: $23.99
      • Three months of OkCupid Premium: $47.97
      • Six months of OkCupid Premium: $71.94

      Read our full review of OkCupid.

      The gist: OkCupid(opens in a new tab) uses a whole bunch of algorithms to find your perfect match. Once you sign up via email or Facebook, it’ll ask you for basic info, plus a few prompt questions to help show off your personality a little (because trying to straight-up write about yourself is freaking hard). You can also list your interests and connect your Instagram to give a glimpse into your social life (or prove you actually have one). One of the most unique (and quite frankly, entertaining) parts of OkCupid(opens in a new tab) is the seemingly never-ending list of optional questions you can answer to reveal your personality and what you’re looking for in a partner. These aren’t your typical questions, which actually makes them quite telling. They cover everything from “How often do you give Facebook updates?” to “Should healthcare be funded by the government?” to “Would you sleep with a serial killer?”

      I mean, I guess that’s probably a good thing to know on a dating app.

      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. OkCupid(opens in a new tab) 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 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.

      Cost: A basic subscription is free (great for the college student on a budget), but a paid basic subscription is $12.49/month for six months, $16.66/month for three months, or $24.99/month for one month. There’s also the Premium subscriptions: $19.99/month for six months, $26.99/month for three months, or $39.99 for one month (note that all paid subscriptions are processed as one-time payments). Key features of upgrading? See who likes you, see when someone has read your message, and more.

      For Those Looking For Sex
      Credit: AdultFriendFinder
      Best For Queer Women And Non-binary People
      Couple smiling at eachother on a street.
      Credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
      • Basic membership: Free
      • One Boost: $5.99
      • Five Boosts: $14.99
      • 10 Boosts: $24.99
      • One month of HER Gold: $14.99
      • Six months of HER Gold: $71.99
      • 12 months of HER Gold: $89.99
      • One month of HER Platinum: $24.99
      • Six months of HER Platinum: $119.99
      • 12 months of HER Platinum: $149.99

      The gist: HER(opens in a new tab) is designed for lesbian, bisexual, and queer women and non-binary people and is super inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly. You sign up using either a Facebook or Instagram profile and will have to allow location access in order to see users near you. Once you sign up, you’re encouraged to upload photos of yourself (the optimum number of photos is apparently eight) and select a label such as lesbian, fluid, bisexual, or whatever fits you.

      Profiles on HER are pretty sparse — mostly just photos with the option to include small amounts of text. That means you want to try to include interesting pics of yourself that will stir conversation because talking to matches is the only way you’re going to really get to know more about someone’s personality.

      Why it’s good for college students: On apps like Tinder, you might run into college-aged women wanting to “experiment” with other women or couples looking for a third, but HER is specifically for those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer. The app won’t make you feel hypersexualized for being into women, which is honestly the bare minimum you could ask for in a lesbian dating site and yet is surprisingly hard to come by.

      HER’s feed is similar to social media, with the option to like other users’s photos. It also operates like a standard dating app where you either like or pass on potential matches, then begin a conversation when you both like each other.

      In addition to finding you potential romantic partners, HER also allows you to get involved in local LGBTQ events, read LGBTQ news, and make new friends.

      Cost: A standard membership is free, but you can upgrade to HER Gold with memberships starting at $14.99 for one month, $59.99 for six months, and $89.99 for a year. A Gold membership lets you see who’s online in real-time, filter by sexuality, and more.

      Best For The Student Who Just Wants To Hook Up
      Person on their phone with coffee.
      Credit: Pixabay / Pexels
      • Basic subscription: Free
      • One month of Tinder Plus: $7.99
      • Six months of Tinder Plus: $23.99
      • 12 months of Tinder Plus: $31.99
      • One month of Tinder Platinum: $29.99
      • Six months of Tinder Platinum: $89.99
      • 12 months of Tinder Platinum: $119.99

      The gist: Spoiler alert: Tinder(opens in a new tab) is our pick for those looking for a more casual experience. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Tinder is the original “swipe right, swipe left” app that pretty much changed the game when it comes to online dating. Tinder matches you with people based on your location, pulling your interests from your Facebook profile so that getting started is pretty much as easy as it gets. All you have to do is select a few pictures and write a short bio. You can also attach your Instagram account if you want. Then, it’s time to swipe. If you and another user both swipe right (for yes) on each other, you become matched and are free to message each other.

      Ready for the real kicker? Tinder also just launched Tinder U,(opens in a new tab) 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 offered for 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 study(opens in a new tab) revealed 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 50 million users and 1.4 billion swipes per day — just don’t hold your breath when it comes to actually meeting up.

      Tinder U(opens in a new tab) 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 Tinder Plus or Tinder Gold for features like “Swipe around the world,” “Super-likes” and “Rewind last swipe,” for when you accidentally swipe left on a hottie. The highest level, Tinder Platinum, goes a step further and lets you chat with people you haven’t matched with yet.

      Best For Students Who Only Want To Date Other Students
      A person giving flowers to another person.
      Credit: Vjapratama / Pexels
      • Price: Free

      The gist: Friendsy(opens in a new tab) is like the dating app version of the original, college-only Facebook. Like the first iteration of the social media giant, which started off as a student-only, exclusive social network, you need a .edu email address to sign up for Friendsy. The idea behind the app is to make it easier for college kids to meet each other on campus. The app gives you super specific filtering options, so you have the option of only seeing “freshmen marketing majors” at your college, for example. The way the app works is similar to Tinder, in that it’s swipe-based, only on Friendsy(opens in a new tab), if you swipe right on someone you like, you then have the option to choose whether you want to be friends, date, or hook up with them. If they choose the same for you, it’s a match. Users can also send “hints” to each other, which is basically a notification that lets a student know when “someone”— for example, “a music student in the class of 2022″— is interested in them.

      Why it’s good for college students: This one seems pretty self-explanatory, but here it is again: Friendsy(opens in a new tab) 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 find practically anyone if you narrow your filters 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 hook up, 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.

      Best For The Student Who Hates Dating Apps
      Two people hugging in a car.
      Credit: Kampus Production / Pexels
      • One month: $29.95
      • Three months: $59.95
      • Six months: $65.99
      • 12 months: $99.99

      Read our full review of Zoosk.

      The gist: Zoosk(opens in a new tab) is like the friend you didn’t know you had. Their registration process is much like other apps in that you log in via email or Facebook. The bonus part about logging in through Facebook is the fact that it syncs your likes for you, so you don’t have to spend time adding your movies, music, interests, etc. Zoosk(opens in a new tab) then has you fill out basic info (body type, education, religion) and asks you to write your “story” in a bio-like section. You can also write what your idea of a perfect match would be, as well as your ideal date. From here, you have a few different options as far as finding a match goes. You can browse through a giant pool of users (sending hearts or smiley faces to the ones you like), you can go the “carousel” route (which lets you vote “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” to user profiles), see the users who have checked out your profile, or use the “see who’s online” tab to check out currently active users.

      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 it is at working its magic. Zoosk(opens in a new tab) 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 one payment of $59.95 (which breaks down to $19.98 per month), six months costs $74.95 ($12.49 per month), and 12 months comes out to $149.88 ($12.49 per month).

      Best For The Student Who Wants To Commit
      Couple hugging.
      Credit: Vlada Karpovich / Pexels
      • Three months of Standard: $74.97
      • Six months of Standard: $95.94
      • 12 months of Standard: $143.88
      • Three months of Premium: $80.97
      • Six months of Premium: $107.94
      • 12 months of Premium: $167.88

      Read our full review of match.

      The gist: Who hasn’t heard of match(opens in a new tab)? If you’re currently in college, the site has probably been around longer than you have. One thing that has kept match around for over 20 years: it apparently works. Once you make a profile and set your dating preferences, you’re free to view whoever you please. match doesn’t limit the profiles that are available to you, so the match world is pretty much your oyster. The dating app will give you match suggestions based on your set criteria, which you can change and alter any time.

      Why it’s good for college students: For one, Match guarantees you’ll find someone.(opens in a new tab) If you don’t, then you get to keep looking for another six months for free.

      Another great thing about match(opens in a new tab) 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: Prices start at one payment of $95.97 ($31.99/month) for three months of the standard subscription, or one payment of $104.97 for three months of Premium. There’s also a free version, but interaction with other users is extremely limited.

      Best For The Romantic Student
      Two women kiss at their wedding.
      Credit: Pexels
      • Free version: Yes, but limited
      • Premium Light (six month subscription): $119.40
      • Premium Plus (12 month subscription): $166.80
      • Premium Extra (24 month subscription): $213.60

      Read our full review of eharmony.

      The gist: At first, eharmony(opens in a new tab) may feel like a lot. Matches are based on a lengthy questionnaire that drills down the specifics of your dating preferences and personality. But if you’re looking for a love that’s going to last a lifetime, why would you phone it in? (This isn’t a term paper, after all; this is your life.) It may seriously pay off to invest the time that’s required into your profile, especially considering that at one time eharmony was responsible for creating the most marriages of any online dating site. The dating site is also available in Spanish, which is a great option for those who feel more comfortable communicating in their native language — or who are looking to get more comfortable in a language they’re still learning.

      Why it’s good for college students: Chances are, if you find a match on eharmony(opens in a new tab) then they’re just as serious as you. A considerable 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 there, so why waste your time on hookup apps when you can easily narrow your options to likeminded matches?

      Cost: Memberships require you to make at least a six-month commitment, with prices starting at $65.90. 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.

      Best For The Student On A Budget
      Couple smiling and looking at a laptop.
      Credit: Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels
      • Free version: Yes
      • One month of Preferrred: $39.99
      • Three months of Preferred: $79.99
      • Six months of Preferred: $119.99

      The gist: Hinge(opens in a new tab) is kind of like a mix between OkCupid(opens in a new tab) and Tinder. On your profile, you’re asked to fill in the basics (location, hometown, height) as well as indicate whether you smoke, drink, want kids or don’t. Then, similarly to OkCupid, the app asks you to fill out a few questions and pick three to appear on your public profile. The result? Instead of just judging by pictures, users get a more personal experience and a better idea of your personality based on what questions you choose to answer and how you choose to answer them.

      Hinge(opens in a new tab) 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 “dealbreaker,” 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: Hinge(opens in a new tab) 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: The basic Hinge subscription is free, and the Premium memberships start at a whopping $14.99/month. Definitely friendly for a college budget.

      Best For Meeting People (romantically Or Otherwise)
      Couple holding hands.
      Credit: Cottonbro / Pexels
      • Standard membership: Free
      • One week of Boost: $9.99
      • One month of Boost: $16.99
      • Three months of Boost: $33.99
      • Six months of Boost: $54.99
      • One week of Premium: $21.99
      • One month of Premium: $44.99
      • Three months of Premium: $89.99
      • Lifetime of Premium: $229.99

      The gist: Bumble(opens in a new tab) requires women to make the first move in the hopes of limiting the number of unsolicited messages received from creepy dudes. Obviously, if you’re not seeking a heterosexual relationship, this rule doesn’t apply to you. This system is in place to level the playing field and change the dynamics of dating to promote respect and equality from the beginning.

      Like most dating apps, Bumble uses swiping to show you potential candidates. If you both swipe right on each other, it’s a match. Here’s where Bumble differs from Tinder, though: matches expire after 24 hours, so women have a limited timeframe to come up with the perfect opening line.

      The app doesn’t just focus on dating, though. There are also friendship and networking sections, called Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz. Bumble BFF is what AdultFriendFinder sounds like it would be — a way to start and facilitate new friendships online. (Check out Mashable’s review of AdultFriendFinder to see what the hookup site is actually all about.)

      Why it’s good for college students: Universities can sometimes feel like unsafe environments for women, so having a space dedicated to respect and equality is definitely a plus. Additionally, Bumble’s setup pushes people to get out of their comfort zones by forcing them to make quick conversations — and isn’t college all about getting out of your comfort zone?

      The inclusion of Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz are great for college students because making new friends or professional connections on campus can be kind of scary — but less so when you know everyone else is also seeking those same types of relationships.

      Bumble is not marketed as a hookup app, so it’s good for college students who are looking for something a little more substantial than a Tinder fling.

      Cost: While Bumble’s standard membership is free and pretty comprehensive, you do have the option to upgrade to Bumble Boost to see everyone who has right-swiped you, extend your matches by 24 hours, and rematch with expired connections. A week of Boost costs $5.99, a month is $9.99, three months cost $19.99, and six months cost $33.99. There’s also Bumble Premium, which starts at $12.99 for a week. Prices may fluctuate and might not be consistent across different locations.

      Best For Gay Men
      Couple hugging.
      Credit: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels
      • Basic membership: Free
      • One month of Grindr XTRA: $19.99
      • Three months of Grindr XTRA: $39.99
      • 12 months of Grindr XTRA: $99.99

      The gist: Grindr(opens in a new tab) is known for being the go-to hookup app for gay men, but there’s also the chance to find real, sustainable relationships, too. On the app, you’re presented with a collage of men in your area ready to chat. Most users will let you know straightaway what their intentions are — like if they’re just looking for casual sex or something more — so you at least won’t have to play the “what’s happening here?” game for too long.

      Because Grindr shows a pool of geographically-close people rather than one person at a time, there are fewer boundaries than apps with swiping features. Anyone can message you without the two of you having to “like” each other first. This can lead to some unsolicited dick pics, so beware.

      Why it’s good for college students: College men who are looking for casual sex, but don’t want to try to hit on dudes at the bar absolutely swear by Grindr. Unfortunately, Grindr is known to be hypersexualized, so it’s not the best place to find lasting love, though we’re not saying it can’t happen.

      Grindr has the option to display STD information, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re getting yourself into a safe sexual situation. This will also probably encourage you to get tested yourself, which you should do regularly, especially if you’re frequently having casual sex (which is not abnormal in a college setting).

      Cost: While most features are free, you can upgrade to Grindr XTRA to remove ads, use premium filters, see more profiles, send multiple photos at once, and more. One month of Grindr XTRA is $9.99, three months cost $20.97, and a year is $47.88.

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