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:
: Best for the student who does their homework
The gist: 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 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.
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.
: Best for the student who just wants to hook up
The gist: Spoiler alert: 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 . Tinder matches you with singles based on your location and pulls 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 a write a short bio. You can also attach your Instagram account if you want. Then, it’s time to swipe. If you and another member both swipe right (for yes) on each other, you become matched and are free to message each other.
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.
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.
: Best for the student only interested in other students
The gist: is like the dating app version of the original, college-only Facebook. Like 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 that it makes 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 a Tinder, in that it’s swipe based. Only on , if you swipe right on someone you like, you then have the option to choose whether you want to be friends, date, or hookup 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 let’s a student know when “someone”— for example, “a music student in the class of 2018″— is interested in them.
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.
: Best for the student who hates dating apps
The gist: 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. 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. 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 let’s 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 the 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 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.
: Best for the seriously committed student
The gist: Who hasn’t heard of ? 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, And if you don’t, then you get to keep looking for another six months for free.
Another great thing about is their “Missed Opportunity” 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.
: Best for the romantic student
The gist: At first, 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 . 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 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.
Best for the student on a budget who’s looking to play the field
The gist: is kind of like a mix between 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, similar 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.
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.
: Best for the student looking for common (dis)interests
The gist: You could probably put this together for yourself based on the name, but is an app where people can match based on things that they mutually hate. Upon signing up, the app provides you with over 2,000 options (including people, places and things) of which you can chose hate, love, like or dislike. In between filling up your own profile with hates and likes, you can browse other user profiles (in a swipe right/left fashion). Hater also allows you to message other singles using fun icebreaker fill-in-the-blank prompts, so you can start the conversation off on a humorous and interesting note, rather than a boring “hi.”
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.