Dating in college can be difficult. Most students are broke, and after a while the popular date hotspots around Maryville can get boring. However, the popular dating app, Tinder, updated and added new features just for college students.
Welcome to Tinder U.
Tinder U now allows college students to add their university email, where the user receives an “acceptance letter” from Tinder U. For the most part, the feature limits matches to other college students.
In the lower left corner there is a symbol where the prospective match attends school. For Northwest students it’s a dark green banner with “NWMSU” in white, blocked text. For Maryville residents and University students, this isn’t much of a change if their age settings are set between 18 and 23.
However Tinder isn’t the only dating app to recently update. Bumble, a lesser-known competitor to Tinder, also added new features.
Bumble functions similarly to Tinder. A person scrolls through another’s profile and swipes left for no and right for yes. The biggest difference is that women are required to message first, unlike Tinder which allows either party to initiate conversation.
In its latest update, Bumble users can add certain tags to their profiles. Some of the tags indicate if someone smokes, if they are looking for a relationship or a hookup or if they want children.
Some of these tags may seem extremely personal for apps with reputations of hookups and suspects in the rise of sexually transmitted diseases, but for many this is where their Tinderella story begins
For wildlife ecology and conservation senior Samantha Gibson, Tinder is where she met her fiance, Zach Hilsabeck.
“I have a type: bigger country guys with beards, but what got me was the cheesy pickup line he used about his cows. I wish I could remember it,” Gibson said.
Gibson joined the five percent of married, American couples who met their significant other online.
The college dating scene has changed dramatically with the rise of online dating and dating apps which has brought around a less stigmatized view of such services. According to Pew Research, around 59 percent of people polled in 2015 thought dating sites were a good way to meet someone romantically.
Another report from Statista found 51 percent of college-aged students used dating apps in 2017 and 35 percent using Tinder as of January 2018, making it the most popular dating site among college aged students.
For Gibson, she started using Tinder her sophomore year, then entered a relationship. When she and her ex-boyfriend broke up, she downloaded the app again to find friends away from her ex’s circle of friends.
Despite the rising popularity of dating apps, Gibson and Hilsabeck still shock people with how they met.
“Both our moms still groan everytime we say we met on Tinder,” Gibson said. “But even people our own age are super shocked and proceed to tell us how bad of luck they’ve had on Tinder.”
Pre-medical sophomore Drew Donaldson has been using Tinder for four years and believes the culture around dating apps is age related.
“I think there’s always been a kind of joking attitude towards online dating because of all the tacky commercials you see on TV all the time and because it’s more recent,” Donaldson said. “I don’t think older generations are really on board as much. The thing I always hear from my family is to just go out and meet someone. With things like Tinder, where it’s just an app you can have on your phone, I think that’s appealed to high school and college students a lot more.”
While Tinder is known for wild stories, it might not just be the culture around dating apps for bad matches. Some say it might have more to deal with majors.
Studying have shown people are more likely to date people within their own major. However many people aren’t swiping right because of peoples majors and the bios attached to their profile. Rob Henderson, a writer for Psychology Today says it’s because of the element of unpredictable rewards.
He compares Tinder to casino slot machines.
“Players do not know when, while pulling a lever or pressing a button, they will hit a jackpot,” Henderson said. “They play knowing that eventually, but not exactly when, someone who pulls the lever will win.”
Tinder works in a similar way.
“Users do not know when, while swiping, they will match with an individual they deem attractive,” Henderson said. “And users do not know when, after engaging in a conversation, a match will respond. Moreover, an individual’s profile will still appear in the apps of other users who are swiping, even while the individual does not have the app open. This means that when users check their apps after a prolonged period of time, they often discover that they have gained new matches. This unpredictable quality keeps users curious and hooked.”
Even though these statistics and multitudes of crazy stories might leave a user thinking that maybe a dating profile isn’t for them, there are still stories that don’t end in heartbreak or marriage proposals.
“The most memorable story I have from Tinder is probably meeting a girl who went to another school near me,” Donaldson said. “We ended up hanging out and dated a little while. We’re still good friends today. It’s interesting to see something like that come from an app I didn’t really expect anything from.”