A new way to connect with like-minded students | #tinder | #pof

What is Magic Connects and how does it work?

Magic Connects is a platform that helps us bring a part of normalcy back to our life. Remember running into your friends on Locust Walk, getting food at Wawa after that midnight deadline, or making new friends in recitations? Magic brings all of that back; it finds people from various intersections of your communities and matches them with you. The best part is Magic is very simple: you create a profile and you can start matching with other like-minded students right away.

With so many platforms out there, for various types of connections, such as LinkedIn for professionals, social media platforms for casual posting, and the many dating apps, what makes Magic Connects different from all the rest?

This platform was specifically designed to avoid the holy trinity of LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Tinder. Through Magic Connects, students get a limited set of matches each day; they get to learn more about these people’s educational backgrounds, interests, internships, future plans, favorite TV shows, and many other things. Only one picture is displayed at the end of each profile. Magic is fundamentally about meeting driven students and making meaningful connections rather than split-second swiping. After a match, we periodically nudge people to stay in touch by suggesting news articles of common interests among other things. Again, we want students to build long-lasting relationships with people they like.

How can professors, clubs, and fraternities/sororities take advantage of Magic Connects?

They play an integral role in connecting students. A class or club brings people together who care about a certain topic or have a lot in common. They can use this platform to help students meet each other in their class or organization. They can ask their students to add identifiers to their profile, like ‘Class of 2021,’ ‘Wharton Healthcare Club,’ ‘CIS 121,’ ‘Alpha Delta Pi,’ etc. Now, the platform will try to match people with similar identifiers, while ensuring they are a good match for each other with a lot of similar values. Our goal is to partner up with 80,000 student organizations and 4,000 professors from 415 universities across the U.S. by [the end of] this semester. We hope to see Penn leading the way in connecting students.

Why did you decide to create Magic Connects?

There was always an unmet need for making meaningful connections. Most apps out there just don’t solve this issue. Tinder is known for making friends for a day, LinkedIn is often used just to get a referral, and Snapchat is often just pictures of your friends’ food. Can you meet your new best friend on LinkedIn? Sure, I just don’t know anyone who has. We wanted to create a place where students can meet other students doing amazing work, things both are passionate about. COVID made this need much clearer and Magic is here to solve that.

How does the team handle security and privacy issues?

Data students provide is strictly used to match them with other students and nothing else. Students are always in control of what they would like to show on their profile. On the security side, only current students can sign up for this platform; they are verified using their school email. Students can also report inappropriate users to us, so Magic keeps harboring a respectful community.

How can Magic Connects support student goals?

Hundreds of students were invited to provide feedback and feature recommendations for this platform. Magic really is a platform of the students, by the students, for the students. Let’s take me, for example. I am pursuing an economics major, interested in working at big tech companies, love Adam Grant, and am passionate about health care. For the first time, I can find someone at Penn who shares all or most of these interests. In fact, not just at Penn, students can match with other students from 415 U.S. universities that we are planning to partner with. I think that’s just fascinating. The goal here is not to look for one’s exact replica, but to find other passionate people who care about similar things. We are sure students will find this platform very useful to build professional connections, make new friends, and/or find their next date.

How can students sign up?

We are planning to launch Magic Connects at the end of this month. However, students can pre-register by filling out their email at our website: https://magicconnects.com. They can reach out to me at vshroff@sas.upenn.edu if they have any questions or suggestions.

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