Holitza: Smoothest dating apps for college students | #tinder | #pof

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

There are many different options when it comes to choosing the dating app that’s right for each individual. There is likely a matchmaking app out there for everyone, no matter their abstract interests.

The reasons for saying, “screw it,” and creating a profile on one of these apps can be anything from simply wanting some new people to hang with, looking for hookups or even seeking serious relationships. With COVID-19, more people have turned to online dating apps in 2020, likely resulting in a brand-new user base for these platforms and a slight shift in the stigma surrounding them. 

Both Tinder and Bumble have emerged as some of the most safe and secure apps, and are the best choices for college students. 

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There used to be, and still remains, a significant stigma surrounding dating apps. It can easily be mislabeled as a disconnected hookup service; however, according to the Pew Research Center, “30% of U.S. adults say they have used a dating site or app.”

The internet company Match Group houses dating services such as Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid and Hinge. In a letter to its shareholders in August, Match Group said, “Usage levels for younger users and females remain above pre-COVID levels, although not as dramatic as at the height of the pandemic-related lockdowns in March and April.” In general, but especially during the pandemic, usage is not that uncommon.

Many who were raised on social media see Tinder differently than those who came before it. It is very normal for us in the younger generation to meet people online, almost making Tinder another form of social media. The experience is very dependent on the user themself, so labeling one better than another is difficult, but there are a few outliers. 

“I would recommend Bumble for its convenience, usability and large user base.”

When it comes to usability and an endless stream of users to swipe through, Tinder definitely takes the cake, with Bumble coming in at a close second as of September 2019. Plenty of Fish (main), Match.com, OkCupid and Grindr also possess a significant user base, but not like the top two. 

Grindr is a service that was originally targeted for use by gay men but also offers services for all LGBTQ+ users, with most of the other apps and websites mentioned offering many different combinations of gender and sexuality preferences.

With the advantage of gaining a new generation of users each year, it is a new market that is emerging. Just a few weeks after lockdowns began, on March 29, Tinder had a record 3 billion swipes worldwide in one day, showing the number of people craving social interaction.

Other services include Facebook Dating and eharmony. Online dating services hold tens of millions of users.

Ashley Madison is important to mention as a service because it is viewed as deceitful and wrong to have a website specifically dedicated to cheating on your significant other. This is not, however, reflected by the amount of use, which reportedly reached 65 million users back in 2019.

My findings in trying to create profiles on many of these different sites was that they are all very similar when it comes to setting up a profile and the different questions it may ask you. The exception in profile detail is Bumble, which has the option to skip some small talk by featuring someone’s likes and dislikes in their profile. With so many different apps, there is little to mark disparity between them. 

Many major dating websites and apps offer some form of a paid “premium” version. They often have standard limitations, such as only allowing a certain amount of right swipes, or likes, per day. They also often do not allow you to see who swipes right on you unless you pay for their premium service or match with the person. 

So let’s compare the top two apps that provide many free features:

Bumble is common for many female users, with its defining feature being that when two users of the opposite sex match, it forces the woman to make the first move, which is sometimes considered atypical. After a girl sends a message, her match has 24 hours to respond to her before losing the match. This can make female users feel safer to use the app knowing that they can start off the conversation when and how they want to. 

To encourage continued social distancing, Bumble has added an option that allows users to feature on their profile a banner that identifies them as only wanting to converse virtually. Bumble also offers three categories: friends, business and dating, although its validity for business use is questionable. 

Bumble is better than Tinder at some things, though. It allows you to identify simple questions that may make some people uncomfortable to ask. These can include things like whether or not someone is open to children, whether they smoke or drink or even whether or not they are looking for a relationship.

I would recommend Bumble for its convenience, usability and large user base.

Tinder offers a feature called Tinder U that puts it up above the rest in terms of appeal to college students. This feature allows users to meet others who go to the same university and allows students living on or near campus to choose to see people on their campus. 

Tinder is one of the best ways to meet people on campus now. Bumble offers the option of displaying your university on your profile, but it does not provide priority for your school as Tinder does. 

Tinder also offers video chat option and many security features, including a partnership with an app called “Noonlight” with which, if you feel unsafe in a situation, you can hold your finger down on the app, and if you release it without typing in your pin after, authorities are automatically sent to your location. 

With so many apps making the process cluttering and confusing, it is easier to stick to the core few dating apps available. 

Mason Holitza can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @MHolitza.

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