12 Best Dating Apps For College Students

Online Dating | | , Content Writer
Updated On: May 17, 2024
dating apps for college students

College is supposed to be the most happening time of your life. It’s the first time you’re truly away from your family and have more control over your life. You have the opportunity to get out there and explore the world! That’s why this list of the best online dating apps for college students is a must-read for anyone who has flown the nest and is ready to spread their wings.

You walk into campus hoping to bump into the love of your life, but your high expectations may get crushed within the first six months. Dating and college life just aren’t easy to balance. But what if we told you that you could indeed find true love without having to go to every single frat party on campus? With some of the best free college dating apps, you can find your perfect match in a matter of days.

12 Best Dating Apps For College Students

Dating in college can be tough. Juggling studies and a relationship is just as complicated as it sounds. Most college students don’t have time for anything other than a casual relationship, and who can blame them? How many people even marry their college sweethearts? According to a survey conducted by Facebook, 28% of them do.

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This demographic of college students can be divided into three categories based on the type of relationship they want: First, there is the commitment-centric, long-term relationship type. Then, there are the students who don’t have time to sustain a relationship but would like to keep things casual and see where it goes after a period of, let’s say six months. Finally, there are those who want to meet singles exclusively for one-night stands and no-strings-attached connections.

You’d most likely be interested in dating people who fall under the same category as you. This is where online dating can work wonders. But there is still another question that follows. What do social apps for college students have to offer? This age group is very niche and extremely diverse. You would think that online dating apps for kids shouldn’t be that different from the ones for adults. However, on the contrary, even the best casual dating apps can take young people for granted. And that’s one thing Gen-Z hates the most. To help you out in your quest for love, here is a list of the 12 best dating apps ranked for graduate students:

Related Reading: 9 Best Background Check Sites For Dating Success

1. OkCupid — Choose this app if you want a prejudice-free dating life

infographic on OKCupid

This online dating app was launched on January 19, 2004. Since then, it has had many upgrades, which has increased its user base exponentially. It has over 50 million registered users and an average of 50,000 “Wanna get drinks?” dates per week since its launch. This is one of the best dating apps for students looking for like-minded people to hang out with.

Features

  • Liberal-minded crowd: OkCupid is popular as one of the best dating apps for college students. The reason is its primarily liberal-minded crowd, which it attracts by asking controversial and political questions. These queries make it the most ideal college dating site for the politically inclined
  • Interesting questions: Unlike other online dating apps which require you to give just a short introduction of yourself when creating a dating profile, OkCupid asks questions like: “Would you rather share a kiss in a tent or a kiss in Paris?” “Would you rather go to a music festival or sporting event?” Or “Do you like to make your bed every morning?” These may seem goofy but they establish your preference patterns
  • A great algorithm: These questions help the app’s algorithm find the most compatible matches for you and they also make your profile fun and insightful. This is why OkCupid is one of the best college dating apps
  • Safety: When it comes to conversations and matching, the app does not allow random people to text you. Only those with whom you have been matched are allowed to communicate with you. This eliminates all the unwanted attention that gives online dating a bad name
  • No prejudicial barriers: Here’s what makes OKCupid one of the best free college dating apps: It has no prejudicial barriers like gender, religion, race, etc. As of today, the app offers 13 gender identities, 22 sexual orientations, and a dedicated space on your profile for your pronouns, so no one is forced to conform to a stereotype they’re not comfortable with

Clearly, all these factors make it one of the coolest dating apps for nerds too. You can register with your email ID, Facebook account, or Instagram profile.

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: For basic use, registration is free. You can become a paid member to use extra features

2. Tinder — Perfect for casual dating

infographic on tinder

If you’re looking for the best free college dating app, you must have heard of this one. Even now, after all these years, Tinder is the ultimate dating site if you’re looking for casual relationships. Besides, it also has a great feature just for students!

Related Reading: How To Date On Tinder?

Features

  • Ease of use: The basic idea is that you create a profile using your Facebook account. You answer a few questions, add a few photographs, and Tinder gets the rest of your information from your FB account. All that’s left is for you to start swiping
  • Finding the right match: If you swipe right, that means you like the profile and if you swipe left, then you’ve rejected the profile. If someone you’ve right-swiped right-swipes you back, then you’re in business. You’re free to text them!
  • A special feature for students: Tinder has launched the new Tinder U, which is specifically designed for students. This version of the app helps you meet students online based on your interests, college, and proximity. This means that it matches you with people who are either in your university or nearby

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. Paid subscriptions allow you to access extra features on Tinder Gold and Tinder Platinum

3. Bumble — For those who value safety over everything else

infographic on Bumble

Bumble is the most women-friendly platform and one of the best dating apps to meet students online. Online dating scammers often play catfishing games through apps to meet college students. Allowing women to make the first move ensures a level of protection from creeps, perverts, and online dating scams out there. This app uses a basic carousel/swipe system. When two people swipe right on each other’s profiles, they get matched.

When it comes to vetting good dating apps for college students, safety is a prime concern. So what is the most trusted dating site to address that concern? Probably Bumble.

Related Reading: 50 Bumble Conversation Starters To Grab Your Match’s Attention

Features

  • The 24-hour feature: The point where Bumble is different from other dating apps is that each match on it only lasts for 24 hours. This gives women that amount of time to initiate the conversation, and then the match, too, gets 24 hours to reply. Since this also means that your match pool is constantly updated, you’re unlikely to see the person you matched with one month ago
  • Bumble student features: Bumble offers special features that a person can avail of when they confirm their student status. You get five free SuperSwipes, and lots of personalized stickers, and have you heard of the Bumble dating student discount?
  • You can easily make friends too: Another cool feature of Bumble is that it gives the option of ‘Date or Friend.’ This means that before you start looking at profiles, you get to decide if you just want a friend or are looking for a relationship. This is what makes it one of the better dating sites for students because sometimes they are just looking for a familiar face in the crowd

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to avail the extra features of Bumble Boost and Bumble Premium

4. Looking for intrigue in college dating sites? Try S’More

infographic on S'More

The best dating apps for college students focus on all the areas a youngster wants: Intimacy, novelty, and exploring their sexuality. Known for being one of the better hookup sites, a lot of people on your campus may be already using this one. This university dating app was created by Something More Inc. and was launched on January 1, 2020. American fashion publisher V magazine reported that the S’More app encouraged the development of deep relationships amidst the pandemic but has now also become famous for hooking up. It is one of the latest dating apps and is perfectly suited for students attending college.

Related Reading: 35 Cute Questions To Ask Your Crush While Texting

Features

  • Regulates matches: S’More is listed among the best dating apps for young adults because it regulates the number of matches you get every day. You will receive 8–12 matches per day based on your preferences and activity on the application
  • Aims for “anti-superficiality”: The real kicker is how you get to choose your matches, which truly makes this a fun dating app. All you get are a person’s write-ups on themselves and their voice notes answering questions like: “What do you like?”, “What do you do?”, and “What’s your ideal vacation?” You can even listen to some of their favorite songs but you won’t get to see their pictures. At least, initially. The more you interact with your matches, the more their pictures will become visible
  • Ensures meaningful exploration: It’s a rare college dating site and the perfect setup to achieve a meaningful long-term relationship, something that goes beyond looks. Or even just someone to share a fun night with. Might even take one month to reveal the photo of your match, but it’s worth it

Available on: The App Store

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to use extra features

5. HER — For those who want to explore sexuality and gender fluidity

infographic on HER

This online dating app is for the LGBTQ community but only caters to queer and trans women. You can sign up using your Facebook or Instagram account. This is one of the best dating apps for college students who are looking to find their community and others with similar interests.

Features

  • A great layout: The profile layout is pretty simple. As expected in queer dating apps, you choose a label that works for you such as lesbian, fluid, pansexual, bisexual, etc. Then you upload your photographs and write a short bio 
  • A place to discover your sexuality: The best quality of this app is that it is designed only for women, so you know you’ll find the expected crowd here. Additionally, if you’re someone who’s trying to understand your sexuality, then this is a pretty good place to start

You’ll be able to meet students online who deal with the same issues as you and are looking for something meaningful. Finally, as the proverbial cherry on top, HER connects you to all the LGBTQIA+ events that are taking place in the area.

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to access extra features

6. Hinge — For those who are looking for a balance between casual and serious

infographic on Hinge

Steering away from the traditional photo-specific, swipes-and-likes system, Hinge chooses to focus on flaunting a person’s personality. That’s what makes it one of the most popular college dating apps. In your profile, you will be asked to enter basic data (location, hometown, height, etc.) and indicate whether you smoke, drink, and want children. Then, just like OkCupid, this app asks you to answer a few goofy questions. You can choose three that will appear in your public profile.

Related Reading: 20 Valuable Tips For A First Date After Meeting Online

Features

  • Refining your search: Hinge allows for multiple filters to refine your search. Unlike other college dating apps, there is a deal-breaker option to further narrow down the search. For example, if you don’t wish to date someone who doesn’t read books, then you can set it as a ‘deal-breaker.’ This way, Hinge won’t bother to show you people who aren’t bibliophiles
  • A fun way to start a conversation: Once you come across a profile you like, instead of ‘liking’ the entire profile, you have to choose one thing (whether it’s a photo or an answer to a question) to try and match with them
  • The app took COVID seriously: The most mind-blowing aspect that made us put Hinge on our list of best dating apps for students is the adjustments it had made to accommodate the pandemic situation, adding the option of ‘date from home’. It also collaborated with popular restaurants like Chipotle and delivery services like Uber Eats to encourage users to have a good time while being mindful of the COVID-19 protocols

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to access extra features

7. Coffee Meets Bagel — Quality over quantity on this dating app

infographic on Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel was founded in San Francisco in 2011 by three sisters, Arum Kang, Dawoon Kang, and Soo Kan. It is different from your average swipe-right-swipe-left dating app. It might be the best dating app for young adults because it focuses more on quality than quantity. We’ll tell you how.

Features

  • Midday anticipation: Every day at noon, the app selects some male profiles for female users. This is based on their preferences, resulting in high-match potential
  • Women-focused: The ball is now in the woman’s court. She is free to reciprocate the interest and like the profile of her match
  • A week-long window: After being matched, the app provides a seven-day window to start a conversation along with a fun ice-breaker
  • Connect without matching: The reason this app is on the ‘best dating apps for college students’ list is that it has the unique feature of commenting on profiles and photos of other Coffee Meets Bagel users, even those you haven’t been paired with

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to access extra features

8. Friendsy — A student-only dating site

infographic on Friendsy

If you are looking for the best dating apps for young adults, then you ought to try Friendsy for sure. As the name suggests, you have a choice between online dating and finding new friends. Guess what makes it one of the best dating apps for college students who prioritize online safety? Its verification feature. Have a look.

Related Reading: To Swipe Left Or Right? Smart Insights for Better Matches 

Features

  • Reliable verification: The great thing about this app is that it requires a ‘.edu’ email ID to create an account. So even if someone wanted to, they can’t join the app unless they are a student. How awesome is that? Not only does this increase your chances of meeting someone your age, it also ensures that impostors claiming to study at an Ivy League college keep away
  • Filters based on one’s major: Additionally, this app allows you to set filters based on your choice of major. So, you can choose to exclusively date or befriend people who are pursuing Psychology or Finance
  • You get to pick the dynamic: Friendsy gives you access to all types of casual relationships. The reason this is among the best dating apps for graduate students is that once you’ve right-swiped someone, you get to choose whether you want to be friends, date, or hook up with them. Your match is only complete if they choose the same as you. That’s when you can start talking to each other.

This is one of the best free university dating apps to meet students online. It cuts through the nonsense and connects you only to people that you will get along with.

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Completely free

9. Zoosk — Find love using behavioral matchmaking technologies

infographic on zoosk

Zoosk is an easy-to-use online dating app for graduate students with a very user-friendly interface. Like many other apps, you create your account using your Facebook, and Zoosk takes information about your interests from it. The next step is to create your profile and write a few lines about yourself. Then we get to the matching part.

Features

  • Three ways to find dates: a) The classic carousel with right and left swipes. Add filters to narrow down your choices, b) View the list of people who have liked your profile and choose someone, c) Use the ‘see who’s online’ feature to instantly meet someone
  • Zoosk’s recommendation feature: This is what places it among the better dating apps for university students. Apart from the filters you put in, Zoosk also helps you find people who fit your romantic type. This feature obviously gets more and more accurate as your activity on the app increases

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to avail some extra features

Stories about online dating

10. Match — The dating app with the highest success rate for a serious relationship

infographic on Match

What dating apps do students use when they’re looking for everlasting love? There is no way you have not heard of this one. Match is one of the best dating apps for those who are looking for a serious relationship. So if you’re looking for hookup apps, skip this one. 

Features

  • You can send winks: Like all the best dating apps for college students, free users can create an online profile, upload a few photos, then flirt and ‘wink’ to score new online matches every day
  • More features than regular apps: A wider range of features can be unlocked with your Match.com subscription. Through that, you can see who checks your profile and likes your photos, the kind of body type you prefer, etc.
  • The company guarantee: Match guarantees finding someone for you, and the best part is that if things don’t work out, then you get to keep looking for another six months for free
  • Even better is their ‘missed connection’ feature: This new feature uses your location to match you with people you’ve already crossed paths with in real life, making it perfect for students. You’ll be able to meet college students online who might be from your university

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to use the extra features

11. Happn — When you want to meet people in your location

infographic on Happn

The only reason this app is not in the top 10 dating sites is because it uses user location as its primary filter. However, that is also its saving grace. Happn is one of the best college dating apps for those who want to connect with people only in their area. It puts you in touch with fellow students with whom you’ve crossed paths before. However, the user area has to be dense enough for one to get successful matches.

Related Reading: The Best Online Dating Advice For Men & Women

Features

  • Meeting people in the vicinity: The app requires you to keep your location on so that it can cross-reference it with the location of other Happn users. It doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, something casual or a serious relationship, being matched with people who are around you is always a plus point
  • Easy to approach your matches: You can like the profiles that you’re interested in and the app will put you in touch with them. The paid version provides you with the feature of saying “Hi” to other profiles. This basically sends them a notification that you’re interested in them

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to access the extra features

12. Grindr — The ideal app for queer men and trans people

infographic on grindr

A dating app for college students has to be inclusive. This is why, Grindr is the best dating app for students who are queer, or men who are looking to understand their sexuality and gender identity. Creating a profile on Grindr is easy enough. You upload profile pictures, choose usernames, answer a few simple questions, and finally select a ‘tribe’ to describe your preferences.

Related Reading: The Ultimate Funny Online Dating Questions

Features

  • It is free: Grindr is free to use but it has ads. You could also opt for Grindr Plus. This comes at a cost of less than $10 for one month, which is one of the lowest among dating app subscriptions
  • Premium version: The premium version, Grindr Xtra, has ad-free browsing along with other features such as adding multiple ‘tribes’ and advanced search filters. This version, provided only to premium members, comes with an extra cost
  • STD information: Grindr has a unique feature that lets you show your STD information, making it one of the safest hookup apps for graduate students. This feature is unique to Grinder, but should honestly be a part of all dating sites

Remember this, though: On this list of the best dating apps for graduate students, Grinder is known to be more focused on a no-strings-attached type of relationship. So, if you’re looking for a romantic first date instead of a hookup, Grindr may not be a good choice. But it is the best place to experiment and explore.

Available on: Google Play Store and The App Store 

Paid/Free: Free registration for basic use. You can become a paid member to access some extra features.

Well, that’s the end of our list of the best dating apps for college students. These platforms have indeed come a long way. Though it’s not rare to hear of Ivy League dating apps that are very exclusive, you won’t go wrong with our compilation. Most of the sites listed above offer great features for a paid subscription. If you do want to get a premium membership, opt for a package of six months since you may get a discount of 50%.

However, online dating can be rough and unsafe, and many people give up in one month, so be cautious whether it’s on Bumble, Tinder, or Hinge. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. Have a look at all the dating apps ranked above to see what you prefer. Get a date, choose a comfortable city guide dating site, and then go out there and enjoy your college life! On dating apps and beyond.

FAQs

1. Is Tinder good for college students?

It is certainly one of the best dating apps for college students. Even though Tinder doesn’t specifically target that demographic, it is one of the best apps to meet college students online. Tinder has a wide user base of youngsters, making it a great place to meet like-minded individuals or, if you’re into it, older singles.

2. How do I find people to date in college?

Of course, there are the usual ways to meet singles. Finding someone who likes the same things as you do in your class, meeting someone at a football game or in the library. But if none of that has worked for you, download some cool dating apps for college students. This strategy is extremely effective. Not only do these social apps for college students target a specific demographic, they also promise privacy and safety.

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