As of August 21, Tinder released an additional feature to the highly-used dating app. This new addition, Tinder U, is meant to be a version of Tinder meant for college students on campus. While this app is widely used among people of all ages, this makes it easier for students to connect.
In order to access Tinder U, students must have a Tinder account and open it while on their campus. After being geolocated, users will be asked if they’re interested in trying Tinder U. In order to verify that the user is a student, they must confirm a .edu email address. Once students are logged into Tinder with their college and have verified their accounts with their emails, they will receive their acceptance email from Tinder University. The next time the user opens the app, they’ll experience the Tinder U feature and be able to see students who are also using the Tinder U extension both on their campus as well as other college campuses.
Tinder, which is primarily used as a way for people to meet, date and often hook-up, has commented that this new way of connecting can move away from the hook-up culture and reputation. “Need a study buddy? Not a problem. Coffee date on the quad? We’ve got you covered. Freshman year and you don’t know a soul? This is your ticket to the coolest crowd on campus” Tinder said on their blog section of gotinder.com.
However, other than showing students on campus first when swiping and limiting the people who come up in user’s feed, the Tinder U experience is not much different than the traditional version. Users are still able to see profiles, swipe left or right if they like or dislike the photos and bios, super like accounts, and message other users. Tinder U does not prevent students from swiping on people who are not on campus or campus connected, it just makes it easier by listing other students first.
“I didn’t use Tinder that often before but I figured I’d check out the new Tinder U thing once it launched and was honestly disappointed” said senior Autumn McElroy, one student who has connected with Tinder U. “I heard that it was supposed to veer away from dating and focus on other aspects like forming a study group but it’s exactly the same as normal Tinder.”
According to Pew Research, about 30 percent of 18-24 year olds use online dating apps as an acceptable form to meet and date people. Following college-ages users, about 22 percent of 25-45 year olds are also using online dating apps. With college students being the primary audience for dating apps, Tinder U is a sensible addition. With other apps like Facebook adding in dating features, Tinder could use this ambitious angle to enhance their app over their competitors.
“I love it! I always want to meet students for friends or dates,” senior Nina Whitlock said. “It’s so much nicer to meet up with people who run in the same circles as you and now all my peers are easier to find and connect to.”
Tinder U recently launched for iPhones and Androids, continuing to raise its user base and revenue. According to mediapost.com, it has doubled in subscribers as of August 2018. But many students are slowly veering away from Tinder and going towards similar apps and showing a preference for Tinder’s competitor, Bumble or just not having the apps anymore at all. “I like [Tinder U] because it filters out the weirdos,” said senior Rohit Bazu. “But ultimately, I think [dating apps] are a waste of time and people should just introduce themselves to people they find attractive in person.”