Tinder Barely Passes with Tinder U

Tinder U is a way for students to meet with one another from different universities. Photo by Tumisu on pixabay.

Students don’t give Tinder’s new dating platform very high marks. The much-heralded update restricts their dating options down to other college students but it turns out Chapman users prefer a wider field of selections.

“Tinder U,” launched in August, allows users to filter their dating searches down to other users who also share a university-affiliated email address.

But, students who have given the new service a whirl complain that it’s flawed—sometimes matching them with students far away at other universities and that they don’t necessarily want to be matched with someone they may have already met in their math class.

“Chapman is already small enough,” said Jamie Garcia, a senior psychology and integrated education studies major.

Because Tinder U narrows in on college students, it would make meeting people on campus through Tinder very “awkward,” Garcia said.

Since most Tinder users are of 18-24 years old, the app wants to craft an experience “specifically for them,” said Lauren Probyn, Director of Global Marketing & Events for Tinder.

The feature is meant to connect students to more of their peers and make it easier for users to match with those closer in their area, according to Probyn.

But, sophomore screen acting major Luca Rorh has found that, upon signing in with Tinder U, his feed is flooded with students who are well outside his set radius.

“My range is currently set for 9 miles, and yet the first person that popped up is someone from Azusa Pacific, 15 miles away,” Rorh said.

Rorh initially signed on to Tinder U to meet more Chapman students but views the newest update as a roadblock.

“I can’t just switch back to just Chapman. I don’t want to match with people from USC,” said Rorh.  

Rather than prioritizing geographic location, Rorh has found that the Tinder U feature places student profiles from far away universities before non-student users that may be closer to him.

He believes this takes the convenience out of online dating, and he’s not alone.

Junior computer science major Charlie Story confesses to being as disappointed with the mechanics of the app as Rorh.

“It actually confuses me because sometimes I’ll match with people farther out of my 15 miles that I put. Then, I’m like ‘she’s like 79 miles away’,” Story said.

In response to such complaints, Tinder U maintains that location preferences are still up to each user’s discretion.

“If someone is using Tinder U at NYU and their radius is set at 50 miles, they will see students at Hunter College, Columbia, Barnard, etc.,” said Gabrielle Aboodi, Senior Accountant Executive for Tinder.  

Per Tinder protocol, students are able to enter their location and set up a personalized radius for potential matches. But, once a user signs in as a student, the app then allows users to swipe on other students at their own college, as well as nearby schools, according to its website.

Tinder also states that a student may turn the Tinder U filter off at any time.

Tinder U is only available for students at “4-year, accredited, not-for-profit schools in the U.S. that deliver courses in traditional face-to-face learning format,” Probyn said.

If a user is not connected with Tinder U, but they have a regular Tinder account, they’ll still show up on the app of a Tinder U user, though presented much later.

Tinder has stated that they are “unable” to disclose any numbers regarding how many students are actually taking advantage of the Tinder U feature.

The overall Chapman consensus on Tinder, as a whole, is varied. Some students’ original goals for joining the online dating pool are unclear.

“Honestly, your guess is as good as mine,” said Kyler Hannah, a senior psychology and strategic & corporate communications major.

Hannah tried Tinder U, but ultimately reverted back to classic Tinder.

“I didn’t like [Tinder U]. I just feel like I don’t always want to date in the [college] community,” Hannah said.

Hannah views the basic version of Tinder as her “way to get out of” the typical circles she runs in on campus, making Tinder U inattentive to her specific needs within the app.

Junior psychology major Samantha Scherba finds Tinder U appealing, as someone who “wants to date a guy who’s well educated.” Scherba only sees  benefits in “having [Tinder] on a university level.”

Tinder U advertises these changes as a chance to organize study sessions, coffee dates, and meet new faces. However, some students disagree with what the app actually stands for and how they are using it.

Tinder U “is window shopping,” according to Story.

Contrary to what Tinder U advertises, Story believes the site promotes hookup culture and short-term flings.

Marcella Zizzo

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