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Tinder U is a game-changer—for better or worse.
My first introduction to Tinder came from my freshman roommate, but even then I managed to stay off the dating app until my junior year. Now, swiping left and right on your peers is practically an elective class, and Tinder’s latest feature is on students’ lists for back-to-school necessities.
On Monday, the company announced a new feature called Tinder U, basically, a dating “filter” for students at four-year, accredited, not-for-profit schools in the U.S. that only shows them other peers and students from surrounding similar schools.
All you need is a .edu email from your university. Once you’re on campus, you’ll be prompted to opt-in to the service and enter in the university email address. It’s very reminiscent of the early days of Facebook when only users with .edu addresses could join. Only students using the Tinder U feature can shed the classism and toggle the “filter” off to show their profile to other people who aren’t students.
Like other exclusive dating apps such as the League, the filter boils single people into intelligence and worth, and as a result, desirability.
Today we launch Tinder U, an experience for students to discover students nearby.
If you go to USC you will also be able swipe on UCLA, LMU, UCSB, etc.
1/2 of our users are between the ages of 18 & 24. We think this product will make their time more fun.https://t.co/4SpffUF5L4
— Norgard (@BrianNorgard) August 21, 2018
“Need a study buddy? Not a problem. Coffee date on the quad? We’ve got you covered,” Tinder’s blog announcement states, completely deadpanning at the suggestion that Gen Z will use Tinder to find anything more than a hookup. “Freshman year and you don’t know a soul? This is your ticket to the coolest crowd on campus. Let’s face it—it doesn’t get any classier than this.”
Like with any other kind of technology designed to better facilitate life’s tedious interactions, the Olds are questioning why college students would need such a dating app feature, or dating apps in the first place. Don’t they have classes and parties where they can meet people? Whatever happened to the good ol’ days of getting someone’s number and never texting them back?
This Tinder U stuff is ridiculous! In my day, you met a girl at freshman orientation, friended her on Facebook, and never talked to her again.
— Mustachio (@TeamGunnShow) August 21, 2018
Tinder officially announced its college dating service Tinder U, and wow, just writing about it made me miss college and house parties. u don’t need an app to date in college!!!! https://t.co/diEs19cibb pic.twitter.com/rTlRIPee8G
— Ashley Carman (@ashleyrcarman) August 21, 2018
why would i want tinder U? i’m on there looking for a sugar mommy, not a university student riddled with debt from a system that prioritizes money over national & equal access to what should be basic opportunities such as higher education.
— furbaby (@jeongau) August 21, 2018
Tinder just launched Tinder U for students on college campus LMAO. If you need an app to fuck in college you don’t deserve to have sex.
— Emilio Rojas (@emiliorojas) August 22, 2018
.@Tinder just rolled out a new feature called Tinder U. It’s a new way for college students to match with other students from their university. The class of 2022 is gonna have their walk of shames planned out before syllabus day. Revolutionary.
— Brandon Stefanowitz (@bstefanowitz) August 21, 2018
Tinder U? For "study buddies?" Doesn't Tinder already have this feature? All you have to do is select 18-24 years old in preferences. Will be curious to see how successful this is.https://t.co/bEqW2TO1K3
— David J. Roaché (@davidjroache) August 21, 2018
— CHUM 104.5 (@Chum1045) August 21, 2018
Meanwhile, the Gen Z’ers are kind of loving the idea of being able to swipe through a series of people without running into “townies.”
Tbh Tinder U is a fantastic idea. Yes, college boys are all douchebags, but I go to a kind of southern school and 90% of of the ‘townie’s’ profiles have MAGA hats, dead animals, random pictures of cars, or all of the above in them and all of it deeply concerns me.
— Michelle #joshdunday (@rebelredpocket) August 22, 2018
But, they’re also realizing that running into people they’ve rejected on campus may not be worth the benefits of Tinder U.
Tinder U sounds great, but I’m on a small campus. I’m probably going to make eye contact with someone who super liked me and I swiped left, five times a day.
— mae (@maetesh_) August 22, 2018
Others are more worried about the specifications of Tinder U’s “filter.” All you need is proximity to campus and a .edu email address, meaning that anyone who previously attended or taught at the university could easily hop on the feature. Additionally, Tinder isn’t currently verifying current enrollment, nor age (though, college students aren’t only 18-22, and users would theoretically still be able to set their age preference even while using Tinder U).
“Tinder U” is now a thing, but back in 2006 it was called “creepy upperclassmen messaging me on my brand new Facebook page”
— shannon (@s_kowal) August 22, 2018
Dot edu email confirmation loop now, we will look to improve this over time
— Norgard (@BrianNorgard) August 21, 2018
Lovely timing, what with all the recent discussion about sexual harassment and predation of students by professors, for Tinder to roll out Tinder U for folks with .edu addresses
— Audrey Watters (@audreywatters) August 21, 2018
Unfortunately, Tinder U is only available on iOS devices for now. While that doesn’t help Android users get their campus swipe game on, Apple users who are sticklers for green text bubbles are in luck.
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.