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Science & Tech

Tinder Campus-Specific Dating Service Further Targets College Students

A Q&A with a company official explains how it will work

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Tinder started out on a college campus and more than half of its users fall into the 18 to 24 age bracket, so it’s not exactly hurting for college students. But that isn’t stopping the mobile dating app from releasing a new service—specifically aimed at its core demographic.

“Get ready for the best semester of your life” is how Tinder is trying to excite college students with its new service, called Tinder U. It works almost exactly like the current Tinder app, but to get it, you have to have an .edu email address and must have a college campus geolocation.

Tinder U is free and available to students attending accredited four-year, not-for-profit US colleges and universities with traditional in-person classes. And if last March’s Tinder competition, or Swipe Off, for colleges vying to host a Cardi B concert is any indication, the new service should be plenty popular around Boston. In that contest, 64 schools started out, and 3 of the 8 finalists were from Massachusetts (BU, Northeastern, and the eventual winner, UMass Amherst).

How does Tinder U work, and why an app for the college set? We asked Lauren Probyn, Tinder’s director of global marketing and events, for a quick explanation.

BU Today: Can you walk us through how to use Tinder U?

Probyn: Tinder U allows you to better connect with other students by putting their profiles first as you swipe. Users will see students on the campus, or surrounding campuses if they choose to, once they enroll. It’s important to note that users can also apply for Tinder U via their settings. Getting started is easy:

  • Once you’re on campus, log in to your Tinder account and you’ll be invited to Tinder U.
  • Give us your .edu email address, and we’ll send you a verification email.
  • Check your email, tap the verification button, and you’ll automatically be taken to Tinder U, where you can swipe on other students.
  • Tap into your schoolmates’ profiles to see more pics, read their bios, and more.
  • Swipe, match, and message as usual.

Why was an app aimed at college students even necessary?

Tinder was born on a college campus, founded by USC students, and college students remain a core part of our user demographic. More than 50 percent of Tinder users are 18 to 24 years old. We wanted to provide students with a new Tinder experience created just for them and help them connect with other students.

Even on the smallest campuses, it is impossible to connect with everyone. Students are passionate about their sports teams, activities they’re involved in, and classes that interest them, but that only exposes them to a select group of people. With Tinder U, students will be able to see other students in their area first while they’re swiping, thus opening their social circle and becoming more ingrained in student life.

Once Tinder U is activated, students are not limited to just their campus. They can adjust their location preferences and even swipe on students at nearby schools. Users can also toggle Tinder U off at any time if they’d like to swipe on more profiles than just students.

I understand the app is only available on Apple’s iOS phones. When might it be expanded to others?

Tinder U is set to roll out to Android users in the coming weeks.

Will Tinder U be available at some point to campuses that aren’t four-year colleges?

We’re focused on gathering feedback from students on the current Tinder U experience and will potentially expand in the future. 

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Rich Barlow

Rich Barlow can be reached at barlowr@bu.edu.

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