Being a college student is one of the most stressful and rewarding parts of young adulthood. You get to stretch your wings, experience independence, and try out your adult pants. Unfortunately, that also comes with a lot of annoying stuff like stress and overloaded schedules that can make dating a bit of a challenge.
Sure, Hollywood makes dating in college seem like a dream scenario. You know, with all the parties going on and all the random frisbee games in the quad. How could you not meet someone special?! Well, in real life, college students spend the majority of their time in class or studying, and a large portion even have part time jobs. This makes dating in college (in reality), a lot tougher than at first glance.
Here’s the good news, though. If you haven’t met someone on campus, don’t fret! You just need to expand your search to a place where other singles congregate specifically looking for romance. That’s right, we’re about to school you in the ways of online dating and give you a run-down of the best dating apps for college students. In this guide, we’re going to break down the top options for dating in college that are easy to use, quick to sign up, and can match you with other students looking for the same things as you!
Best College Dating Apps
|Rank||Dating App||Trial Link||Why?|
|#1||Zoosk||Free Trial||Best Overall|
|#2||The League||Free Trial||Best New Trendy App|
|#3||Elite Singles||Free Trial||Best for Grad Students|
|#4||Christian Mingle||Free Trial||Best for College Christians|
|#5||Jdate||Free Trial||Best for Jewish Students|
|#6||Tinder||Free Trial||Best for Very Casual|
1. Zoosk – Best Overall for Dating in College
When you’re dating in college, the chances are high that you bounce between wanting something casual and potentially something serious. The Zoosk dating app does a masterful job of covering both of these bases with a ton of single guys and gals, including the areas around major (and smaller) universities. If you’re looking for the best dating app for college students that’s flexible and affordable—give Zoosk a shot.
- Over 3 million messages sent between users daily
- 35 million+ accounts
- Very affordable upgraded premium memberships
- Carousel (swipe-style) dating
2. The League – Best New Trendy App
The League is a dating app that typically caters more to 25+ crowd, so it’s real good for those who might be in grad school or just about to get out of school. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the other college dating app options on the list, but the quality filters and process make for a higher caliber of singles. This app is either going to be perfect for you or not a great fit, but it’s absolutely worth checking out because if it is a great fit—you’re in for a treat.
- Hands-down the hottest new dating app on the market
- Caters to successful singles looking to meet the same
- Unique membership structure and sign-up process
3. Elite Singles – Best for Graduate Students
We aren’t just focusing on undergrads here; we know that some college students have already begun establishing their career and want to meet singles just as far along in life. That’s where Elite Singles comes in! If you want to find a love that can champion your success and understand your career goals, follow the Elite Singles trial link below!
- Filled with professional singles who are more established in life
- Over 85% of the user base is college educated (or similar)
- Focuses on long-term partnerships over hookups
4. Christian Mingle – Best for College Christians
College can feel a bit like the wild west, especially to those who live a life of strict faith. You might be worried about losing yourself, but Christian Mingle specifically works to match you with a compatible partner who can help foster your faith. If you want to find a Christian partner to lift you up in love and life, Christian Mingle just might be the right fit for your college dating needs.
- Search for singles by faith and denomination
- Find singles with a focus on marriage and commitment
- Easy-to-use and frequently updating user interface
5. Jdate – Best for Jewish Students
Jewish singles in college have a lot of great options for meeting likeminded singles! If the Jewish Student Union or other on campus Jewish clubs, fraternities, and sororities just aren’t cutting it for you, Jdate just might be the answer to your prayers. It’s regarded as the number one Jewish dating app and is a highly respected and go-to recommendation for single college students looking for love in a faith-based context.
- Number one option for Jewish students in college
- Over two decades of experience in Jewish dating
- Ideal for more serious and committed relationships
6. Tinder – Best for Very Casual
We totally get it. Some college students are just looking to be a little wild and meet a lot of people. If that’s you, we did want to provide an option that you’ve probably already heard of—Tinder. While this dating app is not ideal if you’re looking for something serious or that could turn into a real relationship, it is ideal if you’re just looking for super casual fun.
- Designed for super casual dating based on very few parameters
- Affordable pricing that’s good for students on a budget
- Not great if you’re looking for something that could turn into a real relationship
Table of Contents:
Why We Like These Dating Apps for College Students
Unlike some of those unicorn professors who give out A’s like candy, we’re a little harder when it comes to the grading scale. Here are a few of the most important factors we weigh when racking and stacking dating apps for college students.
Serious and Casual Options
College is the time where it’s 100% acceptable to have absolutely no idea what you want. When it comes to dating in college, that usually means dancing a limbo between wanting a serious relationship (trying to find the one) and casual dating or hookups. For that reason, the recommended options here gravitate towards one or both of these options. And if it’s both, we make sure you have the ability to select what you’re looking for.
Updated Look, Feel, and User Experience (UX)
College students like the latest and the greatest tech, gadgets, and trends. You’re literally at the epicenter of new trends and change. For that reason, the best dating apps for college students need to be with the times. If they feel like they’re designed for your grandparents, we’re not interested. We want slick, smooth, and a little stylish.
Affordable Premium Plans
Unless you’ve been blessed into a unique situation, college is all about being poor! Yes, we said that with some excitement because it can be fun if you approach it with the right attitude. And because of that, we know that most college students don’t have hundreds of dollars to shell out every month for online dating apps. Every app you’ll see on our list is affordable and has options that will fit most budgets.
Prevalence of Singles in College Towns
Seriously, what good would a college dating app be if it was ghost town around every college town? Luckily, this usually isn’t a problem as colleges are built in big cities or cities grow when a new school moves in. Either way, this is why we don’t recommend super niche dating apps because the number of singles in these college areas may be quite small.
Designed for Active Lifestyles
College is all about getting out there and doing things. Whether it be traveling to away games, joining a new club, or experiencing the nature and town where your school is located, it’s about being active. If you’re stuck tethered to a desktop computer to meet other college singles, that’s a waste. This is why our recommendations for the best dating apps for college students are mobile friendly and built for active lifestyles.
Tips to Pick Out a College Dating App
Need a little extra tutoring on how to pick out the best college dating app for you? Not a problem! Here are a handful of tips to help you in the search process.
- Decide on casual vs. committed. – It is 100% okay to go back and forth between what you want in a relationship in college. However, don’t go back and forth while talking to someone or when picking an app. Decide what you want for this season or semester and stick with it for the time being. When you get wishy-washy, people start to get hurt and you can end up on apps that aren’t right for you.
- Don’t ever let it get in the way of your school commitments. – One of the worst things you can do for your college dating career is to flunk out of school. Not only will that make you less desirable to other college singles, but you’ll resent dating or online dating unfairly.
- Do you boo. – Just because your friends are using a particular dating app for college students doesn’t mean that’s the one you have to use. You certainly can, but if you feel like something else is a better fit for you—go for it!
- Use location settings appropriately. – If you go home for the summer, make sure you know how to update your location on your dating app. Most of the other college kids who leave town will do the same, so it might not do you much good to leave it set to your college town. This will help you to get the most out of your college dating apps year-round. Although, we hope you find what you’re looking for and don’t need to be dating all year long!
We wanted to include some links to additional articles and resources that may help you in your search for love or a fun evening whether you’re about to head off to college, in undergrad, a grad student, or just finishing up your time in a college town.
- Should I Try Online Dating in College?
- How to Start Dating in College
- 5 Tips for Dating After College
- What’s It Like Dating an Athlete?
- Best Dating Apps for Highly Educated Singles
- The Guide to Dating a Grad Student
College Dating App FAQ
What is the best dating app for college students?
The best dating app for college students is Zoosk because it has over 35 million members and caters to casual and serious relationships. Additionally, Zoosk has a ton of searchable matching preferences to help you find the exact person and type of relationship you’re looking for.
Do college students use dating apps?
College students do use dating apps, but their choice of app depends on what they are looking for. Those seeking fun for a night often use Tinder. Those looking for marriage love Christian Mingle. Students looking for a modern approach to online dating love Hinge. No matter what you are looking for, you can find it from our list of the best dating apps for college students.
Want some data? A data study from a few years back from ABODO took a look at how college students are using dating apps. And while things may have changed slightly over the past couple years, it still gives us a great benchmark to start understanding what things look like out there!
- 91% of college students say they’re NOT using dating apps primarily for hookups (ABODO Data Study, 2017). This is great news if you’re a college student looking for serious online dating.
- While nearly 84% of college students (and 75% of adults) say they’ve used or are using Tinder, dating apps more targeted at committed relationships are dramatically increasing in popularity.
Is dating in college a good idea?
Like any other secondary responsibility in college, it comes down to prioritizing your goals. Nurturing a relationship takes work, but you get to share that workload with your partner. A healthy relationship can easily be maintained during college and can even cultivate your success.
Is dating easier in college?
Every singles group thinks dating is easier in a different singles group. It is simply human nature to try and find reasoning in a difficult situation. However, dating can be easy for anyone as long as they are looking in the right place. If you want to experience easy dating, utilize the options on our list of the best dating apps for college students.
How do I meet other college students?
You will find that meeting college students is easy. You will run into them in class, in your dorms, out to eat, at the bookstore, in the cafeteria – I mean they are all over the place. The problem isn’t finding college students, it is finding those with mutual interests that are looking for the same thing as you (whether that is a relationship, hookup, or a friend). That’s why dating apps are such a great option – you can even specifically search for college students through the use of filters and preference settings.
Written By: Brandi Brown
Brandi Brown is a daytime copywriter and nighttime novelist. Her projects range from marketing content and commercial scripts all the way to narrative poetry and short fiction. Her debut novel, Bleached, is set to release in 2023.
✉ Contact Brandi: [email protected]