7 Things You Should Know Before Online Dating In College

I never dated in high school, so I figured I’d date in college. Well, er, I came close? But aside from missing (in retrospect) obvious signals for a dude I had a bit of a crush on, and getting asked out by a dude I barely knew, my dating life in college was pretty non-existent. It wasn’t until after college that I started to seriously try dating, and I did that by joining some free online dating services and apps.

I met my current boyfriend via online dating, which makes me wonder why the hell I didn’t try it when I was in college? We’re led to believe that college is so full of potential hookup and dating opportunities that taking to the internet to find somebody to boo up with is pointless. Uh, that’s definitely not the case. Sure, there are plenty of people at your disposal in classes, dorms, etc, but this is easier said than done.

If you want to give online dating in college a go, here are seven things to consider before taking the plunge.

Don't Feel Weird About Online Dating Or Using Dating Apps

Seriously, don't feel like you're some kind of loser because you can't find a guy or girl on campus to hang out with in a romantic way. A lot of people still rag on online dating but so many people do it. It's not just for losers, okay? Every walk of life is using these services, from pretentious hipsters to shy bookworms to party animals who are all about college life. Don't worry about looking like a hapless, loveless fool.

Source: Broad City

Online Dating Is An Awesome Way To Meet People Who Go To Your School And Folks From Nearby Schools As Well

This is especially helpful if you go to a medium or large sized campus. There are going to be so many awesome people who just aren't in your friends group or in your classes or in your dorm. So one of the only ways you might meet them is from an online platform. It's like being at Hogwarts and only hanging out with people in your house, unaware that there are cool folks in other houses, too! So don't look at this as inherently dating outside of your campus dating pool because it might not be at all. This is also helpful if you want to meet some people at nearby schools. If your college is located in a city that houses lots of other colleges, this is a great way to meet your potential soulmate who is chillin' in a dorm across town.

Source: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix/Warner Bros.

It's A Great Way To Date If You're Not Straight

So many LGBTQ folks use online dating services to find potential partners. Even if your school has an LGBTQ community or organization, attending those meetings or events isn't an automatic guarantee to find a uni boo.

Our intern Katie, who IDs as a queer girl, summed it up super well: "I just know a lot of friends who used online dating sites to find possible people to date while in college. When you're queer, finding other queer people can be hard. Even if you are living in the same dorm, you're basically straight until proven otherwise. So online dating is sort of like a campus LGBT group. IT helps other queer people find other queer people without playing that whole, 'Are they or aren't they' game."

Source: But I'm A Cheerleader

Get Serious About Sharing Your Interests So You Attract Cool People And Detract Lame Ones

This might sound simple but it's true. Don't just say you like movies, music, books and food. Almost everybody likes that, including people who you definitely would never want as a date or hookup partner. Don't hold anything back. If you're like Sam from Dear White People (pictured), you'd share that you're an aspiring film maker who is passionate about race. That is going to ideally attract like minded people and detract people who aren't about that life. Do you like Haim, Nicki Minaj and FKA Twigs? Write that down to attract a fellow fan. If being anti-feminist or hating Ryan Gosling movies is a deal breaker, write that down. Also, think about how exciting it would be to find the profile of a guy or girl who has a ton of the same interests as you. It's great! So tell as much about who you are as you feel comfortable with!

Source: Dear White People

Don't Be Afraid To Message People

This is particularly important if you're a straight girl because you've been socialized to have men approach you, for men to ask you out, for men to make the first move. Nah, forget that. I messaged all of my online dating matches first and it was totally painless. You have to learn to take charge! Don't just wait for things to happen to you or else you'll just end up with an inbox full of messages from dudes you don't have an interest in instead of replies from the ones you're actually interested in. It's a little scary, yes, but the results can be totally worth it. By the way, dudes can feel a lot of pressure to make the first move; they get shy, too! You messaging a guy first can be seen as a huge relief to him!

Source: Shutterstock

You're Going To Find Some Duds

Even if someone seems awesome on paper--or on your phone screen, I guess--that won't necessarily translate IRL. Some people you'll meet via online dating are cool, but you just aren't into them. Some are going to be the opposite of what you expected. Some might be, like, the worst. Don't give up after one failed date. If I did that, I wouldn't have ended up with my current BF today!

Source: Freaks And Geeks

No Matter What, Always Meet Your Date In Public

Don't meet up in your dorm or their dorm or somewhere ultra private. Just to stay on the safe side, meet somewhere where there are plenty of people. Also, it doesn't hurt to give your friends a heads up about where you'll be, just in case. While most people doing this online dating thing are totally normal and aren't going to hurt you, it never hurts to make safety a priority.

Source: Shutterstock

Have you tried online dating? Why or why not? Any good stories or tips to share? Tell us in the comments!

You can follow the author, Ashley Reese, on Twitter or Instagram. Don’t worry, she doesn’t bite!


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  • Catt

    I swore never to do online dating, but I met my wonderful boy on online dating – and my friend just met a really great guy on online dating too! It’s so strange but it’s just super effective and I’m so happy I got over thinking it was weird!