The fall semester is in full swing across the country, which means gaggles of young singles have migrated back to their college campuses for the winter months. Hot girl summer is out and cuffing season is in.
And these optimistic students are turning to dating apps like Tinder to foster new connection.
For those who are brand new to the app, or for the dating app veteran who needs a quick refresher, Tinder has created a Campus Crush Dating Guide to offer tips for creating a great profile and insight into the latest dating lingo and trends.
According to the company’s internal data from 2022, Tinder sees the highest influx of students between the months of August and September.
Liesel Sharabi, an associate professor at the Hugh Downs School of Human Connection, said that this statistic is not surprising.
"Research tells us that online dating has become the most common way that people are meeting in the U.S.," Sharabi said. "It’s not at all surprising that people who are in college would be turning to these apps as a way of meeting people on campus they might not otherwise cross paths with."
Tinder’s guide for college freshman has a few profile tips for new users and swiping veterans looking to improve their experience:
- Tinder strongly discourages the typical "I’m here for a good time, not a long time" bio. For better results and more matches, Tinder recommends filling out your profile completely with a personable bio that tells other users more about yourself.
- "Four is the magic number" is the rule to follow with profile pictures to secure the most matches. The online dating company also recommends connecting your Instagram so new pictures are added automatically. “Work smarter, not harder,” according to the dating guide.
- Music brings us together. According to Tinder data, 40% of members aged 18-25 have an “anthem” attached to their profile and 10% see a boost in matches as a result.
- Be wary of unverified profiles. Verification is an important safeguard against catfishes and users with bad intentions.
For users, understanding Tinder terminology is crucial to navigating the app. Tinder included a Dating Dictionary at the end of the guide, which includes a wide variety of definitions:
- "Benching" is talking to a match without ever committing to any real plans, usually through inconsistent communication.
- "Ick" is when a small negative trait turns you off from continuing a potential relationship. Some examples of potential icks are chewing with your mouth open, making Vine references, tripping uphill, mansplaining and being rude to wait staff.
- "Simps" are individuals who are enamored with their potential partner and are often at their beck and call. They're also instantly a target of getting teased in the group chat.
- "Uncuffing Season" is a counterpart to the ever-popular “cuffing season,” and refers to the early summer months when people end relationships from the winter prior.
- Feeling someone's "vibe," is considered the best way to determine whether you like someone, where you assess how comfortable you are together.
- "Love bombing" is being overly affectionate with someone at the beginning of the relationship just to switch up their actions as the relationship continues.
Olivia, an ASU senior studying construction engineering who preferred to be identified by first name only, met her long-term partner on Tinder her freshman year.
"I was halfway through my fall semester as a freshman, I had COVID and was bored, and my ex and I had just broken up," Olivia said. "So, I just thought, 'screw it.'"
When she met her current boyfriend several months later, she didn't expect much of it. They have now been dating for two years and live together in an apartment off-campus. However, when people ask Olivia how she and her boyfriend started dating, she said is not always honest because of the stigma around online dating.
"It depends on the situation," she said. "If a grown adult asks, I will say that we met at school, but if I am talking to a person that I am friends with, then I will say we met on Tinder."
Sharabi recently published a study looking at the success stories for people who have found long-term relationships through online dating, including Tinder.
"Know that it is possible to find a long-term partner on Tinder, even though it gets this reputation of being a hookup app," Sharabi said. "The people who I talked to weren’t always honest about how they met because they were afraid that people would make assumptions."
Saharabi said that communication and being upfront and honest about what you want in your profile is crucial.
"For some people, they are still using it as a hook up app." Sharabi said. "They're interested in something casual, but other people are on there, as this guide shows, because they want a serious relationship."
Sharabi said that it is all about being clear, but more than that, authentic and true to yourself – something emphasized in the Tinder guide.
"In previous iterations of online dating, I think that people really put a lot of emphasis on these cleaned-up Photoshop versions of themselves," she said. "And I felt like the emphasis in this dating guide and the advice they were giving was more about being authentic and sort of embracing your imperfections, which is a lot healthier advice."
As far as Tinder is concerned, dating starts with you.
"Make sure that you are 100% ready to put yourself out there, emotionally and mentally," the dating guide suggested. "Knowing your self-worth and building up your confidence to meet new people will help you to put your most authentic self forward."
Edited by Grey Gartin, Sadie Buggle and Caera Learmonth.