Column: Tinder is introducing an app just for college students

A strategy guide for the Tinder U expansion.

Corey Davidson is a junior journalism major at MU. He is an opinion columnist who writes about student life and politics for the Maneater.

On Aug. 21, Match Group Inc. announced Tinder U, a Tinder specifically for college students. Tinder U will be similar to the original app, with slight changes to interface and requirements for signing up. Users will need a .edu email address, as well as being geolocated on or near campus. I think that Tinder U will be good for finding people closer to oneself, both in distance and lifestyle. However, there will be a few changes to the metagame to watch out for.

Key Differences

At face value, it may not seem like it changes the game too much. Generally, most users will search for people around their age anyway. According to GlobalWebIndex, around 38 percent of Tinder users are between the ages of 16 and 24. While not all people in this age range go to college, I predict that a significant chunk will migrate to the new app.

Tinder U, as the name suggests, will be for exclusively college students. This makes the pickings a little slimmer for students, as most profiles will belong to other MU students, and some from Columbia College, Stephens College, William Woods University and Moberly Area Community College. The large user base of late teens and twenty-somethings not in college won’t be accessible for users of Tinder U.

If this sort of bottlenecking doesn’t sound right for you, Tinder U will also allow users to switch back to the vanilla Tinder app. This is good news for some when Mom’s Weekend comes around, allowing users to seamlessly switch up their experience. Jokes aside, the new Tinder U will offer a different atmosphere as you will be interacting more often with fellow college students, which may require some play style changes.

Building A Profile For U

The rules of the game have changed, but the mechanics are pretty much the same. This section will be a handful of tips and anecdotes for building a profile that will hopefully garner you more right swipes.

Tinder is a war; a war not fought with weapons, but with the first photo of your profile. Most Tinder users will not look past that when deciding, so you need to make it count. I recommend having a friend take high-quality photos of you with a DSLR camera. According to MU, Mizzou had 1557 journalism majors as of Fall 2017. I would wager most know how to use a DSLR and would happily help you in exchange for some portfolio fillers. Using a high quality camera makes the image look sharper with better lighting control. This will make your profile look much cleaner and put you ahead of the sea of dirty-mirrored phone camera selfies. Set your first picture to a shot of just yourself in high quality and you will be set.

For your other photos, I advise adding some context to your life. Group pictures are fine as long as that is not the only type of photo you have. In fact, group photos are a great way of showing that you at least have friends. Some common routes to take are photos at a beach or in nature, being alive and swell at the gym, or doing something cool like rock-climbing. Dogs are all the rage these days, so tacking on a picture of your puppy will certainly give you an advantage. Since some of these pictures may not even be seen, they don’t require as much attention to quality and can even be silly.

Your photos are your first line of defense. If the decision hasn’t been made by your last photo, your bio should be your saving grace. When it comes to Tinder as a whole, less is more. Nobody will want to sit through your manifesto of quotes, favorites or how quirky you are for liking The Office and chicken nuggets. Personally, I throw in a joke and my major, letting potential matches know what I’m about. Setting an anthem with a Spotify link is a bit less important, but can affect some people’s view. If you don’t know what to put, artists like Kendrick Lamar have some safe bets. A bio can really make or break your chances of being matched, so preparing a good one is essential.

Winning the Game

Now that your profile is set up, we should address the matchmaking system and what to do when you find a match.

Rumor has it that Tinder has something similar to an ELO rating system for likelihood to match and show your card; Business Insider reports that your profile receives a rating based on your number of matches, among other factors.This has not been officially confirmed by Tinder, but discussed extensively on reddit, Quora and various blogs. ELO systems are nothing new; games like chess and League of Legends have been doing it for a long time. Basically, one’s rating is determined by the outcome of a game. In Tinder’s case, the short of it is that you will match more by swiping less. “Casting a wide net” and swiping right on everyone could prove to be a bad idea, as Tinder may deem you as not very selective or even mark you as a bot. If you’re looking for the maximum amount of matches, try to near the center of the bell curve by being just picky enough.

When you finally match with someone, be sure to send a message. It doesn’t really matter who starts it, as long as you end up sending one. Some, like SwipeHelper, speculate that matching without messaging can also damage your ELO rating. There is no accounting for taste, as everyone is different. However, pick up lines are generally acceptable and can really break the ice. As many bios will tell you, “Hey” is not all that exciting. A name pun shows creativity and, if original, could wow your match. For example, “Could I call you Quarry instead of Corey, because I want you to be mine” would be both hilarious and endearing. However you decide to open, make sure to be conscious that there is another person on the other side.

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