What Are The Dating App Habits Of College Students?

If you want to look at the future of any dating trend, just look at the mating habits of college students. A revealing study of 3,500 students was conducted by Abodo, a Madison, Wisconsin apartment rental site that caters to college students. The survey asked which apps they preferred? Were they looking for love or just a hook up? What have their experiences been like? The most surprising finding: instead of meeting through a dating app, 95% of students secretly preferred to meet IRL/in real life! (Yet they spend hours on dating apps.)

When it comes to dating apps that people secretly hate but secretly use everyday, the most used dating app was Tinder, coming in at 84% of college students surveyed. Bumble, the app where women make the first approach, came in second, followed by OkCupid and Match. Grindr came in at 4%, used the most by gay and bi guys.

“Interestingly,” noted the study “Hinge, which bills itself as “The Relationship App” and markets itself as a way out of “casual dating,” was the least-favored app on our list, with only 1.8% of respondents claiming it as their way of finding digital dates.”

“Most typically,” said the study, for 34.1% of surveyed female college students, entertainment is the #1 motivating force to use dating apps. The same is true for 29.7% of males. Of Tinder users, 34.4% of said entertainment was their primary motivator, but they weren’t the only ones: Bumble (27.1%) and Grindr (23.3%) users also ranked it as their main reason,” said the study. Let’s face it, looking at people on Tinder is entertaining. Especially when you discover your married neighbor who lives down the street is on there.

“In a more heartwarming turn,” says the study “more people overall are using the apps to find love (11.5%) than to find hookups (8.8%). (Among men, however, hookups are still the third-most popular reason for using the apps, with 14.8% choosing them as their primary reason.) For the romantics seeking love via phone screen, Match, one of the oldest in the game, is still the top site, though OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel users also rated love as their primary goal. Users of Grindr — another app highly linked to hookup culture — rated love as their #2 reason, less than a percentage point ahead of hookups.”

The study noted the suckiest part of using dating apps, and found that more than a quarter of all dating app users — 35.5% of women and 14.1% of men — have experienced harassment. According to the study “Grindr is the only app to have more than half of its surveyed users (51%) report harassment. OkCupid saw the next-most, with 40%, perhaps due to the largely unrestricted messaging capabilities — on Tinder, for example, you must “match” with someone before you can begin a conversation, which could explain why the platform has the lowest incidence of harassment (26%) in our surveyed students. However, Bumble, which uses a similar functionality but requires the woman to send the first message, had 32% of its surveyed users report having experienced harassment. Coffee Meets Bagel is only slightly behind Tinder, with 27%, and Match falls in the middle of the pack with 30%.” You know the “creepy guy on the dating app” thing is getting out of control when you have to block 1/3 of the guys using it.

And the good news? The study concluded that the use of dating apps, like dating itself is, well, complicated. “According to our data, concluded the study “more and more college-aged Millennials are downloading dating apps, and the stigma of finding love online — long a deterrent — has mostly vanished. There are options for nearly every lifestyle and preference, from hookups to true love. And yet even as user numbers spike, over 95% of our surveyed students still prefer to meet potential partners offline. When it comes to love, it appears we’re still a bunch of romantics.”


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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the new book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. http://www.amazon.com/The-Wild-Girls-Club-Part/dp/0990462129. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and is currently a Sex Columnist for BRITISH GQ. Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.