15 Best Dating Apps For College Students | Paid And Free

With the heavy course load in college, most students don’t have the time to meet fellow students face-to-face for hookups or relationships.

While some are busy focusing on graduating with good grades, others aim to graduate and find a partner.

Luckily, here are some of the best dating apps which college students use online for free to connect for hookups/relationships.

With these dating apps, students can swipe through and chat with anyone they like for a hookup or for a serious relationship.

Some of the best online dating apps college students can use in 2023 are free, while it pay others.

Before the invention of the computer, there was never anything like this. If you were in college, then you must have approached anyone you like face to face and ask them out.

The purpose could be for a mere hookup or for a serious relationship.

Now that we are in a digital world, it is very easy for someone to surf the internet using dating apps to get partners.

Studies show that people in their late teens and early twenties use dating apps frequently. The survey also found out that over 75% of adults between the ages of 18 to 24 use Tinder.

Tinder is one of the best online dating apps that college students and others will use frequently in 2023.

Are you a college freshman looking to connect with other students on campus? Do you feel shy to approach someone of the opposite sex face to face for a hookup or relationship? Well, this article is the best bet for you.

What are the best online dating apps for college students?

There are many applications that college students use online to connect with other students on campus to build relationships or hookups.

In this article, we will focus only on the best dating apps that college students and other people use frequently to get partners.

The dating apps are free while some are paid. They include:

  • OkCupid
  • Tinder
  • Bumble
  • Friendsy
  • Hinge
  • HER
  • Happn
  • Coffee Meets Bagel
  • Plenty of Fish
  • Hater
  • Match
  • JSwipe/Minder/CDate
  • Zoosk
  • Grindr
  • eHarmony

#1. Tinder

Many regard tinder as the dating platform of the Millennial generation and the world’s most popular dating app.

College students use widely this dating app. Research shows that the app has recorded over 43 billion matches to date and over half of its users are adults below the age of 25 years.

Meanwhile, Tinder allows users to anonymously swipe to like or dislike other profiles based on their photos, a small bio, and common interests. The moment two users have “matched,” they can exchange messages immediately.

This dating app matches you with singles using your location. Initially, tinder required access to a Facebook account before one could use the app.

However, users started joining the platform with just a telephone number in August 2019.

To get started with Tinder, select a few pictures and write a short bio. You may choose to add your Instagram account. Now, it is time to swipe. If you and another user both swipe right (for yes) on each other, you become matched and start sending each other messages. 

Since Tinder is a millennial app, several college students are familiar with it. Tinder is perfect for students or persons that do not want any form of commitment in a relationship and just want to catch fun. It matches a student with strictly another student on campus.

Although Tinder is known as the “hookup app”, it is important to state whether you are looking for just sex or a relationship.

The base of this dating app that college students use is totally free, but if you can upgrade to TinderPlus for features like “Super-likes” and “Rewind last swipe,” (when you accidentally swipe left on a hot girl). 

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#2. OkCupid

OkCupid is an internationally operating online dating, friendship, and formerly social networking website and application that is based in the U.S.

All users interact with each other through private messages or an instant messaging “chat” function.

OkC was the first major dating site to offer unlimited messaging for free. It also has multiple-choice questions to match members.

You may ask, why do college students prefer this online dating app?

Whenever we add new friends online, we may notice that it will take a long time to get to know their attitude. However, this makes it difficult to find partners who share the same values as you on time.

In college, you’ll have lots of things occupying your mind such as studying very hard to make good grades. This actually means you don’t have the whole time to waste on someone you want to connect with. With OKCupid, your problem is solved immediately in this case.

OkC’s app has a wide variety of optional questions and matching tech. These questions help you to know someone’s real personality.

It will also help you ask some questions to know if the person you like shares the same values as you instead of wasting the whole semester with someone who disagrees with your views.

This dating app that college students and people use is free for a basic subscription. It is recommended for a college student on a budget.

However, an A-list subscription is $4.99/month for six months, $7.99/month for three months, or $9.99/month for one month. With the A-list subscription, you can see who likes you, see when someone has read your message, etc.

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#3. Bumble

Bumble is a location-based social app that promotes communication between users with similar interests.

In heterosexual matches, only female users can make the first move with matched male users. The aim is for females to reduce the number of unrequested messages received from guys they dislike. But in same-sex matches, either person can send a message first.

While getting started, users can register using their phone number or Facebook profile.

Bumble uses swiping to show you potential matches. If both users swipe right on each other, it’s a match. Bumble differs from Tinder in using this feature, although matches expire after 24 hours.

The app does not focus only on dating. There are options for searching for romantic matches or, in “BFF mode”, friends. Bumble Bizz also promotes business communications.

The inclusion of BFF mode and Bumble Bizz enables college students to make new friends or professional connections on campus. Bumble is good for college students who are looking for something a little more valuable than a fling.

This dating app which is one of the best for college students has a standard membership that is free and comprehensive. You can choose to upgrade to Bumble Boost to see everyone who has right-swiped you, extend your matches by 24 hours, and rematch with expired connections.

Prices may vary and may not be consistent across different locations. A week of Boost costs $8.99, a month is $24.99, three months cost $16.66 per month, and six months cost $13.33 per month.

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#4. Friendsy

Friendsy is a social networking platform designed only for college students. This dating app enables college students to chat, compliment, and connect with each other everywhere.

Friendsy is one of the best dating apps in 2023 that college students use to meet each other on campus. It gives students super-specific filtering options. Students use the filtering options to see only freshmen in a particular major in college.

Friendsy has a swiping feature like Tinder. If you swipe right on a user you like, you can choose whether you want to be friends, date, or hook up with the user. If the user chooses the same for you, it’s a match.

Users can also send “hints” to each other which is basically a notification that lets a student know if someone is interested in them. 

Furthermore, this dating app requires students to provide an active college email to join. It also ensures that no random resident that lives around your rural college town fall into your swipe pool. The filter options are clutch, and it helps you to find anyone if you narrow your filter enough.

Additionally, this dating app that college students use frequently in 2023 allows you to put your intentions on the forefront. On Friendsy, you will also know if someone is looking to hook up, date, or be friends with you.

This dating app that college students use is free.

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#5. Hinge

Hinge is a dating app for people wishing to get off. It aims to foster relationships whereby aged college students use this dating app to find their potential life partners.

Once college students are nearing their senior year, most of them would want to enter serious relationships.

Maybe they are tired of having hangovers or relationships that never mattered in the past. Hinge provides a solution to such situations.

Hinge has a swiping feature like Tinder. This dating app requires your Facebook account to get started. Afterward, you’ll fill out your details, answer questions, and add images.

College students who are enjoying normal student life but wish to consider a relationship use this dating app which is one of the best to find the right person for themselves.

Hinge is very easy to use, and offers slightly more than the typical surface-level swiping. The application costs $7 to subscribe to per month.

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#6. HER

HER is a dating app that is created specifically for lesbian, bisexual, queer women, non-binary people, and the LGBTQ community.

You can sign up on this dating app using your Facebook or Instagram profile. You will need to permit location access to see users on the platform near you. If you sign up, you will be required to upload at least eight photos of yourself and choose a label including lesbian, fluid, bisexual, etc

Remember HER is only for those who identify as lesbian, bisexual, or queer. This dating app will never make you feel hypersexualized for being into women. This is because the main purpose of HER is specifically for lesbians.

HER’s feed is like a social media platform like Facebook with the option to like other users’ photos.

In addition, it works like a comprehensive dating app where you can like or pass on potential matches and start a conversation when you both like each other. 

HER also allows you to take part in local LGBTQ events, read LGBTQ news, and connect with new friends.

This dating app that college students use has a free standard membership. Below are the subscription plans on HER:

  • 1 month subscription: $14.99
  • 6 months subscription: $59.99
  • 12 months subscription: $89.99

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#7. Happn

Happn is a dating app that allows you to find everyone you have crossed paths with or people that destiny has decided you should meet.

If you’re a user on Happn and you cross paths with another user, their profile will appear on your app.

Once the user’s profile catches your attention, you can like their profile secretly and the user will never know unless they like you back.

Similarly, you may wish to make a big impression by sending a salutation like “hello” and they’ll receive a notification. If the like is mutual, it means that you have got a crush. Afterward, you chat and maybe organize a face-to-face meeting.

Happn will never allow you to receive a message from someone you are not interested in. The dating app does not expose your location to other members, however, only the places you crossed paths with them are shown.

By signing up on Happn via your Facebook profile, you will allow your phone to geo-locate you so it can start tracking your movements. As a college student using Happen, whenever you visit specific places on campus, students that visit there regularly will show on your app. This will enable you to connect and become friends.

This dating app is free. If you wish to access more advanced features on Happn, you can upgrade to Premium. With Premium, you can see anyone who has liked your profile and get more Hellos to send to those special profiles.

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#8. Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating app for singles looking for a serious relationship. This app is suitable for those looking for quality dates who don’t have the time to meet more people online.

For students in college, this app helps them to find love on campus. It also helps them connect with partners that help them excel in their studies, apply and gain internships, or get into graduate school.

Unlike Tinder where you swipe to find a match, Coffee Meets Bagel sends you targeted, specialized singles depending on your preferences daily every afternoon.

This is where the name of the app comes from. During coffee breaks, most students open the app to see if they can find a partner of their choice around the corner.

Coffee Meets Bagel has a feature that lets you filter your experience so you’re only matched with fellow students and alumni that match what you’re looking for. This could either be by department, age or major.

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#9. Plenty of Fish

Plenty of Fish or POF is one of the oldest and biggest dating sites. While signing up, you’ll be required to complete a detailed questionnaire to enable the app to accurately determine who each person would be well-matched with.

Although many people use this dating app for chats and hookups, many have found a serious relationship on the platform.

According to a POF survey, 52% of men and 47% of women on this dating app are interested in becoming exclusive with the right partner.

POF’s match suggestions and personality tests enable singles to meet a potential partner with similar personality features and life goals.

The basic membership is free, but you can upgrade your membership. With the upgraded membership, you can get triple the number of profile views, including uploading sixteen photos to your profile, seeing the date and time someone viewed your profile, and standing out in all searches.

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#10. Hater

Hater is a dating app that matches users based on the things they hate. Its algorithm finds matches using a user’s swipe.

If you swipe on other people, it is usually anonymous. This app can only match you and another user when both of you swipe right. So, this means that haters can hate together as well.

 Once you sign up, the app offers you thousands of options including people, places, and things which you can decide to hate, love, like, or dislike.

While filling up your profile, you can as well browse another user’s profile in a swipe right/left pattern.

This dating app allows you to send messages to other singles on the platform using a fun icebreaker fill-in-the-blank prompt.

With this, you can start a conversation off humorously and interestingly, rather than starting the chat using a boring “hi or hello”. 

Hater is a sure bet for college students looking for love. Hater takes off the pressure of someone trying to be perfect for someone else to get the person’s attention. Since you answer some questions and choose the things you like while signing up, Hater will help you match partners that like the same things you like.

Since college students dislike paying for apps, this dating app is free to use.

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#11. Match

The match is the longest-running dating website in the world. This dating platform dates back to 1995. Research shows that Match has promoted several first dates, serious relationships, and successful marriages.

This dating app guarantees you will find a partner. While signing up, set your dating preferences. This will allow you to view other users’ profiles freely once your profile is set up and running. Luckily, it does not limit profiles, meaning you can view any profile of your choice.

Match offers match suggestions based on your preferences, and you can as well change these criteria anytime any day.

This dating app also has a “Missed Connections” feature. This feature uses your location to match you with people you have already come in contact with in real life in the past.

If you are a college student using this dating app, reflect on occasions when you saw your crush on campus but didn’t make any move on them. Match will give you a second chance to make that move you didn’t make on that crush in the past.

Match has a free version, but your communication with other users will be limited. However, you can get the unlimited version via subscription. The subscription includes $26.99/month for three months or $20.99/month for a year’s premium.

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#12. JSwipe/Minder/CDate

You may notice that some people choose friends based on their religion or beliefs. Well, if you are single and you find yourself as one that considers religion while making friends, you can opt for JSwipe, Minder, or CDate.

JSwipe is a dating app that connects the Jewish community. Minder is a dating platform that connects Muslims while CDate connects Christians. These dating apps are free and you can use your Facebook profile to log in and get started.

In college, you will meet students from different walks of life and religion, but with these dating apps, you can connect and become friends with students who share the same beliefs.

Unfortunately, these apps do not require users to show evidence of their religious beliefs. If religion is a priority before you choose friends on these platforms, you inquire when you match with a user to avoid disappointment.




#13. Zoosk

Zoosk is an online dating site and dating app where you can browse photos of local singles, match with daters, and chat. It is available in 25 languages and in over 80 countries.

While signing up, you will be required to provide your Facebook profile and the Zoosk algorithm will sync your likes. Afterward, you will fill out basic info such as body type, education, and religion. Then, write your “story” in a bio-like section. You can also write what your idea of a perfect match would be, as well as your ideal date.

Zoosk uses behavioral matchmaking to show compatibility between users. So, the more you view photos, and like profiles, the better the matching algorithm will become at forecasting who you will like.

Using Zoosk allows you to get as personal as you want without limiting you to a certain method of finding someone. Its multiple search options let you customize your experience based on your needs.

Zoosk analyzes your preferences and patterns when it comes to interacting with other singles to figure out your “type.” Then it uses that information to make recommendations for you, also known as the “SmartPick” feature. 

It has a free membership, but you can upgrade to enjoy more features. Below are Zoosk subscription plans:

  • 1-month subscription – $29.95
  • 3 months subscription – $19.98 per month
  • 6 months subscription – $12.49 per month

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#14. Grindr

Grindr is the world’s largest social network platform and app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. However, you may find real and long-lasting relationships on this platform.

On Grindr, you will find several guys around your locality ready to chat. Most users will be honest in letting you know they just want casual sex.

Grindr does not have any swiping feature to match you with a user. Hence, any member on the platform can chat without you having to “like” each other first. This can lead to a user sending you his dick pictures. Bear this in mind first!

Furthermore, you can send your location to other users on Grindr. We advise that you don’t rush into doing this. Begin first by asking for something like their Facebook or Instagram, and phone number before sending your location or meeting them in person in order to be sure of their identity.

Grindr helps gay college students looking for gay partners on campus for casual sex or something more. Unfortunately, Grindr is for sex addicts, so it’s not the best platform to find a lasting relationship. Although you never can tell, anything can happen.

This dating app has a basic free membership. You may upgrade to Grindr XTRA to avoid seeing ads, see more profiles, use premium filters, send multiple pictures at once, etc. Below are the rates for the Grindr XTRA:

  • 1-month subscription: $19.99
  • 3-month subscription: $39.99
  • 12-month subscription: $99.99

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#15. eHarmony

eHarmony is a dating app that lets you find love using a compatibility score. Millions of people worldwide have found true love using this dating app.

If you’re signing up on the platform, you will be required to answer an 80-question personality test. These answers to these questions will help the harmony team get to know you better and identify key personality traits.

The eHarmony algorithm will recommend your ideal match using the information you provide. So, make sure that you are honest while answering the questions.

Upon being matched with users, you can start interacting with them by sending Smiles and Icebreakers.

eHarmony is great for college students because this dating app helps them to find the love of their lives. There are high chances that any match you find on eHarmony is as serious as you’re. So, why waste your time on a mere hookup platform when you know you can find love on eHarmony. Research shows that this dating app is widely used among students in college.

eHarmony is not free; hence, subscribe for it. A monthly subscription costs $57.95 but you can get a cheaper bundle by opting for a year’s subscription, which will cost you $26.95.

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