Lonely AU students looking for dates may finally have some hope.
A new dating website exclusively for college students has recently expanded to AU and other D.C. schools.
In November 2010, Balázs Alexa and Jean Meyer, then MBA students at Columbia University, launched “Date My School” as a social networking startup just for students in the District.
Alexa and Meyer now work full-time on DMS, and the site has over 60,000 student users and close to 100 employees. It has recently expanded to 750 schools nationwide.
On DMS, every user must have a “.edu” email address, and users can set a number of attributes that they want in a person, including college, height, interests and academic major. These categories narrow the field of users who can potentially contact other users.
After creating a profile and filling out some basic information, users are greeted by a list of people whose personal settings match up with their own.
Alexa said DMS is unique because it is geared toward college students, unlike more traditional dating sites.
“These dating sites, you know, from the ’90s, like Match.com, eHarmony, they’re not good for meeting people in the college market,” Alexa said. “[Over] 80 to 90 percent of our users on DMS have never ever been on an online dating site, and it’s good like that. We want to be like Microsoft Word after the typewriter.”
Though DMS’s settings make it difficult to calculate an exact number, only 20 to 30 students at AU have signed up for an account with DMS since its inception at AU in July 2011, Alexa said.
DMS often has “location managers” and “student ambassadors” in major college hubs like Boston and Chicago who handle marketing and promotion. These positions that have not yet been filled in Washington, Alexa said.
“I haven’t had time to get a hold of Washington so far, but I’m going to get there,” he said.
Emily Fleitz, a junior in the School of International Service, is one of the few AU students who currently uses DMS. She joined the site this summer after hearing good reviews, and said she has had mixed results so far.
“I like the concept of it in general,” Fleitz said. “That being said, there seem to be fewer people on Date My School. Sometimes I forget I’m on it because I rarely get emails [related to DMS].”
Fletiz said she has had more success with traditional dating sites like OK Cupid, which is open to anyone with an email address.
In contrast, Alexa argued DMS is better for its exclusivity.
“With DMS, you can find someone within a day,” Alexa said. “You don’t need to figure out whether there’s a psycho or serial killer on the other side.”
Both Fleitz and Alexa expressed hope that sites like Date My School can solve what they see as a lack of solutions for online dating in college.
“Technology exists so we can interact with people that we wouldn’t normally get it touch with, so it’s a good tool,” Fleitz said. “It makes sense that dating or finding relationships would continue online, especially for college students.”
Alexa expressed the same hope, and added that he thinks DMS will fill that void.
“I think it’s strange that dating hasn’t been improved, really, for students by technology, and I don’t see why not,” Alexa said. “Many people don’t want to rely on just luck or chance to find the one.”
A previous version of this article, said “Date My School” started as a social networking startup for students in the District. It was actually started as a startup for students at Columbia University.