Tired of looking for love at Saturday night Toad’s or residential college screws? Take heed: a new website, Date My School, thinks it can help.
After making its debut at Columbia last November, the site is now open to four universities in or around the New York area: Columbia, New York University, Princeton and Yale, co-founder Balazs Alexa said. Intended to help students connect with potential partners within or across schools, Date My School is restricted to users with a university email address at an included institution, which makes the site exclusive but also “very safe,” Alexa said.
“[When someone contacts you], you can feel safe that it’s not a freak or a weirdo,” he said.
So far, the site has attracted around 5,000 users at Columbia and around 4,000 at NYU, Alexa said. Date My School expanded to Yale and Princeton a week and a half ago, on March 19, and has since attracted 174 Yale students, he said, adding that he expects this number to increase in coming weeks. While Columbia, NYU, Princeton and Yale form the “New York hub” of the site, a different hub in northern California includes Stanford and Berkeley, among other schools.
Creating an account is free, and users – undergraduates, graduate students or alumni – can specify which types of students have access to their profiles.
“If you don’t want to have anyone from Yale see you, because you don’t feel comfortable being on a dating website, you can exclude all of Yale,” Alexa said. Alternately, a user can screen out people from other universities and appear only to those from his or her home institution.
The site also allows users to browse profiles of students in specific categories, such as only engineering students, or only engineering students at Princeton, he said, adding that an automatic verification system ensures that information users post about themselves is true.
Alexa said he and co-founder Jean Meyer, both business students at Columbia, conceived of the site after one of them dated a girl from Columbia’s School of Social Work, who expressed frustration about her ability to find romance at the university. (They keep the information as to which one dated her vague.)
“We realized that many departments are biased toward one gender – business towards guys, social work towards girls – and we saw that between departments there is not much communication,” he added. “And this holds true between universities. There is virtually nothing going on between Columbia and Yale, or NYU and Princeton.”
A Boston hub of the website, open to students at Harvard, MIT, Boston University, Tufts and Northeastern, will launch this weekend, Alexa said.
Check Cross Campus soon for information on another new dating site.