In college, dating is the extra credit assignment no one signed up for — but everyone secretly hopes to ace.

With the geographical closeness of a small campus and proximity to people who are of similar ages with common interests, dating inside the Yale bubble makes sense. Some of us are looking to experiment with sexuality, some of us are searching for romance and companionship, and some of us are crippled by the fear that once we graduate, move to a big city and begin our careers, our odds of finding love all but vanish and we are therefore determined to leverage our 17 percent chance of meeting our future spouse in college to its fullest potential. 

Some Yalies indeed meet their future spouses on campus. Take, for example, Tara Falcone ’11, who shared the story of meeting her husband over email. 

“I met John at a Kappa-ADPhi get-together in February of our freshman year,” Falcone wrote to the News. “We locked eyes across the table during a round of flip cup (non-alcoholic of course), then spent the rest of the night chatting. He sent me a private Facebook message the next day (the early days of DMs – scandalous).”

After a lunch shared in Commons, the couple started dating and they’ve been together ever since. Assignment aced. 

But not everyone can be Tara and John. 

Matchmaking services like Marriage Pact seek to alleviate the fear of being forever single — albeit in a lighthearted manner — by using an algorithm to pair undergraduates with potential future spouses, but the worry of being a love-lacking graduate is only strengthened by a quick peek at the classifieds of any Ivy League alumni-magazine. There, you’ll find dozens of personal ads for people who are professionally successful, but still searching for love. 

In those same classifieds, you’ll also find a handful of dating and matchmaking services, all targeted at single graduates of prestigious schools. There’s Elegant Introductions, a matchmaking service that describes itself as “elite matchmaking for select singles,” The Right Time Consultants, a curated matchmaking service for “top shelf clients,” or the Ivy Plus Society, an alumni networking event which the New York Times called a “meet market for the pedigreed.”

I have to wonder, are these services really about companionship? Or are they selling a chance at power, wealth and prestige? 

Dating in the Ivy League is implicitly swayed by the fact that we’re dating potentially famous or powerful people: lawyers, doctors, actors, authors, politicians. Beyond academic or professional success, the carefully curated pool of Ivy League admits are also far more likely to be in the top wealthiest 1 percent. When options are purposely limited to this small, elitist pool, perhaps dating becomes less about falling in love and more about securing a future. 

So, would Yalies use these Ivy-only dating services?

Friends and peers who weighed in on the idea had mixed feelings. 

“I wouldn’t date any of those pretentious hoes,” said one anonymous senior, who met his long-term girlfriend at Yale. 

Others were uncomfortable with the elitism of these services and reasoned that going to the same school doesn’t guarantee you’ll have anything in common. 

But some suggested that, after graduation, a similar schooling background might provide common interests and a source for shared ambition with a potential partner. 

“I don’t mind dating at Yale,” said another senior who requested to remain anonymous. “I met my girlfriend at Yale. And my other girlfriend. And my other other girlfriend.”

Dating (and not dating) at Yale is, in short, whatever you make of it. And if you don’t find a special someone in your bright college years? Well, you can always place your own ad in the classifieds. 

Hannah Mark covers science and society and occasionally writes for the WKND. Originally from Montana, she is a junior majoring in History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health.