DateMySchool, an online meeting and dating platform for university students and alumni, launched at Elon on Aug. 17.
The site, founded by Columbia University MBA classmates Balazs Alexa and Jean Meyer, aims to connect academically driven, time-constrained students attending the same school or different schools within the same geographic area.
“Members understand, trust and relate to one another in a way that they cannot on other dating sites that match users based on their zip codes,” said Melanie Wallner, director of public relations at DateMySchool.
Unlike Facebook, DateMySchool helps members meet new people offline and maintains exclusivity by requiring active university email accounts.
“I think you can trust someone from DateMySchool as much as you can on Facebook,” said sophomore Becki Kennedy.
The site’s commitment to safety and privacy are cause for its network of over 31,000 members.
“DateMySchool has massive adoption at universities such as Harvard, Columbia and 350 others because what we do is the exact opposite of Facebook, LinkedIn or other networks,” said co-founder Balazs Alexa. “We show users people they don’t know, but can trust.”
Alexa and Meyer founded DateMySchool in November 2010 after a friend from the Columbia nursing school complained about her program having 90 percent females, while the co-founders were in the business school with 80 percent males.
Within one week of creating the program, 1,300 Columbia students registered.
As a service for young adults, DateMySchool has features designed specifically for college students, including free membership and filtering functions to establish friends, study partners and work contacts in the same region.
“It enables members to control who may view their profiles,” Wallner said. “If an Elon student only wanted to connect with Duke students, one click makes that possible.”
Elon alumni and students may choose to be visible to members from seven nearby universities, including Wake Forest, UNC Wilmington and NC State.
“With the ability to filter schools and departments within the same geographic area, we match members who place the same priority on education, extracurricular activities and careers,” Wallner said.
Anonymity is another factor that appeals to university students.
“If members don’t want to see people they already know, they can limit their profile access so they’ll only meet people they don’t know,” Wallner said. “And because DMS offers various networking abilities, users can be discreet about their reasons for registering.”
Despite the platform’s advantages, Elon students question its role on campus.
“At a big school it might be more helpful, but I might not use it very much,” said sophomore Sarabeth Yglesias.
Elon’s small class sizes and campus life are already conducive to student relationships.
“It’s really easy to meet people of the opposite sex and become friends or study buddies or start going out,” said sophomore Laura Van Drie.
DateMySchool and other social networking sites could also initiate serious relationships.
“I think it could put a lot of pressure and strain on a relationship,” Van Drie said. “I feel like if you start on a dating site like that it would create a weird dynamic. Most people aren’t looking for really serious relationships, but if one falls into your lap, it’s different.”
Despite its potential for creating relationships, DateMySchool insists it is not just for dating, but helps members meet new people.
“One of my friends just got a job through personal contacts of a guy she met on DMS,” Wellner said. “Another friend keeps in touch with a DMS date that felt more platonic than romantic.”
The success of DateMySchool at Elon remains to be seen, but its possibilities for creating romantic, platonic, academic and professional relationships are only a click away.