Online dating – the future of college relationships

By Kimberly Crompton

As the popularity of online dating services such as EHarmony and Matchmaker.com grow in the lives of middle-age singles across the country, it seems like it is only a matter of time before such a service infiltrates college campuses.

In a technologically-based world where instant messaging and e-mails are replacing face-to-face and even phone conversations, the future of computer dating looks to become less of a desperate attempt for love and more of an electronic best friend setting up people with similar interests.

But at a campus with more than 38,000 students, those who have trouble meeting people simply may not be trying.

“Online dating could be a good idea; however, on college campus, if you try at all, you can meet people,” said Sarah Franseen, sophomore in LAS.

Stacey Bluemer, sophomore in education, had a different view on college students using online dating services.

“I think at this age and maturity level, it’s a bad idea. You don’t know these people. It could become dangerous,” Bluemer said.

Speed, phone, Internet and blind dating, all seem to have replaced the “love at first sight” attitude and has people viewing relationships as more of a race to the altar than a chance to find love with a soul mate.

“College students need to take advantage of how many people they know,” said Eric McGoey, a recent University alumnus. “If someone your age is considering online dating, they need to get off the couch and walk out the front door.”

Though online dating as a business is aimed at an older audience, the idea of setting people up based on their interests has spread as young as high school students.

In many Chicago area high schools, electronic dating is the most popular fundraiser of the year. Students fill out surveys about their interests and receive a print out two weeks later listing the top 10 classmates with whom they were most and least compatible.

“I always ended up getting my crushes (on my list). How weird is that,” Kristen Bauer, sophomore in education said. She then smiled and added, “Though, none of them ever asked me out.”

While the idea of online dating may remain unpopular among college students, at least one former University student has a positive attitude toward finding love on the Internet. On Valentine’s Day, Joe Ferrari, a 2002 graduate, helped his mom celebrate her one-year wedding anniversary to a husband she met online.

“I actually wasn’t skeptical of my mom and online dating,” Ferrari said. “However, I was a bit taken aback at how quickly the relationship escalated. Though, when you are 40 plus, you aren’t really going to spend time with someone unless there is really something between the two of you. And, hey, my mom is happier than she has ever been.”