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"I don't think people want to change their dating habits.It's better to mimic what you have in real life and improve on that instead of forcing people into behaviors that aren't natural."Though Alexa said he's not sure how to eliminate the unease with online dating altogether — his girlfriend asked him not to share their use for this reason — he has hired student ambassadors to normalize the website on campuses nationwide.
Columbia University nursing graduate student Rita Anderson, 25, is dating a man she met on the website, without which she said she wouldn't have had time to arrange any romantic connection.The platform enables easy, not awkward meetups between students who often otherwise have difficulty doing so, Anderson said.Single students with similar education-focused goals are abound on college campuses, but few have time to meet each other, Anderson said."People understand each other better in this online dating because they see a lot of people like them using it," Anderson said."Online dating is a part of our modern world, so people should use it without hesitation to make love connections."Her school, Columbia, remains the most popular school for Date My School.com, which is based in New York City."You have never had a dating site that has attracted such a large amount of users in one community," Alexa said."You don't need those long talks that you have on other websites to make sure the other person is not a weirdo or serial killer."With an e-mail address that ends in .edu, undergraduate and graduate students, past and present, can sign up to interact with nearby singles for free.Not exclusive to formal dates, users can specify what they're looking for — be it a cuddle, hookup or long term relationship — as well as limit who can look for them and filter searches to indicate desired characteristics about potential partners.
Those who don't match these criteria don't show up in results, Alexa said.
Such verification process and individualized match options decrease the stigma of online dating, Alexa said."Romance is a very private process, but putting it online usually makes it about exposing yourself, so it was important for us to keep it private," Alexa said.
She is embarrassed by their virtual introduction; he created the platform for it.
Co-founder of Date My School.com, Alexa built the dating website in 2010 with Jean Meyer for peers at Columbia University where they attended business school.
Since then, the college- and alum-exclusive service has expanded to more than 230,000 students in 2,800 colleges.
The duo launched i Phone, i Pad and Android applications last month."Here you are comfortable immediately," Alexa said.