Swiping left and right: Dating at UK in the digital age


Allie Hall

Illustration by Allie Hall.

Savannah Garnett, Reporter

Dating apps are completely changing the way college students date. 

More college students are turning to these apps for a myriad of reasons, and dating is just the beginning. The University of Kentucky is no exception. 

Dating apps are often marketed to young adults and are specifically popular on college campuses around the U.S. There is plenty of discourse about whether dating apps are positively or negatively affecting society. 

One University of Kentucky student said it can go either way. 

“It depends on how you use it, I guess,” Megan Leibold, a freshman majoring in integrated strategic communication, said. “Honestly, people either are wanting a relationship or people are looking to hook up for a night.”

As dating apps continue to polarize users, UK students have found that most people are either looking for a short-term relationship or something more serious, and navigating that online is difficult.

Since the late 2000s, dating apps have become increasingly popular with younger crowds. Pew Research Center found that, in the U.S., three out of every 10 adults use some kind of dating app, and 53% are under the age of 30. Hinge, Tinder and Bumble are among the most popular dating apps.

Brady Trosper, a civil engineering major, shared a similar sentiment.

“I think dating apps have made relationships more short-term and made them less focused on the person and more on the idea of the person,” Trosper said. “Negatively, it desensitizes people and treats them like they are not real, but positively, there are people who get married from dating apps.” 

Karalyne Swartz, an information communication technology major from Bath County, Kentucky, also agreed that dating apps have changed dating interactions.

“It could go either way, because it’s kind of awkward to run into somebody that you’ve matched with, but it’s also nice to match with people and have a connection,” Swartz said. 

While navigating dating apps is seen as difficult by some, Sophia Macre, a landscape architecture major at UK, believes students use dating apps for different reasons.

“I think people use dating apps because they are bored, at least that’s what it was for me. I went to the University of Arizona before this and I had no friends, so that was a good way for me to meet people,” Macre said. 

Alex Alston, a marketing and finance major from London, England, agreed that dating apps are “an easy way to meet new people.”

The use of dating apps on campus received mixed reviews. 

A few students like Leibold and Trosper agreed that it really depends on what the person is looking for. Leibold believes people’s intentions make dating apps positive or negative. 

Each student discussed that while dating apps can be positive, they do fuel “hookup culture” and short-term relationships.