Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, collegiettes! As much as you may have enjoyed your past V-days spent in your dorm room with a pair of sweatpants, your Netflix account and an entire pizza, this may just be the year that you spend your Valentine’s Day doing the unthinkable: going on an actual date. But how can you snag a last-minute Valentine before the big day?
We spoke to online dating expert Laurie Davis of eFlirt Expert to figure out how to go about meeting a date beyond your college campus (and how Shopcade can help you dress to impress once you’re on that date!).
Her Campus:Even though online dating is no longer all that novel, some collegiettes are still skeptical about the idea of meeting someone online. What do you think are some of the benefits of online dating for college women?
Laurie Davis: When you’re on a college campus, social circles are often preexisting, which doesn’t allow you [the opportunity] to be specific about who you want to meet. With online dating, you can be more specific about what you’re looking for and find someone you may have never met on your own campus, especially for schools in cities with lots of other college campuses around, like Boston.
HC: What do you think are some of the best dating sites for college-aged women?
LD: It really varies on location, but there are plenty of free dating sites that are popular with college students, like OkCupid or Plenty of Fish. There’s also dating apps like Tinder, Hinge and Swoon.
HC: Do you think dating apps are just for people looking for hook-ups, or can collegiettes who are looking for more serious relationships utilize these apps as well?
LD: All technology depends on how you use it. Remember that you’re the user. The approach you take is just as important as the approach others take. Online dating does differ from using apps, as online dating sites provide much more information, which caters to the more serious user. Dating apps are more about spontaneity; conversations are less scripted, which can lead to hook-ups just as well as it can lead to relationships.
HC: What should a collegiette look for in a potential date’s dating profile?
LD: The best indicator [of whether someone will be a good date] is how they talk about their match. Guys looking for a fling may not mention what they’re looking for at all, or else they’ll be vague, using phrases like “looking for someone to hang out with.” If you’re looking for something more serious, make sure you’re looking for someone who’s more specific about what he wants.
HC: What do you think is the most important element of your online dating profile?
LD: Pictures, pictures, pictures! Guys especially will sometimes only look at your photos rather than reading through your bio or other information. I would suggest including three to seven photos in your profile, including a full-body shot. For your main photo, use a head-and-shoulder shot that gives a clear view of your face. Your face should take up most of the frame.
HC: What sort of outfit should a collegiette wear for her profile picture?
LD: Wear color if you can, like red or blue. Most people wear neutrals, so a pop of color can really make you stand out, especially on dating apps. You should also demonstrate a sense of personal style, especially as college women, so that guys know that you’re more than the sweatpants you usually wear to class. Think about the guy you’re trying to attract when you select your outfit.
HC: What sort of details should a collegiette include in her profile bio?
LD: Your bio should be action-oriented. Instead of listing personality trait buzzwords like “fun” or “funny” that are hard to translate, show your humor through your writing or describe the things you like to do for fun. There’s a big difference, after all, if you idea of fun is trying a new restaurant or cliff diving. Your bio can serve as a great conversation starter, so be as specific as possible!
HC: What do you think is a good first date idea with someone you’ve met online?
LD: I wouldn’t think of it as a “date” — it’s more a chance to see if you click with someone in real time. Keep it casual by suggesting you meet up for coffee or a cocktail (depending on your age!) and set it for about 30 minutes. You can always stay longer, of course, if you’re enjoying yourself, but you also don’t want to be stuck if you’re not feeling a connection.
HC: What do you think a collegiette should wear on a first date?
LD: You should want to look well put-together. Try mixing casuals with things that are more polished, like a sundress with flats instead of heels, or jeans with a pretty statement necklace... Most guys prefer a girl who looks natural and fresh, so don’t overdo it on the makeup either. Remain true to yourself!
To find a polished first-date look and to shop for your profile-picture outfit, be sure to check out Shopcade, your personal shopping app. With Shopcade, you can discover new products, create lists of the things you want and get exclusive deals—the app tells you when items you like go on sale!
Good luck finding that perfect outfit (and that Valentine’s Day date), collegiettes!