In a technological era where dating websites have flourished and become almost commonplace, University students can now embark on a search for a significant other with the help of a new site developed specifically for college-aged individuals — www.DateMySchool.com.

According to Anna Ehlrich, manager of the University of Michigan’s branch of the website, DateMySchool began in November at Columbia University and has since spread to colleges such as New York University, Princeton, University of California-Berkeley and Stanford. Users sign in using their school e-mail addresses, making the website exclusive to that university.

In an e-mail interview, Ehlrich wrote that the website allows students to communicate with users through web chat and messaging after matching them with others based on categories and preferences they can select when signing in.

While its functionality is similar to that of Facebook, she wrote that DateMySchool has advantages over similar social networking websites including allowing users to find out who has viewed their profile, to “like” someone’s profile and to mark individuals as a “favorite.”

Additionally, she wrote that it includes a feature of anonymity that provides the opportunity for users to be selective in who can see their profile, particularly in regards to members of academic programs.

“When a student signs up on the website, they can decide who can see them,” she wrote. “This means that if they are in the medical school and don’t want anyone in the med school to see they are on the website, then they can opt to have only Business School students see them.”

Ehrlich, who attended Barnard College, wrote that she got involved after meeting one of the co-founders of the website and became interested with the project. She decided when she was moving back to Ann Arbor to establish a branch of DateMySchool at the University, largely because she felt there was a lack of communication between students of different schools and programs on campus.

“I think that the idea of connecting students from different departments is a great idea, and given the success of DateMySchool, so do many other students,” she wrote.

Ehrlich added that since students are mostly required to take classes related to their majors it is often difficult to meet students in other areas of study, and that DateMySchool provides students with an expanded dating pool.

This experience is exacerbated for graduate students, Ehrlich wrote, as they don’t have as many opportunities to participate in clubs or dormitory style living that undergraduates often engage in.

LSA sophomore Ashley, who requested to remain anonymous, said that while she believes the website may be successful at the University, she would personally prefer to not meet someone on the Internet.

She acknowledged that educational backgrounds of a partner are important, adding that finding a relationship with someone at the same university would be beneficial since partners could communicate more often.

Engineering sophomore Ryan Bell echoed Ashely’s sentiment that meeting someone within your own school is beneficial when engaging in a relationship, adding that it provides a foundation for a stronger bond.

“I think it would be good in a relationship to know educational backgrounds,” Bell said. “You’ll be able to connect more.”

However, Bell said he has no desire to use a dating website to find a significant other because he believes people usually meet their partners in real-life settings, and there are many opportunities on campus to meet people.

“Meeting people in a class or an event would be more successful,” he said. “I don’t think it would really help me as an engineer to use an online dating site.”

“If you were looking for a relationship, you’d go out and find it yourself,” Bell added.

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