As the Class of 2013 rapidly approaches graduation, what little time they have left on the Farm might be spent saying goodbye to close friends, celebrating academic accomplishments with family and – just maybe, with the help of a new service – finding love.
matchTHIRTEEN, a service sponsored by the Senior Class Presidents’ Cabinet and members of the Stanford Design Program that launched on June 10, aims to play cupid with graduating seniors by pairing them through an anonymous and private ranking system.
Students can choose up to five matches, and – if the choice is mutual – will be notified via email of the mutual attraction. From that point, the progress of the match hinges on the couple’s discretion.
The three students behind matchTHIRTEEN, all of whom are members of the Class of 2013, designed the service after being inspired by the “last chance dance tradition” of many East Coast universities, which gives graduating seniors the potential to connect with their crushes before they leave campus. The matchTHIRTEEN service retains that initial design, but has also incorporated an option for friends to play matchmakers and suggest potential couples.
The service’s creators were also motivated in part, however, by the recognition that opportunities to find love after graduation would become increasing difficult as the dating pool narrows.
“As graduation is approaching there’s this fear that after you leave Stanford, how are you going to meet the special someone?” one team member said. “At Stanford you meet a lot of incredible people, and a lot of people at Stanford have that friend or that person from afar that they feel they might have chemistry with, but at the end of senior year you don’t want to go up to that person and profess your love out of fear that you’ll tarnish that friendship.”
The design team, who chose to remain anonymous, assured participants that there is no human involvement in the matchmaking process, with the creators unable to view or interfere with matches. In fact, the site is controlled exclusively by an encrypted computer algorithm that the founders hope will produce a private, stress-free experience.
“This is a completely anonymous system where you’re able to input your top five crushes, and if those people crush you back, you’ll both get an email saying you have a match, and if not, then no worries,” the first team member said. “You continue along your friendship without having to have that awkward interaction that may have ended in failure.”
The team expressed confidence that their project will be widely used by seniors taking one last chance to connect with crushes from throughout their time at Stanford. Students have 72 hours to rate their preferences from the site’s launch on Monday morning, before emails revealing matches are released on June 13 during Senior Dinner on the Quad.
“There’s some comfort in knowing that there’s a mutual attraction,” a second team member said. “It kind of gets rid of the insecurity of ‘oh I have a crush on that person but do they like me back?’ It would be nice to bring that to our community.” “We’re kind of that middle man that facilitates that interaction,” the first team member added.
Students can only choose up to five crushes, which the creators suggested offers people a balance between flexibility or strategy but also reassurance, particularly if their choices don’t reciprocate. Only members of the senior class can participate.
“If there were 20 or 30, and you listed 30 people and none of them crushed you back, that would be devastating to that person, but since it’s only five, that’s less of a deal,” the third team member said.
The creators expressed confidence that the service will be successful even in its first year, but emphasized the lack of obligation for seniors to participate.
“There [will] definitely be some matches made, so we’re pretty excited about this,” the first team member said. “[But] you don’t have to do it — no one is forcing you to do it — and if you aren’t approving of it, by all means there is no need to do it. However, for those that are interested, who think they could benefit from these services, there really is very little risk involved.”
On top of potentially finding love through the site, the team predicted another purpose of matchTHIRTEEN, describing it as the ideal studying distraction.
“It’s a perfect distraction during Finals Week for a lot of kids,” the third team member said. “We expect a lot of engagement based on that fact as well.”