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As it Happened: Harvard Commencement 2023

Using Datamatch, Thousands of Harvard Students Seek Romance, Friendship, and Free Food

Datamatch is a free matchmaking platform managed by Harvard undergraduates that pairs users by an algorithm based on a 16-question survey.
Datamatch is a free matchmaking platform managed by Harvard undergraduates that pairs users by an algorithm based on a 16-question survey. By Sophia Salamanca
By John N. Peña and Hana Rostami, Crimson Staff Writers

Early in the morning on Valentine’s Day, more than 4,300 Harvard undergraduates eagerly awaited an email that could fundamentally alter the course of their lives: their Datamatch results.

Datamatch, a free matchmaking platform managed by Harvard undergraduates, pairs users by an algorithm based on their responses to a 16-question survey. This year, the questionnaire asked students questions on various topics ranging from charcuterie boards to the inevitable Datamatch ‘walk of shame,’ all in an attempt to match them with their soulmates, whether romantic or platonic.

The website allows students to reserve a date with their top matches at a Harvard Square eatery — including Kung Fu Tea, Berryline, or Taiyaki NYC — with Datamatch footing the bill.

Alex V. Cheng ’23-’24 and Chelsea E. Guo ’23-’24 lead the members of Datamatch’s administrative team — known as Cupids — who expand and improve the service from year to year.

This year’s Datamatch debuted an updated user interface, which Guo described as a “retro-like, video game-y aesthetic.”

“It looks very different. It looks very clean. It looks very homey and retro,” she said. “But it still has that same thing that everybody loves about Datamatch.”

This year’s edition of Datamatch also allows participants to complete optional personality-related fields on their profile, such as their Myers-Briggs personality types, Rice Purity Test scores, and astrological signs.

“These are fun side projects that the members of our algorithm team wanted to do, just as fun personality-related things that some people at Harvard might want to share with each other or might want to factor into who gets matched with them,” Guo said.

Available at more than 40 universities, Datamatch was founded by a group of Harvard students in 1994. This year, the platform logged over 35,000 users across the United States, Canada, and the UK.

“We’re always trying to drive up sign-up numbers and expand to as many schools as possible,” Cheng said. “We’re always on the hunt for new schools.”

According to Datamatch’s website, its service is “primarily meant to be humorous and casual,” but by using the matchmaking service, “there’s always a chance of finding a lasting relationship.”

Some users have been successful in those endeavors, while others use the platform in hopes of landing a successful date.

Nehir Toklu ’25 wrote to The Crimson that she met her boyfriend through the survey last year.

“I filled it out because it just feels like a fun date-ish meet up — and having the excuse of free food felt like a really good opportunity to meet people,” she wrote.

Jeremy M. Williams ’26 called Datamatch “the place to be,” adding that he was looking to meet new friends.

“I found myself single recently, so it just seemed to be what I had to do,” he added.

Other students said they bonded with their friends over the survey and its humorous questions.

Returning user Leticia J. Sefia ’25 said she decided to participate in Datamatch because she found last year’s survey questions funny.

“I didn’t think it would actually be funnier than last year, but it somehow was,” she said.

Jackelyn G. Baldwin ’24 said one of her classmates hosted a get-together for her class to fill out Datamatch at the same time.

“We all just showed up, pulled out our computers, and did the survey together,” she said. “It’s just a really cute and wholesome experience.”

Kevin Ray ’24 said he was not initially interested in participating but changed his mind at the last minute.

“I was talking to my friends about it, and they all did it. And I was like, ‘Why not?’ because it’s free food,” he said.

Cheng, one of the Datamatch Cupids, said he has been inspired to organize Datamatch for the past three years because of the joy the tradition brings.

“It’s just a fun way to meet people, and I enjoy helping facilitate that and encouraging connections across campus,” he said.

—Staff writer John N. Peña can be reached at john.pena@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @john_pena7.

—Staff writer Hana Rostami can be reached at hana.rostami@thecrimson.com.

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