It doesn’t matter what year you graduated — dating in college is almost always a nightmare. Aside from the 15 percent of people who can thank their alma mater for putting their future spouse on the same campus, most of the degree-holding population is sent into the real world alone.
Dating doesn’t get better once you’re freed from the shackles of exams and extracurriculars: Finding someone you like romantically who can sync with your 9-to-5 lifestyle and understand that no, you can’t go to the bar on a Sunday night, doesn’t automatically come with aging past 30.
EliteSingles is a dating site aiming to create a mature dating pool for educated professionals — that is, without skimping out on romance and sending you on the most boring date of your life. For those unwilling to budge when it comes to their partner’s educational values and career goals, EliteSingles attempts to offer more specificity where eharmony and Match leave off.
As surface-level as they seem, money, work ethic, and professional schedules are things that can make or break a serious relationship. Finding a cute person with similar interests to yours is one thing, but finding someone you’d feel comfortable having a joint bank account with is harder.
We talked to Maria Ivanik, a marketing manager at Elite Singles, to get the user base stats for 2019, and you’re in luck: EliteSingles has 170,000 active users who want to find the same exact thing that you do. Older users who are possibly looking at a second marriage may feel more comfortable with EliteSingles’ age demographics: 90% of users are over 30 and the App Store describes it as a place for users 30 to 50.
However, the site gets a lot of shit for being more focused on the percentage of college degrees than it is on the actual connections being made on the site. Is the high price point worth it to find a romantic partner who understands when it’s time to buckle down, or is EliteSingles just snooty with no statistics to back it up?
- 1 Making a profile requires a lot of patience, but it’s gotten better
- 2 Finding a match
- 3 The prices are like paying a salty cover charge for an empty club
- 4 Room for improvement: Down the elitism, up the authenticity
- 5 Bad for: People who need control and anyone under 30
- 6 Good for: Mature, established singles who don’t have a type
- 7 Final thoughts
Making a profile requires a lot of patience, but it’s gotten better
The whole process isn’t as drab as it used to be. EliteSingles has given up the awkward interrogation asking you to determine how “strong” or “industrious” you are or how “sexy” of a person you’re looking for. Not only is such vague wording too open to misinterpretation, but no one wants to give themselves a bad rating on communication skills or make themselves look problematic when they’re trying to attract someone — even if they’re well aware that they should have ranked themselves poorly on some questions.
A site makeover in 2018 tweaked questions to be more relatable to daters in 2020 rather than the early 2010s: short, sweet, and personable. EliteSingles looks at dating through the lens of education and financial success, but at the end of the day, the end goal is still to find a romantic connection with a partner who’s ready to make things work in the long run. The new questionnaire incorporates matters of emotions, communication, and interests in a way that lets users actually picture a future relationship. Instead of zooming through and hitting “mostly applies,” hypothetical situations let you measure how you’d behave in day-to-day situations. If your partner showed up to a date late, would you make it obvious that you’re annoyed or would you let it go because you’re also late sometimes? If you get into an argument, do you need to talk it out before bed or do you need a day to blow off steam?
The questionnaire isn’t completely rid of self ratings, which do make it feel a bit dated. The cluster of unlimited descriptors is just asking for cocky people to hype themselves up, but a chance for honest people who trust the process to give potential matches a well-rounded idea of their personality.
If you’re worried that you’re talking too much about yourself, there is another one of these bubble-style questions that lets you specify what you’re looking for in a relationship. Options include ability to communicate, sexual compatibility, similar family plans, and kindness. There’s also one about hobbies, and the options are pleasantly robust: Choose from running, charity work, live music, photography, and a ton more.
The tedious stuff is broken up by fun questions like “Do you like sleeping with the window open?” and “Which of these foods would you like the best?” These give the test a friendly feel and make for great conversation starters.
Inquiries about your ideal first date, whether you’d initiate a kiss are also tossed, making starting a conversation easy. Preferences on smoking, drinking, and whether potential matches have kids or not can also be marked — a smart way to set parameters that can avoid lifestyle disagreements in the future.
People’s biggest gripe with the questionnaire or its filters? The fact that 50 miles is the shortest option available in the distance filter. For some, a 50-mile difference is a considerable commitment — especially for a first date. This also makes it near impossible to narrow things down in cities that are filled with professionals, like New York. (The entire island of Manhattan is literally only 13.4 miles long, and just try to date someone who lives in Queens while you live in Brooklyn. It’s essentially long distance.)
Keeping in line with the EliteSingles mantra, you’ll also be asked to disclose your job title, type of degree, and income bracket. This seems like a breeding ground for scammers and sugar daddy-seekers, though EliteSingles claims to manually verify accounts to ensure that your data isn’t at risk.
However, if you want to lie and say you’re a doctor, it probably won’t be flagged. This isn’t inherently an EliteSingles problem: People can lie about their profession on any dating site (like that guy on Match who claimed to be a millionaire and then scammed $80,000 from the woman he was talking to), but scanning messages for fraudulent behavior isn’t the only way to weed out liars. It seems like a site that has an entire ethos built around careers and salaries would be the first to ensure that users are being connected with other users who meet those qualifications.
A mobile version was finally added to the App Store and Google Play Store, though both are prone to bugs and are smeared with claims of wasted money.
Finding a match
The site matches singles based on that huge 30-minute personality assessment you just took, which is modeled after the Five Factor Model theory. After the more black-and-white factors (like the age, occupation, and location you asked for), are factored in, the algorithm recommends up to seven matches per day. It’ll even show you how compatible you are (a score of 100 being a 100% match), as well as interests or personality traits you have in common based on those bubble questions.
This means that unlike sites like OkCupid and Match, you can’t peruse the pool for potential love interests and instead have to wait until EliteSingles delivers matches to you. But once EliteSingles sends you someone who sparks you interest, you get a pretty well-rounded view of who they are as a person. This hands-off setup is perfect for those who don’t have the energy (or interest) to play the “hot or not” game and are looking for more of a true matchmaker service. Those who have grown accustomed to filling free time by swiping through an app in search of a date will inevitably feel the impatience kick in. Plus, the slower pace does seem to be more fitting for the person with a crazy work schedule.
But it’s not all waiting around. “Visitor notifications” show you who’s been creepin’ on your profile, and of course, it’s easier to make the first move when you already know someone’s interested.
The “Wild Card” feature is EliteSingles’ way of trying to get you to expand your comfort zone a bit (or a way to make up for the fact that their questionnaire probably isn’t rendering accurate portrayals of everyone, anyway). It’s basically a pool of candidates that fall slightly outside of your pre-chosen match filters, but still might be a good match for you in the eyes of EliteSingles. Adhering too strictly to an algorithm can put the blinders on (like when Bumble made it possible to filter by zodiac signs, but only your sun sign) and cause you to miss out on someone great just because they marked that they get overwhelmed more easily than you do. If you’re a compromiser or don’t feel a certain type of way about some of your responses (like whether your future house is in a suburb or rural area), this might be a good tab to check.
Filters like age and distance are less negotiable. But based on what we’ve gathered from reviews, it’s all too common for EliteSingles to plop people into your feed who don’t match your baseline criteria at all. A Wild Card section is kind of laughable, considering it sounds like EliteSingles won’t listen to your preferences, anyway.
The prices are like paying a salty cover charge for an empty club
No one expects a good dating site to be free. A service that could potentially speed up the miserable quest for a soulmate — using a unique algorithm that took years to create and perfect — should totally come at a price.
But there’s nothing modern or groundbreaking enough about EliteSingles to make paying around $240 a year worthwhile, and slapping “elite” in the title doesn’t automatically make it worth more than its competitors. The onslaught of bad reviews that come with a simple Google search don’t exactly help. There is a free version, but you’ll have to pay if you want to message anyone, view non-blurry member photos, or use read receipts.
Prices are as follows, with each month getting cheaper the longer your subscription is:
These prices are actually a drastic improvement from the $40 to $60 monthly membership fee that EliteSingles was charging a few years ago.
The only dating site with prices even close to this high is eharmony. When you’re responsible for 4% of marriages in the U.S., you can be expensive. Match’s user base dwarves that of EliteSingles and still isn’t this expensive. But EliteSingles says that it produces over 1,000 matches per month, which is vague but offers hope nevertheless.
Room for improvement: Down the elitism, up the authenticity
The footing of EliteSingles isn’t inherently bad. Wanting your life partner to be educated, share your career goals, and have the skills to provide for you or a family doesn’t make you a bad person. Money and work ethic are two huge real-world things that can drive a wedge between a couple.
The name “EliteSingles” is questionable on its own. There are a lot less-divisive ways to describe driven or career-oriented people than “elite.” EliteSingles could do itself a huge favor by rerouting its calling to people who work hard and are passionate about their jobs, or even people who want a partner in the same field as them. If you’re a teacher, it makes total sense to be interested in starting something with someone who also understands that teacher life.
EliteSingles could do itself a huge favor by rerouting its calling to people who work hard and are passionate about their jobs.
But since the elite experience is what users think they’re paying for, that’s exactly what the users should get: A pool of eligible singles who have been verified to have a similar level of responsibility at work and similar pay scale. That SSL encryption and fraud detection technology may work to weed out scammers, but it isn’t stopping people from being dishonest on their profiles. Who knows how many people are stretching their education or salary to seem more “elite?” Looking at reviews posted by users themselves, lying about the level of degree is way more common than Elite Singles probably likes to admit.
Let’s get this straight: EliteSingles charges this crazy premium fee to introduce people with similar educational and career backgrounds, judges profiles by whether the user marked having a degree, then does nothing to verify whether the person actually has this piece of paper or not. The whole concept seems problematic.
Reddit user 3SHEETS2IT puts the sentiment it into two sentences:
“If you’re Elite, go meet woman of your class at social gatherings suitable for your status.
Elite Singles screams that you THINK you’re important, but not only aren’t, but that you’re a sucker.”
While the depth of the personality analysis is appreciated, we’re not completely sold on the accuracy of the results. No one wants to say it, but people bend the truth when they need to look good — and a questionnaire that basically asks you to rate how good of a partner you are is bound to make people treat it like a damn resume. People are filling this out knowing their answers are meant to make them appear attractive, and everyone would rather say they’re perfect than admit why past relationships didn’t work and what they need to work on.
Bad for: People who need control and anyone under 30
What’s the point of filling out this massive questionnaire if your matches aren’t checking off a majority of those boxes?
There will always be those people who aren’t satisfied with a dating site’s suggestions — it’s easier for them to blame the algorithm than it is to admit that they might be the problem. But it’s worrisome that reviews from multiple EliteSingles users mention that their suggested matches didn’t match the age range, job type, or location that they selected when creating a profile. Finding the perfect person when you’re not trying to fly 300 miles to go on a date is apparently a tall order.
Sure, basing someone’s potential as a romantic partner on their salary can be shallow if you take it too far. But relating to their education history or career can dodge a lot of money-related bullets and guarantees that huge shared experience, and it’s the reason most of the users are paying for this “premium” site in the first place. The lax recommendations will be even worse for people who want to be proactive about their search, as there are no options to search profiles or set preferences.
App Store reviewer WolfCatGamer wrote in Aug. 2020:
“Where to start? Bottom line: app consistently ignores your preferences. For example, you try and set the parameters you prefer, and the app informs you that if you choose too narrowly, you won’t get enough matches. And then it won’t allow you to save your preferences. I have set age preferences, ethnicity preferences, location preferences, religion preferences, and I get one decent match in 30. The location preferences are particularly ridiculous. I live in a highly urban, populated area. However, I cannot narrow my radius to less than 50 miles away. Well, 50 miles away from where I live could put people about 2 to 3 hours away. I am getting men from neighboring states! That’s ridiculous! Other, more well-designed apps will show people that match my preferences within 5 to 10 miles away. So I know they are out there. But I guess I shouldn’t care, because the men I am being matched with don’t even remotely match my preferences.
And the question of whether or not people are highly educated is also in doubt. I have a PhD, and I am being matched with men who have completed trade school. That match is highly unlikely to work, for either of us! Perhaps that sounds snobby, but come on, let’s be realistic! This app and its associated service is a waste of money.”
If you think it’s weird that people refer to themselves as “elite” in the first place, you’ll hate this site.
Good for: Mature, established singles who don’t have a type
If you’ve had your fair share of immature, half-assed relationships, you understand how draining it is to find someone who understands your goals — or how hard it is to babysit a partner whose work ethic isn’t up to par. Despite the large window for exaggeration, EliteSingles could give hope to a lot of people who are tired of the broad dating pools on other sites.
Reddit user Mekroval wrote in 2019:
“If you’re looking for slightly older but more educated women, I’ve found that EliteSingles has been a pretty good investment. It’s pricier than the other sites, but seems to attract a higher degree (no pun intended) of women with advanced degrees or who are successful in their fields of interest. You’ll also have the benefit of finding a slightly older pool of women, who are closer to your age, compared to sites like Match.com or CMB which tend to skew quite a bit younger.”
The fact that EliteSingles has a reputation for showing you profiles outside of your responses doesn’t have to be all bad. Narrowing your playing field to a specific type never works out, anyway — as long as someone has the work ethic that you asked for, then why not let the algorithm set you up on a virtual blind date? Working professionals don’t want to spend their lunch break scrolling through virtually-unlimited nearby singles, anyway.
Worried about catching feelings for someone who just wants to be friends with benefits? EliteSingles’ prices may be bogus, but they’re high enough to weed out most people who aren’t taking online dating seriously. No one looking for a casual hook up is going to want to shell out this much money per month when they could get on Tinder for free.
The possibility of getting mixed up with a catfish causes a lot of hesitation from people new to online dating. (Throwback to the scammer on Match we mentioned a few paragraphs ago.) Most of the upstanding sites are still littered with fake accounts, and no one with a busy career wants to spend time sifting through that BS. EliteSingles claims to manually verify their profiles to avoid fake accounts using SSL encryption and fraud detection technology. User reviews also have next-to-no mention of fake or dead accounts.
If you’ve put your romantic endeavors on hold to focus on your career and, now that you’ve completed school and are comfortably employed, are looking for a life partner who’s at the same place in their life, EliteSingles could find you someone who gets you. The way it homes in on successful professionals who haven’t had success in the romance department is unique and will resonate with mature people who need a partner who understands the value of hard work and being smart with your money.
But, while we appreciate the idea of EliteSingles, the execution is iffy.
The word “elite” opens a can of worms. Just because someone didn’t pick a four-year university doesn’t mean they’re not intellectual or successful, and everyone who has a degree isn’t automatically a catch. EliteSingles has gotten better over the past few years, but the way it talks about its user base can still feel archaic. The verbiage could even dismiss genuinely great users who have a lot to offer because they don’t feel “elite” enough.
The site was easy enough to navigate and the newly-overhauled personality assessment is personable, realistic, and even a little bit fun. Though the site isn’t targeting young people who are still in college or who are enjoying that post-college, untethered 20-something life, it’s nice to see that EliteSingles puts effort into staying in-line with what a new generation of daters find reliable.
Is the humdrum sign-up process worth the inconsistent results it renders? Meh.
But the modernized compatibility test does nothing to make itself stand out, and for a site that puts so much emphasis on degrees and job titles, you’d think it would have a better way of verifying that people are who they say they are. The lack of consistency in terms of matches syncing up with your expressed preferences is a turn off. We can’t imagine that a busy, working person would want to use their free time fine-tuning matches that should already be fine-tuned.
The fact that EliteSingles is as expensive as eharmony is borderline ridiculous. Targeting people with college degrees and presumably good-paying jobs isn’t automatically grounds for paying $20 to $40 per month — especially when people aren’t sure what they’re getting into, unlike the successful reputations surrounding competing sites.
But hey: EliteSingles boasts over 13 million members worldwide, claiming that an average 2,000 couples pair off every month. Neither of those are small numbers, so if you’re willing to put in the time to fill out a profile and risk weeding through some less-than-ideal matches or an annoying customer service experience, who knows, you may land on a gem.
Not sure how EliteSingles compares to other big names in the game? Check out our deep dives into EliteSingles vs. eharmony and EliteSingles vs. Match to see which dating site will make the most out of your money.