Over time, I’ve come to appreciate that what most young people need today is not “dating,” but social situations that are sub-dating. Basically, group get-togethers of some sort. For one thing, it is very easy to invite someone to a group get-together. It is pretty hard, for most men, to try to wrangle a date out of someone you meet on the street, or is the barest acquaintance. But, it is easy to invite them to a party where there might be 30 people.
Here is my advice for young single people, in college or afterwards.
Plan on regular get-togethers of some sort, typically of about 6-10 people. If you are a guy, aim for a little skew towards women — for example, with 9 people, 5 women and 4 men. When I was in college, we had weekly dinners. There would be a constant rotation of regulars and new friends. I think it was on a Wednesday, which didn’t conflict with weekend plans. This costs time and money. I would make invites free for first-timers, but expect regulars to contribute $20 or so. Probably, over time, you can allow some of the regulars to take over a night or two. We had a lot of fun with this.
I do not like potlucks much, although it can be a way to arrange a big event (20+ people) pretty easily. Make sure that there are tables and chairs for everyone, and proper dishware and glasses. No eating on the sofa. No paper and plastic. Used dishware is super cheap these days, and it would be easy to acquire dishware for 50 if you want to do that kind of event.
You could also have cocktail parties from time to time. I would aim for about two a month, with about thirty guests (depending on the size of your abode). Same mix of regulars and first-timers. I would insist on formal dress (women in dresses and heels; men with jackets; no t-shirts, jeans or sneakers), and have a proper bar with proper mixed drinks, in proper glasses. No red plastic cups. Trade around the bartending duties in 30 minute shifts. Make a menu of cocktails for that evening (and recipes for the bartenders). Again, I would ask for regulars to donate about $20, and free for first-timers.
Even if you are butt-ugly, you can probably get people to come to your party. Here’s a good example.
You can expand this to other sorts of events, such as a BBQ picnic, day at the beach, afternoon of sledding, etc.
I would make an effort to talk with everyone that comes — at least, everyone you would like to get to know.
Over time, you could expand further to weekend trips — a camping or backpacking trip, a canoe trip, a ski trip, a road trip, a museum trip, etc.
Don’t expect people to reciprocate. They will not set up their own dinners and invite you. But, they would probably contribute money, and help out in various ways, if you ask them.
Of course, everyone who comes should give you their contact info so they can be invited to future events. Or, get it if they say they are interested in coming. This is so easy.