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Online dating study says you're aiming out of your league

Keep trying, though.

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Researchers think you're trying to date people out of your league.

James Martin/CNET

In the realm of online dating, folks are aiming high when it comes to potential partners. 

A study from Science Advance found that both men and women go after people 25 percent more desirable than they are. The study was published on Wednesday.

What constitutes desirability? Glad you asked. It's a mix of elements including how many messages users receive. It also include other characteristics researchers identified. For example, the researchers found that women with undergraduate degrees were more desirable than those with graduate degrees.

The context for the researchers' findings: the heterosexual dating pools in Boston, Seattle, New York City and Chicago. They used data from "a popular, free online dating service."

One important takeaway if you're trying to date someone who is, perhaps, out of your league: keep your messages brief. The researchers found that men and women punching above their weight tend to write longer messages as the desirability of the other person rises. The strategy isn't necessarily effective. 

The researchers also recommend that you don't give up hope.

"The chances of receiving a reply from a highly desirable partner may be low, but they remain well above zero, although one will have to work harder, and perhaps also wait longer, to make progress," the study said.