Every year in the U.S., almost 2 million students apply to college. The application process itself is a complicated dance of school selection strategy (What is a safety school that I know I’ll get into and what is a stretch? How many of each should I apply to?); deadline management (Is early action or early decision better these days?); transcripts, recommendations, test scores, extracurriculars, essays, etc. Financial aid itself is its own daunting category.
Students are supposedly shepherded through this all-important process by school guidance counselors. Yet the average high school guidance counselor has a caseload of 476 students, leaving less than a half hour to “guide” each student.
Wealthier families, wanting their children to have the information they need, often hire private consultants costing $1,000 or more. This creates even more of a gap between low-income students and their more wealthy peers.
Having come from the admissions business, AdmitHub’s co-founders are familiar with the faults of the industry. Co-Founder Kirk Daulerio was a former admissions offer at Princeton, Penn and Bowdoin College and most recently worked at the The Common Application. Co-Founder Andrew Magliozzi previously ran a tutoring and test prep startup.
Seeing that the majority of the students were underserved by the existing guidance system, they set about connecting students with more affordable application review services through AdmitHub.com. For $50 students can have an application assistant help them stay on top of the various components of deadlines in the process.
For $399, students can purchase a comprehensive application review, as well as guidance on their school selection. Though still pricy, this is significantly more accessible than current consulting services. What’s more is that advising takes place remotely, meaning that if you live in a rural or low-income area where no such counselors exist, you could still have access to the same expertise as the students in Westchester County in New York or Atherton in California.
AdmitHub’s ultimate goal however is much larger than online admissions counseling. The team aims to offer college admission services for free to every student with a demonstrated need. Hence, today’s launch of AboutAdmission.
Questions on the platform are answered by current and former deans, directors, and officers at colleges including Harvard, Brown, Princeton, Stanford, Bowdoin, Bates, Syracuse, Providence, Wellesley, Vassar, and others. Though the platform is in its infancy with a limited number of questions, the answers are thorough and useful.
I went ahead and posted a question on a Thursday evening. The answer came over the weekend and was reasonably helpful. The expert, a former admissions officer, also provided a link to a more in-depth answer on the MIT admissions blog. (Yes, I used a fake name to hopefully combat the TechCrunch bias.)
Now, there are many, many other sites claiming to be the hub for college admissions. A little research will show you these are mostly unregulated peer-to-peer sites that play host to a wide range of the quality of advice. Magliozzi explains that many admissions officers find themselves spending significant time on these sites correcting misinformation and putting out fires. Admissions officers are in fact willing to pay to be contributors to AboutAdmissions to increase visibility of their schools.
In keeping with their mission the founders produce a weekly podcast “About Admissions” with lots of tips for applications. The early action deadline is coming up so go get a listening.
For those applying to college this fall, use the code “TechCrunch” to get $100 off AdmitHub services.
If your undergrad days are over, don’t fret. AdmitHub aims to launch platforms focused on law, business, medical and professional school programs in the coming year.