With prep courses, summer camps and private tutors preparing high schoolers for standardized tests is a multimillion dollar industry that can set parents back thousands.
A new free program is setting out to help those students who don’t have access to the resources that are readily available to their wealthier peers. The team behind Prepify says the program is unique in that the company is not only planning to guide their students through the the SAT, they are also planning to help connect each student with colleges across the country that would be a good fit for them.
This summer, Prepify enlisted 400 students to test their software to look for bugs and to give feedback on how everything is working. The company hopes to have 10,000 students enrolled in the program by the end of the school year.
“It’s really hard for students to filter through the noise when deciding which colleges to apply for,” says Eric Burleson, the CEO of Prepify. He notes that most high school seniors usually find out about schools by word of mouth and direct mail, leading many to miss applying to institutions that may have been perfect for them. “We have a student culture map algorithm that helps students find the university just for them.”
The matching software asks each student a series of personality questions about whether students prefer things like competitive or team oriented environments, or if they would like a heavily academic experience or would prefer a balance between extracurriculars and their studies. Once a profile is complete, Burleson says they’ll have an accurate indicator of each individual students values, personality and academic interests, along with a list of schools that would correspond with all of the above.
“We can then turn to the student and say, ‘You are going to fit in here. The chances that you aren’t going to fit in are slim,’’ continues Burleson. “This may be- in addition to the test prep - the most important thing that we are doing. Being able to say to a student ‘You belong here.’ That’s a really powerful thing.”
Interested in signing up? Email email@example.com with the name of your high school or nonprofit after school program to get a unique identification number in order to join the program.
Follow Lakshmi Gandhi on Twitter @LakshmiGandhi.