There are various factors a student keeps in mind while choosing a school or a college, and it is not an easy task.
But with students having access to technology it has become a less daunting task and especially when they have tools like SchooLinks. We came across SchooLinks when they launched the Virtual Reality Tours of Campus Colleges, which clearly distinguishes it from many others in the game. Recently we got a chance to talk to the Founder, Katie Fang who shared with us how SchooLinks can change the way students get into college.
Read what she has to say about the potential of SchooLinks and how did this start.
1. What would be an elevator pitch for someone who does not know about SchooLinks?
- SchooLinks is creating an educational social network to help connect students with the schools they want to attend, similar to how LinkedIn has done for professionals and the places they want to work. We are trying to change how students get into college, and help them become more than just numbers., by bringing them together.
2. What is company's core value proposition? What problem are you solving and for whom?
- We are helping students find and get into their dream school by connecting them with the people from those schools and humanizing their admission profiles.
- Today students go into applying for schools without knowing which schools are the best ones for them. When they apply they have no way of really meeting people from those schools and letting them get to know them better. We are trying to change that by connecting students to people from their dream school and make them more than just a number to help them improve their chances.
3. What is your plan to check on the user satisfaction?
- In the end the most important thing to us is that our users are happy, because if we are not building something based on what they want, then they have no reason to stay. We are constantly testing how they use the site to see what they like most and use most, and we are also conducting surveys to improve the user experience and reach product-market fit.
4. What is the driving passion, why are you passionate about this product? What is your vision?
- Our passion is to change the way that the process of finding and getting to colleges happen. The biggest things students want is not to know which school they can get into, but how to get into them. So we want to connect students with other students as so the can see how others have gotten into their dream schools (similar to how people look at linkedin profiles to see how professionals have gotten their dream jobs. Once they have that figured out we want to then connect them with the people from their dream schools so that they can network and not just rely on numbers.
5. What is the stage of the product? Where do you see your company in 12 or 18 months from now?
- Public Beta with Users
- We hope to be launched and have users in different continents across the world.
6. What is the biggest need for SchooLinks?
- The biggest current need for SchooLinks is growing our international base.
7. What are your views about the growth of E-Learning/Education Technology industry?
- It's awesome because technology has given us the opportunity to solve many problems and improve the way we do things in life, and now that it is catching up with education, we are able to apply it to a historically stagnant domain and bring innovation to counter many of the problems plaguing the world of innovation.
8. Tell us about your team, who do you have supporting you? How did SchooLinks start?
- We are a small team of less than 10 people. We started about a year ago in Los Angeles and have been growing since then. We just moved to Austin Texas for a year and we are being accelerated by a great company Capital Factories. We also have lots of awesome mentors in the education sector.
9. What/Who motivates you? Any thought leader or companies with innovation which you follow for success? Whether in the E-Learning/EdTech space or in general?
- Paul Graham is a thought leader that has provided great advice on how to build your startup based on what people want, and that has constantly oriented our motivations and actions to build a product that many people want.
10. Who would you call your competitors? How are you different from other school search offerings?
- Today there are many other sites that provide students with a way to find their ideal schools (College prowler, College confidential, Chegg), the difference with SchooLinks is that we don’t want to just help students find their dreams schools, but we want to help them get in by connecting them with the schools and giving them a way to show more than just their stats.
11. What are the biggest challenges of your edtech startup?
- I think the biggest challenge for us is figuring out the best way to get users that are not in our domestic market. This means figuring out which channels work best to reach our target users who are spread out all over the world and all over the internet.
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