When she was 12, Katie Fang left China to study in the United States. From there, she went to Australia, to continue her English studies, and she has since lived and studied in the United Kingdom and Canada. Along the way, she learned a thing or two about applying for colleges and private schools, and now, she’s running a company called SchooLinks, a site designed to help students navigate the rather confusing world of college admissions and scholarship applications, hoping to make life easier for the rest of world’s students.
The service invites students to fill out a profile outlining their academic history and goals, and using this data, it recommends schools that they might be interested in and scholarships they might be qualified for. Students can then add schools to a “wish list,” which feeds application deadlines to their online calendar. Student profiles aren’t open to the public, but they’re visible to college recruiters, who can pay to search for students based on their academic background.
For years, parents and students who want more support in making educational decisions than an overworked high school guidance counselor can provide have turned to educational consultants and admission coaches. For a fee, these consultants advise students on everything from what high school classes to take and which extracurricular activities to participate in to be competitive when applying for colleges, which schools to apply to and how to write their application essays. These consultants can be expensive—some charge tens of thousands of dollars. Fang wants to turn these businesses on its head, providing access to high-quality information about education options without the exorbitant fees.