College Connect

A quick product development sprint at the start of quarantine to develop joincollegeconnect.com with JP Velasquez and Christian Yeghnazar.

Problem: Now that everything has gone online and the world is in a state of lockdown, highschool students looking to apply to college do not have an opportunity to accurately assess the college environment.

Solution: a platform that connects high schoolers with college mentors at universities they are interested in.

As we began building out the product, we wanted to have be able to have a fast product turn around. I’ve had a bit of experience working with no-code tools before, but this was one of the first times we built an entire product that shipped to users within a week.

We began with a simple website using carrd.co (above) that took literally minutes to write up. From there, we needed to develop a way to match high schoolers with college students. Here’s how we approached it

  1. Use a form (typeform) to collect responses from college students and high schoolers. We chose typeform because it would allow us to use the same form link (single CTA on the main website) but split up responses by college students and high schoolers
  2. Input all the form responses into airtable (basically google sheets on steroids)
  3. Use Zapier.com to match people every time a new response is recorded in airtable.

Personal thoughts: In the last few weeks, we’ve seen entrenched systems become upended and the world grind to a halt. A silver lining, however, is that organizations and industries are being forced to reckon with accelerated change and adapt for the future. Furthermore, we can question a lot of the assumptions and status quos in the process. In this case, we chose to tackle a problem that points to something bigger: currently college tours and the entire admissions process favor students who have access to resources and capital (even something as simple as a college tour may be out of reach for so many). Instead, we decided to create a platform that would give everyone the same chance at understanding the atmosphere of a college by having a coffee chat with a student in the college they’re interested in.

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