College Admissions Demystified – Stephanie Shyu of AdmitSee

The competition for acceptance into major universities and colleges increases every year as more and more applicants vie for a limited number of slots. Gaining an edge in the application process has never been more important, but prospective students are bumping up against the same frustration that’s been around for decades: the admissions decision process is a black box.

In the past, applicants have been forced to guess what the admissions officers were looking for based on hearsay and the limited information provided by the school. But Stephanie Shyu, co-founder of AdmitSee, has changed the game. is giving college applicants what they’ve been waiting for: a peek at the applications and essays that got other students into the college of their dreams.

It’s a huge advantage for applicants, and Stephanie says she’s been accused of helping people “game the system.” Specifically, the concern is that AdmitSee might be coaching applicants to create formulaic essays that increase their chances of getting admitted. But Stephanie points out that the essays that successful applicants have been sharing on AdmitSee are all over the board in terms of content, structure, and raw creativity. Opposite of promoting a formula, Stephanie asserts that encourages prospective students to take bigger risks with their admissions essays. “We actually see the way for students to really let schools know what they’re about is to take that risk and talk about things they’re really passionate about, talk about things that are personal, so that the admissions officers can really get a sense of who this applicant is,” she explains.

She tells us her team is currently working on building out the B2B platform that will expand AdmitSee to serve high schools. Their target is to get prospective college applicants into the system earlier. This will give them years, instead of months, to prepare for their college application. This expansion of the platform, plus the marketing required to get the word out, amounts to a sizable scaling-up of the business. But Stephanie is confident they’re up to the task. “It’s been going well so far, we’re growing really really well organically,” she says.

Why this business? Like many true entrepreneurs, Stephanie is simply responding to a pain point she herself has experienced. “My co-founder and I just graduated from law school,” she tells us. “[The admissions process] was a process we recently went through ourselves.” She describes the process as “convoluted.” “And there aren’t many resources out there,” she adds. “A lot of it is either strictly quantitative, or it’s outdated info.” AdmitSee is “something we wish we had when we were applying to schools. A lot of people have said that to us as well. That’s really what inspires us to keep going.”

Stephanie’s company, and Stephanie herself, represent the best of the startup spirit. Check out her interview!

AdmitSee can be found on Facebook here, and on Twitter @AdmitSee.

Underwriter: Crowdfund.Life
Interviewer: Thubten Comerford
Article: Eric Inman
Producer: Daniel Lucy
Video Editor: Jacob Curtis

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