Choosing the right course and college for the desired career is one elusive answer students are looking for since ages. With so many colleges and courses around the globe, it is humanly difficult to find the right answer for a student's profile and preferences. With ever-growing options and requirements, the need for technology to solve this extremely critical decision is more than ever."Agents, stressful counseling visits, piles of paperwork and general cluelessness" - defined the journey of a student who was applying for higher education (abroad) till very recently. Worse still, the search for a perfect program remained limited to the agent's knowledge.
The study abroad industry has been long dominated by offline pathways. Students used to visit different counseling centers for information. The agents used to share information brochures with the students which were the prime source of information at that time. The drawback of the system was the limited amount of information, as no single person could memorize the wide range of opportunities. Also, the agents were biased towards the universities they had a "tie-up" with and the student missed out on more suitable options.
With the advancement of technology, it is possible to have a smart matchmaking system (between student and university) based on a machine learning algorithm which uses historical admissions data
Internet & digitization changing the Face of Industry
The average online higher education journey looks very different from the conventional offline voyage. Today, students are spoilt for choice with the vast array of options available, thanks to the internet. According to Business World, 38 percent of students have reported that their counsellor already uses technology to guide them. 70 percent of students claimed to have searched for their colleges online before taking the final decision. The number is also supported by a 20-30 percent increase in marketing spend of universities on digital media. This comes as no surprise since the IT revolution makes offline University searches almost entirely obsolete.
Removing Information Asymmetry
What happens when you apply digital data and analytics to global education? You get the best curation of courses and you don't need to depend on 1 person's knowledge! The integration of large volume of data together is done to build an end-to-end platform where students can get unbiased information on choosing the best universities and courses based on the data and figures.
Machine Learning based Recommendation of Colleges
With the advancement of technology, it is possible to have a smart matchmaking system (between student and university) based on a machine learning algorithm which uses historical admissions data. It gathers information through previous applications and predicts the results for future applications. So, if a student with the same profile as yours had applied to Harvard and got admit there, the system will predict that you too have chances of securing an admission at Harvard. With prediction accuracy above 90 percent, a student can enhance the chance of getting admission along with saving money and effort on random applications.
Single Application Process to Apply to any University Globally
Conventionally, the student had to obtain hard copies of the application forms and send them to the universities. Now, this process has become a cakewalk as different application forms are integrated into one single form. This means to apply to many different universities, all the student has to do is to fill one single application form. Thus, a student can apply to many universities at once, saving time and effort. Many counsellors are also using such services as this reduces errors in form filling which according to a survey accounted for 10-12 percent of the rejections received.
Handling Student Queries 24/7 - An AI-based ChatBot
In the USA, the Student to Counsellor Ratio was 491:1 whereas the recommended ratio is 250:1. In India, we are yet to provide sufficient teachers per student and this is a metric which is not even reported. Hence an intelligent Bot which is able to answer a large part of student queries is the need of the hour. With the use of AI, a Bot can answer the queries of a large number of students with little work. It also has the ability to learn from historical data and therefore can give answers in the future. Also, it is always available regardless of time which makes it easy to cater to the needs of the students. A country which will boast of having the largest youth population, AI-tech will guide its power in the right direction.
Peer to Peer Mentoring Network
Every student needs a trusted advisor, especially for big decisions like selection of a university, which has an impact on their entire careers. There are no better experts than those who have gone through the whole process themselves. Current students, who are studying in universities, can provide detailed information and share real-life experiences and guide the current aspirants. With the evolution of Skype and Whatsapp and internet data becoming cheaper, aspirants can connect with the current students who can mentor them throughout the process. Higher education forms the backbone of any career and growing technology is opening new doors of possibilities, making it easy for students to obtain the right information and guidance.
A serial entrepreneur, Rachit Agrawal is currently working on his new venture AdmitKard (www.admitkard.com), simplifying the way of applying to universities for higher education. His previous venture Lifepad (seed funded) - into residential rental solutions got acquired by Fella Homes. Before turning entrepreneur, Rachit was working as Consultant with The Boston Consulting Group based out of New Delhi office.