Across the state of Maine, 460 high school students are assigned to every one guidance counselor. To help students explore a wide range of schools and find the right college at the right price, PossibilityU.com has introduced a new digital college counseling program. The small Portland, Maine-based company’s big idea has generated attention from the White House at a technology and data conference. (press on EducationWeek, BostInno)
Using PossibilityU, high school students can discover colleges that are an ideal fit for them. The application’s search engine “behaves a lot like Pandora,” and sorts through information from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, as well as College Board to make recommendations for students using 78 different characteristics.
With the PossibilityU program, students enter schools of interest and the recommendation engine suggests more based on academic and social characteristics. Students’ personalized information (grades and test scores) further sorts and plots their chances of being accepted and getting financial aid from each school. The program works as an “app” on the existing data system, says chief executive officer Betsy Peters.
Once students decide which schools they would like to apply to, PossibilityU offers a college planner that outlines every step they then need to take by pulling information from the College Board database. As students complete tasks, they can check it off their list, all while receiving reminders via email or SMS at pre-determined intervals for what else they need to finish. Even better, PossibilityU offers quick video lessons and quizzes that help walk students through the application process.
Students can also get a better picture of the bottom-line costs of college now with net-price calculators on college websites, which were required beginning last year.
Guidance counselors and parents also receive access to the system, and can correspond with each other, as well as track students’ progress, see what schools they’re interested in and observe how well they’re doing on quizzes. Parents are even able to upload goals for their child, allowing guidance counselors to better understand how they can support both the student and his or her family.
Now the better matching between students and colleges could be more efficient and easier.
- 5 Things You Need to Know About College Admission (bigfuture.collegeboard.org)
- Report: High School Guidance Counselors Underutilized (usnews.com)