Innovative founder solving a high school guidance counselor conundrum.
INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero
Title: Co-founder and CEO
Reach: High school students.
Fame: Berkeley Engineering undergrad, SCU MBA, and certified in college counseling.
Quote: “I see huge potential in utilizing technology to improve access, quality, and experience in education.”
Looking Ahead: “Personalized and collaborative learning will be a big trend in the next few years. Also, the potential changes in school funding and immigration might spark more interests in virtual learning technology.”
There is beauty in simplicity. Angela Choi decided to start Edmission for a very simple reason: “Because I really enjoy helping students reach their goals,” she says. Before she came up with the idea, she had spent a few years tutoring students and helping them with college planning, while working a full-time job. After meeting with all these students, she realized that high school students, especially those in public schools, didn’t get much time with their high school counselors. “That reminded me of how little help I got from my high school counselor,” she explains. “Students needed more options to get college admission help, so I decided to create Edmission to fulfill the needs.
Risks often come with opportunities. It might be a good time to rethink our education system and see how we can better serve our next generation.
In the U.S., one school counselor serves an average of 491 students. In some states, the number can go as high as 900. As a result, each student receives as average of only 38 minutes of college advising per year. When students don’t get the help they need, they tried to explore other options such as private college counseling, which easily costs thousands of dollars. As you can tell, it’s not affordable for many families,” says Angela. Edmission was founded “to bridge that gap by providing high quality yet affordable option to students.” Here, Angela talks about what’s in a name,
What’s in the name? education + admission – is that the idea? or anything else?
Angela: That’s an excellent guess! Instead of education + admission, it’s actually “education with a mission”. We believe that every student deserves the help they need to pursue higher education and our mission is to create a better way to plan for college.
You have talked about “high quality personalized advice” in how to get into colleges for a student. What does high quality mean? How is it personalized?
Angela: In my opinion, high quality personalized advice means goals-based, data-driven advice that is tailored specifically to students’ situations and needs. Our web application was designed to provide personalized recommendations based on student’s profile data. We take into account their academic strengths, interests, extracurricular activities, college goals/fit, and more when generating the advice. We also want to create an experience that is personal, valuable, and convenient. That’s the idea behind EdviceNow, our on-demand advising service that allows students to access our college admission advisers via live chat or text messaging. Combining with admission data from more than 3,000 colleges, our technology has enabled us to offer advice that meets those criteria.
What are your thoughts on the state of education today?
Angela: I think the current state of education has a lot of unknowns and uncertainties. One of my biggest concerns is definitely the potential change of the federal funds to the public school system. Many public schools simply don’t have enough resources to focus on fixing classroom size, adopting new technology, and creating services for students with different socioeconomic backgrounds. However, risks often come with opportunities. It might be a good time to rethink our education system and see how we can better serve our next generation.
What are your thoughts on technology’s role in shaping education?
Angela: Being in the edtech field, I see huge potential in utilizing technology to improve access, quality, and experience in education. Even though we have seen increased adoption of education technology, the progress has been slow. I would really like to see schools and educators use technology to create a personalized and collaborative learning experience. At the same time, they should explore opportunities to apply technology to streamline existing processes and create more efficiency.
Literacy lover. Angela is passionate about business analysis, strategy, and optimization; she loves learning and reading. “We strongly believe that every student deserves the help they need to plan for higher education, without breaking the bank. Through our platform, students can build an admission profile, set educational goals, research colleges, and receive personalized recommendations on ways to improve their profile. We strive to be the best alternative to private college counseling that easily costs thousands of dollars.”
Any thoughts on future trends in edtech that you see having a big impact in the next few years? What makes you say those?
Angela: Students these days are very tech-savvy and they are eager to use technology to make their learning more effective, interactive, and fun. Therefore, I think personalized and collaborative learning will be a big trend in the next few years. Also, the potential changes in school funding and immigration might spark more interests in virtual learning technology.
Anything else concerning education, technology, personalization, costs of education, quality experiences, or anything else you care to add or emphasize?
Angela: I think there will be more and more innovative things happening in the edtech industry. As more products come out, it could be very overwhelming for users. Therefore, it’s important to educate students, parents, and educators on how to choose the right products. Having the ability to track effectiveness or outcomes should also be a key focus for edtech companies.
Victor Rivero is the Editor-in-Chief of EdTech Digest. Write to: [email protected]