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Innovation & Startups

The College People's digital ticket to the top universities in the country

In the highly competitive world of college admissions, the right application can make all the difference. 
The College People, a CMU Project Olympus Probe, is banking on it with an online strategy it believes gives students a competitive edge. By tapping the insights of former college admissions professionals and successful college students, TCP is helping students apply to some of the most selective schools in the country. 
After all, who better understands the student that each school is looking for than those who have firsthand knowledge of the process? says Neil  Soni, company co-founder.
TCP began as a pilot project of 10 schools in 2010. Initially the startup focused on the advice of successful college students through peer-to-peer counseling, but it quickly became apparent  that applicants and their parents preferred working with college professionals, says Soni.  
"Adding the admissions counselor gave a big boost to our business," he says. "Parents felt they could trust the former admissions officers."
TCP has found that, because the admissions industry has such a high turnover, many former admissions officers are interested in the work, says Neil Soni, who started the company with fellow CMU student Jonathan Bender. The two are juniors. 
The web platform, which went live earlier this year, allows college applicants to share documents, IM, audio and video chat with others so applications can be fine-tuned to perfection. The cost of a consultation starts at $175 and goes up, depending on the three levels of service provided: Bronze, Silver and Gold. 
In addition, students learn about colleges directly from the source before spending money on a visit. Additional services are planned for the future, Soni says.
Writer: Deb Smit
Source: Neil Soni, The College People
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