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Austin, Texas, June 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — College Contact, an innovative college prep platform, is proud to announce the launch of its new platform, built by students to improve post-graduation outcomes. Founded by Sophie Smith at the age of 19 in her University of Virginia (UVA) Dorm Room, College Contact (based in Austin, Texas) has grown from a dorm-room idea into a groundbreaking student advising movement that engages thousands of students and their families each year.

From student dormitory to dynamic startup

Sophie’s journey began when her TikTok video about college admissions went viral, garnering over 3,000 responses from students looking for affordable and effective support during the COVID pandemic. When Sophie noticed the significant gap in college advising—parents were either paying hundreds per hour for private counselors or relying on short annual meetings with overbooked school counselors—she knew there had to be a better solution. Motivated by this overwhelming demand and inspired to help the 75% of college applicants who applied alone each year, Sophie founded College Contact using the “near-peer model” of matching high school students with certified undergraduate students who take on the counselor role after a rigorous onboarding process.

At the age of 23, Sophie and her co-founder Leah Guesman behaved 1.025 million US dollars in pre-funding after helping 2,500 students gain admission to their top universities using the “Near-Peer” system. After graduating from UVA in June 2023The two joined the renowned Techstars Austin Accelerator and moved their company headquarters to Texas.

Innovative near-peer model is well received by parents

“College Contact has removed 80% of the stress in our household,” noted one parent. “It was one of the best things we offered our son in this process.” Sophie noted, “College Contact, which builds on our near peer matching system, has been a huge benefit to our families. Not only do their students receive affordable and effective advice on their post-secondary options, but they also get to work with a senior peer who is approachable and can show them the way forward.”

College Contact’s unique near-peer model sets it apart from traditional advising programs. By pairing high school students with mentors who are currently in undergraduate studies, the platform provides relatable and relevant advice. This approach bridges the gap between students and mentors and creates a supportive community where experiences and advice are fresh and impactful. As one student shared, “It’s helpful to get college essay advice from a teacher or advisor, but it was life-changing to get advice from my mentor, who goes to the university I’m interested in, and who was able to help me understand what’s happening on campus so I could tailor my essay responses accordingly.”

Launch of new College Contact platform brings exciting new features for families and school districts

The newly launched College Contact platform includes several exciting features to enhance student life:

  • Personalized mentor matching: Advanced algorithms match students with mentors based on their preferences and goals.
  • Comprehensive resource library: Access to a wealth of information, from application tips to financial aid advice to virtual campus tours.
  • Interactive workshops: Live sessions on a variety of topics including essay writing and interview preparation.
  • Progress tracking: Tools to monitor student progress, deadlines and milestones.
  • Study advisor for AI: Database of verified university/college information and admission tips, accessible to students 24/7.
  • Review of registration documents: Fast and asynchronous feedback from our students within 24 or 72 hours on admission essays, resumes, and other documents.
  • Financial planning resources: Financial aid and student loan repayment calculators and scholarship matching tools help parents make smart financial decisions when planning for college.

Impact on college and career readiness in Texas

Texas School districts are increasingly focusing on college, career, and military readiness (CCMR) awards, which can provide significant financial incentives under House Bill 3 (2019). Texas focuses on improving access to universities, community colleges, and CTE programs, but often scalable resources for students are limited. School districts across the country are experiencing a “counseling gap” as school counselors manage caseloads of 400 students per counselor. Software solutions have emerged to fill this gap, but the human element of 1:1 counseling remains a missing piece of the puzzle for many schools. College Contact’s program is designed to help districts and school counselors provide more personalized support to their high school students while helping those districts earn Texas CCMR bonuses. Through personalized mentoring sessions, the platform has been proven to increase college admission rates and placement at first-choice universities, which directly contributes to higher CCMR bonus retention. 86% of College Contact students have earned admission to their favorite university.

Strong partnerships and interest drive the young founders forward

The impact of College Contact is already noticeable everywhere TexasThe company is an excellent supplier to the Austin Independent School District (AISD), has initiated a program with Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS), Central Texasand is actively involved in the Travis Unified School District. “We are excited to introduce our new platform and expand our reach in Texas,” said Sophie SmithCEO of College Contact. “The interest we have received from school districts and organizations across the state is incredibly encouraging.”

In addition to collaborating with organizations and schools, the platform is directly available to students and families who wish to register. Leah GuesmanCOO and co-founder, noted: “We are equally excited to continue to serve families here in Texas and nationwide with our new platform. We encourage families to enroll early so their students have the best chance to achieve their college and career goals.”

About the College Contact

College Contact is a Texas-based, women-founded college and career readiness platform that connects high school students with mentors in their local area. With a historic 100% college admission rate and 86% placement rate at top-choice universities, College Contact has helped over 2,500 students nationwide. The platform’s innovative model, combined with comprehensive resources and personalized support, empowers students to achieve their academic and career goals while helping school districts provide 1:1 post-secondary guidance.

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SOURCE College Contact

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