Facebook application predicts college acceptances

Published: March 24, 2011, 12:23 am ET
Collegian Reporter

Startup Splash Networks, a Washington, D.C.-based web development company, launched a Facebook application Feb. 8 that predicts the likelihood of getting into colleges for prospective students.

The application, AdmissionSplash, allows students to pick colleges and fill out a questionnaire about their test scores, extracurricular activities, GPA and other related material. The application then calculates the students’ chances of getting into each school — fair, good or great.

According to the Facebook page, the application has accurately predicted 90.6 percent of admitted students at New York University and 97.3 percent of students at University of California, Los Angeles.

Startup Splash Networks launched its first website, CampusSplash, Jan. 18. CampusSplas is a network of websites and articles for high school and college students which offer resources such as the AdmissionSplash application.

Co-founder of the three-man company Allen Gannett, 20, who currently takes classes at The George Washington University, said he was largely invested in growing and expanding on the company he helped build.

Gannett said his interest in web design and development began at age 11 when he created an online newspaper for his elementary school, but he said the company founders had started Startup Splash Networks based on an identified need.

“We wanted to create social applications for all the pinpoints in the college lifestyle,” Gannett said.

Between the ages 16 and 24 there is a lot going on in a student’s life, he said, such as choosing the right college, dorm, internship or job. All of these choices can be extremely stressful, he said.

“We have all been recently through it or are going through it,” he said, “so our idea was to leverage technology and social media to help solve those problems.”

Gannett said CampusSplash offered resources that targeted specific concerns of a prospective college student. And one of the most important aspects of a school’s admissions resources, he said, is its admissions blogs.

“I think they are a really good way for students to demystify the process,” he said. “College admissions seems like a big, scary thing, and admissions blogs are a good way to get around that.”

CampusSplash ranks Richmond in the top 25 admissions blogs based on three main factors, Gannett said. Richmond’s blog is personal, it provides an inside view into the admissions process and it is updated very regularly, he said.

But the CampusSplash network and the AdmissionSplash application are just parts of the bigger picture, he said.

“I would typically tell prospective students to buy college guidebooks, go on a college tours, use CampusSplash and AdmissionSplash, talk to a school guidance counselors and soak up as much information as possible because choosing a college is very difficult,” Gannett said. “There are a lot of moving parts.”

Elle Gahagan, 17, who toured Richmond’s campus last week, said she had never heard of the AdmissionSplash application or the CampusSplash network.

Gahagan, who attends the Berkshire School, a co-ed boarding school in Sheffield, Mass., said the her school offered students a similar online database that calculated a student’s probability of getting accepted to a college based on GPA and extracurricular activities.

But she said she would be interested in using AdmissionSplash and the CampusSplash network to do additional research throughout the rest of her college search.

Allison Carr, 16, a junior at Midlothian High School, said her school offered students an archive of alumni information including where they went to college, their GPAs and class ranks.

She said she and her peers often used this resource to try to gauge the chances they would have of getting into a particular college.

“But I’ve never heard of something so easy as a Facebook app that can do this for you,” she said. “I know a lot of people who will use it. Getting into college is the main focus and stress source for high school students their junior and senior years.”

Carr, an honors student on the AP track, said the University of Virginia was currently her top college choice, but she wasn’t sure what her probability of being accepted would be.

Carr said she used the AdmissionSplash application to test her chances of getting into the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, the University of Richmond and Elon University.

“I was surprised to see my chances were only fair for getting into UVA but good for getting into UNC,” she said. “I would think my chances for getting into an in-state school would be easier than one out of state.”

Although she said she wasn’t sure how much she would trust AdmissionSplash’s predictions, Carr said she would continue to use the application and other facets of the CampusSplash network during her college search.

AdmissionSplash could definitely calm fears or serve as a reality check for many high school students, she said.

Gannett said the company had received mostly positive feedback from prospective students and college admissions offices since its inception. He also said Startup Splash Networks planned to grow in numbers and services in the coming year.

On March 1, he said, the company hoped to unveil a GradSplash Facebook application that would predict a college student’s likelihood of getting into a particular graduate school.

“These programs are really simple — they take two seconds,” Gannett said. “It’s been really fun to have people get some value out of the applications we are creating.”

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