SchooLinks Serves as Matchmaker for Students and Colleges

Katie Fang, founder of SchooLinks. Courtesy photo.

Katie Fang, founder of SchooLinks. Courtesy photo.

Deciding on a college can be one of the most perplexing decisions a high school student and their family face.

Some students don’t know about all the opportunities available to them, said Katie Fang, founder of SchooLinks.

“It’s very hard for a student to navigate the admissions process,” Fang said.

To help match students with higher education institutions and scholarship opportunities, Fang created SchooLinks.

The idea sprang from consulting Fang did for schools helping them to recruit students. Fang is from China, moved to Canada and graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Fang realized that if one school wanted her help that others may also. So she created a platform to connect students with schools and educational consultants. She launched the site, SchooLinks.com, a little over a year ago in Los Angeles.

The site is free for students. They log on to the website and create a profile and from SchooLinks they can apply to different schools and multiple scholarships. They can also elect to receive help from consultants to pick the right school. The site also offers tips on essay writing and submitting a successful college application.

“We give them recommendations according to their unique circumstances,” Fang said. “We help you achieve your maximum potential. We increase your chances of getting scholarships.”

SchooLinks is working with more than 2,000 schools all over the world, Fang said. The international search feature can open up a student’s search to schools abroad they might not have considered, Fang said.

“It’s a cost effective way for schools to market themselves to students,” Fang said.

SchooLinks makes money through an online software as a service model. Schools subscribe to the site to recruit students. With the platform, schools can view profiles of students. SchooLinks also provides data and analytics to the schools on who is viewing their school and where they are coming from.

SchooLinks moved to Austin a few months ago and joined the incubator at Capital Factory. It’s currently bootstrapped but it is raising a seed round of funding, Fang said.

There’s a ton of edtech going on in Austin and that makes SchooLinks a good fit for the city, said Joshua Baer, cofounder of Capital Factory. One of the top startup technology industries in Austin is the educational technology space with startups like Civitas Learning, Aceable, Blackboard and Sapling Learning.

With young startups, they don’t have a lot of data yet, so Capital Factory evaluates the team and Fang is very entrepreneurial at a young age and impressive, Baer said.

“Katie really knows this space she is working in,” Baer said. “She’s the kind of person you meet and you know they are going to be really successful. “

And Fang likes Austin. It’s affordable and she’s surrounded by other like-minded entrepreneurs, she said.

“Austin is an up and coming technology region,” Fang said. “And the burn rate is way too high in Los Angeles.”

All seven members of the SchooLinks staff moved to Austin from California. They are all sharing a house together.

“It’s a very young and vibrant city,” Fang said.

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