I was a freshman in college and applied to transfer to four schools. I had been accepted to one school, waitlisted by another, and denied by the other two. It was late May, and I was working on the last paper I had left to submit before finishing the semester. When I took a break and decided to check my email, I saw a message from the school I was waitlisted by. It said that I was accepted and had 72-hours to decide or the offer would be withdrawn.
The schools I was deciding between looked almost identical on paper. They were both small liberal arts schools renowned for their close professor and student relationships, tight-knit campus communities, and liberal arts educations that developed the whole student. They had similar acceptance rates, were ranked closely to each other by all of the major publications, and both schools boasted being a top producer of Fulbright Scholars. Despite this, I knew that there were a few key differences that would make the student experience at each place differ – one is located in Ohio while another is in Connecticut, one has Greek life while another does not, and one draws students from primarily the Northeast while the other had students from all over the U.S. – I just didn’t know how those differences would change the experience.
I looked through the college guidebooks and found one-page summaries of the schools and looked on the online forums and found students declaring that the school changed their life or complaining why it did not meet their expectations. I finally got in touch with an acquaintance at one of the schools. He said what most college students would say without being prompted with the right questions. He told me he liked it and that I would probably like it, so I went.
Choosing where you go to college based on somebody else’s opinion of their experience there isn’t the best reason. However, surveys show that many high schoolers view their peers as the second most important source for information about a school, second only to the college’s website. College students are an incredible resource for information about student life, but how many high schoolers have the luxury of knowing somebody at a school they are applying to? And, with students on average applying to a higher number of schools due to increased levels of competition, how many know somebody at ALL of the schools they are applying to?
After this experience, I was given the inspiration to build an online college guide that would be student life focused and offer all of the information that I sought after during my college search. I started Induck College Impressions. Induck is an online college guide consisting of detailed interviews with students at different colleges and universities. It allows students to have the inside information they would receive from a detailed conversation with a student at the school on demand. We also want students to know how different types of students experience a certain school to paint a broad picture of the experience. We make sure to interview students with different interests and from different backgrounds at each school.
Induck interviews with college students last about 35-minutes and have eight sections: Background, Academic Experience, On and Around Campus, Social Opportunities, Campus Culture, Careers, Other Services, Advice for Prospective Freshmen, and Reasons to Attend and Not Attend.
By providing the information in a subjective way, Induck enables high schoolers to learn about the student experience for different types of students at different types of colleges. Rather than having to rely on forums, peer information, or college websites, high school students can decide for themselves what type of school and school culture fits them best. From doing preliminary research, such as learning about the benefits of a big school versus a small school, to deciding where to apply early decision, Induck can help students by providing them with otherwise unknown information. During the COVID-19 crisis, we are offering a 3-week free trial so you can use the online college guide to get the inside information on your top college choices from real students.
Tucker Glotzbach is the cofounder and CEO of Induck College Impressions. He started working on a way to build a better college guide in Fall of 2015 and started working on Induck full-time in April 2018. In this time, he has interviewed over 1,000 college students about their experience.