New Delhi: GyanDhan, an education financing startup, has launched a tool to determine a student’s likelihood of getting into a particular college. It is expected to help more than 50,000 Indian students applying for higher studies in US every year. The company received a favorable response in a private beta test with a group of students who are looking to go for higher studies next year, and plans to soon expand the tool’s reach to cover other countries besides US.
Admit predictor model is a great way to start a college search. Narrowing a list of potential colleges is one of the most important decisions for a student and is often a daunting process. Many students and their families, confused and overwhelmed by the challenge, rely on outside assistance to ease the burden. Education counsellors have traditionally been the go-to source for guidance. However, in cases where the counsellors are incentivized by the schools for admits, there is a conflict of interest and in such scenarios the student could end up getting sub-optimal advice.
The tool seeks to provide an objective estimate of the chances of a student getting admission to the school of their choice. According to Jainesh Sinha, Co-founder and COO at GyanDhan, “The goal is not to deter students from applying to particular schools when providing admissions predictions, but to set their expectations.” He believes that it can also help students in their financial planning, remarking, “If money is a factor in your college search, you should make sure to apply to colleges where you are clearly in the top third to top quarter of the applicant pool. Your odds of getting a scholarship are significantly lower otherwise, and you have to resort to loans and personal savings to fund your education.”
While there are many online tools that help students get admission odds, Jainesh believes that the focus on data analysis and transparency are what sets GyanDhan’s offering apart from the existing solutions. “Most of the online calculators are either based on limited data or merely an extension of subjective opinion. Our admit predictor model is based on past data of over 200,000 Indian applicants. Rather than just listing averages, we also give relative ranking of the student across the previously successful applicant pool. If we don’t have a lot of data, we specifically will tell the student that our confidence in that prediction is lower than if we had a lot of data on the college and on the student,” added Jainesh.
Ankit Mehra, the other Co-founder added, “We are passionate about helping aspirational students fulfill their personal and professional goals. We started a scholarship search and listing platform earlier this year to help students find financing solutions even though we do not get any revenues through that service. The admit predictor model is another step in our aim of making higher education accessible.”
Since launching operations in May 2016, the company has helped more than 100 students get a total of 27 crores in loans through its platform. The partnership with Axis allowed it to offer a loan product based on the employability score whereby students could apply for loans up to 30 lakhs without any collateral to pursue their higher studies.
The company had raised funds earlier this year from a group of angel investors led by the Indian chapter of Stanford Angels and Entrepreneurs. When asked about the future outlook, Jainesh had this to say, “We are looking to add 2-3 more financing partners on the platform in the coming months. We are investing significantly in developing our data sciences team and expect to offer financing solutions for the domestic markets in the next 6 months.”