Monday, October 26, 2009

AcceptEdge Plus a Private College Consultant = The Perfect Combination

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Hi Y'all,

Although it is not Friday, I have some free advice for my readers. Have you heard of AcceptEdge? It is a powerful web tool that prospective college students can use to determine their possible chances of acceptance to a university. Of course, it is not fool proof, but it uses a better diagnostic formula than other search sites such as Peterson's, The College Board, and Naviance. While most alogorithms take into account standardized test scores, class ranking, and G.P.A., AcceptEdge goes one step further in its methodology and also includes a student's extra-curricular resume. They compile data from 15 publicly available data sources, including social networks.

AcceptEdge was founded by two collegians, Max Hodak and Jason Mueller and incubated at the Sand Hill Road venture firm NEA.  AcceptEdge augments the data with its own surveys and Facebook applications.
AcceptEdge co-founder Max Hodak, 20, says it evolved from a spreadsheet he put together at age 17 while attending a private prep school in New Jersey, comparing his own academic scores against university data provided by a guidance counselor at his school. His computations, he said, helped guide him from a likely rejection from Yale toward the warm embrace of Duke University, which had intrigued him with a vaunted biomedical engineering program. Once AcceptEdge gains traction, 'I'm definitely going back to that,' he said.
Hodak was still in high school when he first encountered co-founder Jason Mueller online, in a Facebook developers forum. Mueller, who has had paid internships at Sony Ericsson and Red Hat, is more focused on shaping AcceptEdge's business, while Hodak concentrates on technology (, 2009). 

AcceptEdge is still in Beta testing and does not have all of the kinks worked out. I think the next version will be a great improvement and will yield more promising results with more efficiency. I attempted to create a fake profile to test its features and accuracy, but was unable to add my extra-curriculars or my class grades. I also advice against their suggestion tool to connect your AcceptEdge profile to data from your Facebook account. Please keep your Facebook account separate from your college application experience. This is the verbiage to lure you into connecting your Facebook account with AcceptEdge.

DO NOT DO THIS: Research has shown that social graph data is predictive of path through college. We can extract this information from your friend connections on Facebook. Clicking the button above will allow us to analyze your social relationships and how they relate to your college choices.

To some, it may be disconcerting that such a service exists—another sign of how the college quest has become a pressure cooker. I've often encountered teenagers who stress over their grades, test scores and extra-curriculars, as well as the occasional overbearing parent.Students often spend their high school years grooming themselves for a particular university, selecting courses and extracurricular activities they hope will make them stand out. Parents pay for tutoring or expensive SAT preparation classes. I am an advocate of test prep tutoring for most students. Students can greatly receive increase their oral and written vocabulary, as well as their overall writing abilities with test prep help. There are classes offered at high schools that are reasonable, and also private college tutors that are not as exorbitant as the larger Test prep outfits out there. 

Van Buskirk, who has his own for-profit Web site called, said AcceptEdge's greatest value would be to enlighten students and encourage them to explore options beyond brand-name institutions to possibilities among some 3,800 colleges nationwide.

I fear, as some educational consultants and admissions officers do, that AcceptEdge's tool could actually exacerbate the pressure and increase a student's anxiety related to the college app process. If a high schooler's heart is truly, perilously set on Stanford, for example, AcceptEdge claims it can show how a student can best enhance his or her odds by taking, say, another Advanced Placement class, retaking the SAT or running for class president. Often times, it is not one minute factor that tips the scales for a student's admission. Colleges today are looking to complete a class filled with diversity and  what they need to complete their renaissance class can change slightly from year to year. For example, if a highly selective school is creating a new aeronautical engineering program, they might be more open to taking a student with a lower verbal score (550) and a significantly higher math score (760), because they want to build the program with students that are strong in math and science. This particular student might have been president of their Robotics Club chapter or invented a wind tunnel. In a previous admission's cycle, this student might not have been accepted to this university, but the university's objectives have changed and this student now fits the model for what they are seeking.

AcceptEdge also plans to direct students to a network of "qualified private college admission advisers" that can offer personal guidance and assistance to students. Many independent counselors offer worthy, ethical services, Jump and Van Buskirk agrees, but some are unethical and manipulative, making inflated promises and charging exorbitant fees. I agree with this statement and am happy to share my reasonable college planning fees with you. Please contact me via email or via phone at 512-294-6608.

It is not too late to jump start your college planning process. The information provided was written by Lauren Kahn, CEO of Lone Star Ed Consulting. If you would like more information about Lone Star Ed Consulting's college planning services, please e-mail Lauren Kahn or call her at 512-294-6608. You can also view LSEDC's brochure here


  1. Great article as usual, Lauren! In addition to this young startup, you should also have your readers check out the two big names in the field: and . They are both mature offerings of the product that Acceptedge is trying to develop.

  2. When I slide my GPA down to 1.0, my prediction goes UP when I use acceptedge. there is NO WAY that is true.


Thank you for your comment. Your input is greatly appreciated. - College News from Texas - Lauren Kahn, M.A.

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