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LocalSchools is a community for existing and future college students. Its biggest highlight is the amount of resources it offers for prospective students, cataloging over 3,400 schools for college seekers and parents to check out.
Everyone involved at every level of the collegiate experience can draw value from the LocalSchools service. They also provide a job board for upcoming and recent grads. The most useful aspect of LocalSchools is the details they provide for nearly every school in the U.S. from discussion forums to Alumni reviews. And every part of college life that a prospective student would be interested in has been integrated into LocalSchools.
So if you're looking for a university that has a top tier biochemistry department, you can search LocalSchools based on such criteria. LocalSchools is probably as close as you'll get to a comprehensive report on a school without visiting yourself.
I caught up with Scott Daniels of LocalSchools.
Kristen: Did the idea for LocalSchools come from a personal need or desire?
For me, college was a time of great personal growth and of anxiety. By the time I graduated, I had attended 3 different schools and taken 7 years to earn a 4 year degree. If I had initially made a better choice, I might have reduced my college years and saved a lot of tuition money. Things aren’t any easier for today’s youth either. Recent statistics on college transfers and drop outs are alarming and show that the issue has not improved. It seems most parents are too busy to be objective and guidance counselors have to juggle too many students to offer any real guidance. Students end up making the real decision, and they need help.
Kristen: What is the main goal for LocalSchools?
The site is being developed as a communication hub between potential students, existing students, alumni, and the colleges. Students benefit at LocalSchools.com by gaining knowledge and advice to make better choices about their education. The colleges benefit by getting better potential applicants who are easier to enroll and are more likely to stay at their school. The goal of the site is to open new dialogues and connect the right people to the right schools.
Kristen: How does LocalSchools go about helping one search for a college or university?
On LocalSchools.com, a user can search for colleges or universities by subject (engineering, teaching, etc.), degree level (associate’s, bachelor’s, etc.), school name (UNH, Boston College, etc.), and also by location, whether it’s local or cross-country. They can narrow down their search using advanced filters and even compare schools side-by-side. Registered members can even save schools to their account to review or research later.
Kristen: Does your service apply for graduate students, or those looking for private high schools?
LocalSchools.com is designed for people in all stages of the education process – college seekers, current students, as well as alumni. Students interested in masters or doctoral degrees can use the site to easily find their next level of study, and they can share their undergraduate experiences and represent their Alma mater online. As far as private high schools, we haven’t seen the demand yet from our community, but it’s always a possibility. Registered members have a profile page (which leads into social networking aspects of the site), and we are planning on incorporate public high schools so our users can stay connected with their old friends as well as new ones.
Kristen: What services do you provide to potential students? Parents? Schools?
With a constantly expanding number of public and private schools in the database (Currently over 3,400!), information about each school is well organized and accessible. Users of all types can find and compare schools, visualize locations on the interactive maps, chat live, organize task lists, exchange inter-site email (no spam) with other members and request information from schools with ease. It’s a directory, an informational tool and a social network wrapped into one easy to use website.
Kristen: You've incorporated a job board as well, so you're obviously looking to provide as many resources as possible for students and recent grads. What other features are you hoping to add to LocalSchools?
That’s a really big question. We’re developing useful tools as well as fun stuff for our users, who drive our development agenda with their suggestions and feedback. A few additions in the near future will be enhanced community-driven school pages (photos & groups), campus mapping features, & major chat upgrades.
Kristen: What are your next steps and when do you plan on implementing these?
Now that we have released the concept to the online community, we’re getting a lot of great feedback from our users, educators, and the business community at large. We are in a new stage of R&D based on the site release feedback, which LocalSchools users should see rolled out over the next three months.
This article was written by Kristen Nicole, who writes for 606tech.com.