Entrepreneurs / Universities

Student startup helps fellow high-schoolers ‘tour’ prospective colleges

A campus “visit” for as low as $25? That's what Andrew Cramer's offers to college-hunting seniors.

Andrew Cramer presents his business model to the Education Entrepreneurship team at the University of Pennsylvania. (Courtesy photo)

As high school seniors prepare applications for college, one from the area has a website to help make the process a little less daunting.

Andrew Cramer of Springside Chestnut Hill Academy launched this fall. The website offers video chats with current students at 48 elite schools that can give prospective applicants unfiltered perspectives on various aspects of these institutions.

Cramer developed the website after years of various entrepreneurial efforts, supported by his school’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. His summer with Leangap, an incubator program in Boston that attracts students from around the globe, focused his efforts.

“We originally were working on a company called Campus Overnight,” Cramer told “Over two weeks we pivoted to Campus Insider [the company’s previous name], that’s how it started.”

Cramer came up with the concept while on college visits himself. While schools give lots of data and anecdotes about themselves, it’s not always the whole story. Cramer reached out to attending students to find out about things the tours didn’t mention, like campus life, class insights and the strength of certain majors. He learned more from those interactions than the presented information.

Campusselect seeks the students starting their college search and offers them video chat sessions with current college students. Sessions are offered for an hour and half-hour. Starting at $25, this can help pare down a list early in the process and save money in visits and application to schools that don’t meet needs and desires.

It's one-on-one experience with a current student, which cannot be found anywhere else.

“My site allows students to quickly explore different options, different schools, at an affordable price,” Cramer said. “It allows them to compare different schools, talk to students in the majors they’re looking at, so they can compare options, which is different than just looking at a blog or looking at the frequently asked questions on a school’s Facebook page. It’s one-on-one experience with a current student, which cannot be found anywhere else.”

Edward Glassman serves as executive director for SCH’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. The school offers curriculum to all grades at the K–12 academy. Glassman sees his role as more hands-off, allowing students to make their own decisions and help when needed.

“We try to instill these values in our students — being resilient, being resourceful, coming up with creative ways to come up with problems they may never have encountered before,” Glassman said. “I think Andrew really exemplifies that mindset and I’m confident that, no matter what happens with this business, I think Andrew is going to do great things in college and beyond.”

Cramer credits other startup initiatives in Philadelphia with helping his previous projects. He attended events, networked, even worked with programs at Drexel and Penn to hone ideas. Conversations at coworking network Benjamin’s Desk have led to connections and other conversations. Both Cramer and Glassman noted the city’s startup community has fostered support for students and their ideas.

Companies: Springside Chestnut Hill Academy

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