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New website is like a crystal ball for college applicants


Parchment, a company that has helped high school students transmit their academic records online, introduced a new website Sept. 12 that uses crowdsourcing and predictive analytics to help college applicants get a better grasp of where they should apply.

Using public application data from more than 100,000 college applications obtained by Parchment when the company purchased MyChances.net, the new site lets college hopefuls see which schools accepted students with similar academic records.

Students who sign up for a free Parchment.com membership can see just how they can bolster their application with more AP-level classes, for instance, or a few more extracurricular activities in their senior year.

“We’ve put students’ transcripts to work by analyzing them,” said Matthew Pittinsky, CEO of Parchment Inc. and a cofounder of Blackboard Inc. “It’s really an example of the democratization of technology. [Applying to college] no longer becomes this cloak-and-dagger process that only the very few are able to access.”

Pittinsky said Parchment.com analyzes vast amounts of data the same way popular sites like Netflix and Amazon do. Instead of recommending TV shows, movies, and books, Parchment.com suggests colleges and universities that have accepted students with similar school records. “When you have the data, there are very powerful things you can do to bring some transparency to a relatively opaque process,” he said. http://www.parchment.com/

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