Senior Columnist EdNews.org
Eastern New Mexico University
1) First of all, tell us a bit about yourself and your education and experience.
I graduated from San Francisco State University in 1990 with a BA in Broadcast Communications.I also attended Gonzaga University, California State University, Chico and the American Institute for Foreign Study in London.Let's just say I enjoy traveling.Prior to founding CampusExplorer.com with our group, I worked for Rent.com as Vice President of Business Development.I was at Rent from 2001 through early 2007.The team here at Campus Explorer were all at Rent from 2001 through the acquisition by eBay in 2005.
2) Secondly, how did you first get involved with Campus Explorer?
I founded it with three former colleagues and friends.We all came to believe there was a great opportunity for an Internet team that could build a consumer search experience around post secondary education.
3) Why is CampusExplorer.com a valuable site?
I can tell you why it will be a valuable site.In many states throughout the U.S., the student to counselor ratio is well above 250 to 1.
In California, it's closer to 600 to 1.Kids are not getting college and career counseling through the public school systems.Adults are not either for that matter.These days most people look to the Web for information, particularly students.When we originally surveyed the Web sites servicing people looking for information on colleges or career schools we were shocked at how weak the offerings were.CampusExplorer.com will address the growing need of students not getting guidance from the public systems.We're building a comprehensive data base of all U.S. post secondary institutions and we're putting a search experience around it that will allow students to interact with the information in much the same way they might with a counselor.Do you know what you want to study?Do you like cities or small towns?Do you want to live near a beach because you surf or a mountain because you snow board?We're also bringing multiple sources of information to one interface.We think that after we're into this for a year or two, the site will speak for itself and hopefully provide that guidance that is lacking today for many students.
4) Exactly how many colleges and universities do you have information about?
6,000 and growing.
5) Exactly how many two year colleges or community colleges do you have information about?
I'm not sure what the exact number is but for this type of school, we'd have every one in the U.S.
6) It seems to me that matching students with a college that is able to meet their needs is an important thing. What do you see as the most important factors for a student to take into consideration when choosing a college?
We think it's one of the most important decisions made in ones life.
Look at my history.I attended three universities and did a semester abroad within five years.My experience was awesome but not typical by any means.
In my case, I knew what I wanted to study before graduating high school, so my original search centered around colleges that offered a Broadcast Communications degree.But I never considered how important weather and school personality might be.It gets super cold in Spokane in the dead of winter!
To answer your question, the important considerations are going to be unique to every student.CampusExplorer.com is working on ways to help students think through all the things that should be considered and hopefully by doing so, students will find a great match.
7) Some students like to get away from home, and others, for whatever reason like to remain as close to home as possible. How does your web site help with these two types of students?
We make it easy to search by location.You can search by zip code, region, state, city whatever you like.You can search by major, degree level, institution type, career you name it.We'll add more and more ways to search over time.We have available most of the major ways people search today.
8) Many university faculty are concerned about the quality of the community college experience- they feel that the courses are not as rigorous. Does this enter into the equation?
It may for some but I think opinions are just that. We're not elitists.
Community Colleges are well suited for many people.We'd rather take the stance that educating yourself is positive, no matter where you choose to do so.We do gather and provide certain Department of Education statistics for the majority of schools in our system, particularly the ones that report every year.You can filter search results on our site by school selectivity for example.
9) How long has CampusExplorer.com been in existence? What are your current challenges?
We launched the site early in 2007.We're venture-backed but lean.We have many, many projects we want to complete.Our challenges today center around band width as it relates to launching new products and services on the site.We're fast but we want to go faster.
10) Some students like on-line classes, and others prefer a lecture mode. Do you address these issues?
Yes.We're launching an online education channel within CampusExplorer.com.We'll make it available to searchers when schools offer it.
11) What about students with specific learning difficulties or disabilities- do you provide information for these students also?
We don't today but it's on our product roadmap.What we intend to do over time is add more and more ways for people to disect or access our data.
That would most certainly include students with learning difficulties or disabilities.
12) What question have I neglected to ask?
How much does the service cost for students? Nothing.
CampusExplorer.com is a free service.
Published December 10, 2007
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