Susanna Cerasuolo knows the power of education. With almost 20 years’ experience as an educator, both as a teacher and a consultant, she has supported countless students through the process of mapping their post-high school education and career. For some students, college was a natural path, but for others the decision and process was more arduous. Never was this more evident than when she was volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, walking high school students through the world of college applications, student loans, and scholarships. For many of these teenagers, they would be the first in their family to attend college and it quickly became apparent to Susanna that they needed further support. Wishing she could help more students than time allowed, she took her knowledge of college admissions and education expertise and built CollegeMapper.
CollegeMapper (www.CollegeMapper.com) is a single website that walks high school students through the confusing process of applying to college by giving them a personalized plan. Here students can research schools that best fit their goals, find resources such as essay tips and volunteer ideas, and utilize a personalized to-do list to stay organized during the application process. It’s this tailored approach that not only keeps students engaged, but supports the greater vision of CollegeMapper: that every student, regardless of background, deserves the opportunity for higher education to help them pursue their talents and passions.
CollegeMapper was built for users that would have very little baseline knowledge of the college application process. It is a free site that is targeted to high school students, grades 8 – 12, but also provides resources for parents and guidance counselors. Currently there are approximately 3 million students through the US in each grade, so the larger target audience for the site is about 15 million potential users. Focus groups have shown though that high school juniors are the most interested in the site. While other products have been positioned to reach high school students preparing for college, CollegeMapper has created a new market by focusing on those students who may have thought college wasn’t an option and providing them with a new product.
To reach these students, CollegeMapper employs a social strategy. They are active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and numerous other social media sites, posting tips, videos, polls, and questions multiple times a day. They also host contests and feature scholarship winners to further engage with their users. To connect with students in person, Susanna and CollegeMapper partner with guidance counselors at high schools and host live demos on campus. They also have several partnerships with Community Based Organizations such as Minds Matter Seattle, Get Schooled, and the Boys and Girls Club.
CollegeMapper continues to adapt to their user’s needs and as a result they’ve seen tremendous growth in site registrations and engagement. Learn more about their services at www.CollegeMapper.com!