“70% of students regret about their college/major choice”
Founder of TENDOM, Wonil Yoo wants “AddCampus to serve as a compass for students to have the best time in college.”
AddCampus is “Glassdoor.com” for colleges. The service is popular among students who are interested in university admission, transfer, and academic major switch. Unlike the existing university rating resources which use public information, AddCampus differentiates itself by crowdsourcing personal reviews written by current students in each department and alumni. Users are able to access unfiltered, genuine reviews about college experience, including some that universities wouldn’t necessarily want to expose to the public.
AddCampus provides college facts, college rankings by categories, and campus ranking, and department specific student reviews in a simple user interface.
Founder Wonil notes that regretful college choice is not just a personal problem. High college dropout rate is costing Korea eco-socially $2.8 billion USD per year. Top 4 reasons of regretting the choice were expectation mismatch (42.3%), bad fit with personal talent (30.7%), low department job placement rate (25.3%), and applying to a major solely based on admission grades (21.3%). Wonil points out that current college information resources lack real stories of student experiences and solely emphasize admission statistics and requirements for prospective students.
“When I was a high school senior, no one told me what college life is actually like, everyone just talked about test scores and GPA needed to go to college,” shared founder Wonil Lee. During college, Wonil volunteered as an academic counselor for underclassmen to relieve similar difficulties he went through to decide on a major. Recognizing the problem as a societal issue, Wonil started AddCampus to positively impact students at much bigger scale.
Reflecting lack of real information in current college admission process, AddCampus is having an explosive growth. The app attracted more than 250,000 users in its first 9 months of service, placing AddCampus as the most popular iOS application in education category of Apple App Store in Decemebr 2016. TENDOM’s online contents are reaching 20 million people weekly. AddCampus is currently available in both iOS and Android along with web application. Main customer target is 18~24 age group which consists 92.44% of current AddCampus user base. 44.3 % of users are high schoolers and 51.73% are college students. Prospective student Kim shared that she “was able to declare her major with confidence thanks to detailed reviews of various academic tracks by upperclassmen at colleges of interest.”
Growing crowdsource-based educational contents platform was not easy. After several failed startups with strong user base but nascent monetization model, many investors have turned away from investing in heavily user growth-based platforms. Wonil noticed that many investors started to emphasize more on revenue expectations over content development and user growth value. The experience was similar to requesting bank loans which accesses chance of return on time rather than analyzing investment opportunity for future growth.
AddCampus recently added personalized review curation and academic consulting feature by utilizing big data analysis technology on accumulated reviews of ~500 colleges in Korea. In addition to overall college and department reviews, TENDOM is launching 1:1 mobile mentoring match service for college students and prospective students. Founder Wonil Yoo was excited to share that mentoring service will provide even more comprehensive information and guidance on college experience paired with lecture reviews (similar to ratemyprocessors.com), extracurricular activity reviews, on-campus contests and conferences reviews and college neighborhood reviews.
AddCampus review of U.S univerities, covering campus resources, culture, neighborhood, tuition, and professors.
TENDOM is preparing to expand AddCampus service coverage to international students and overseas universities. In response to growing number of Chinese international students in Korean universities (50 million Chinese students by 2020, 63% of total international students in Korea), TENDOM is launching review contents in Chinese translation in 2017. Additionally, TENDOM plans to provide personalized study abroad consulting services to improve study abroad experience in Korea for international students. Researching information for foreign universities is not an easy process, especially for students with no previous study-abroad experiences. Overseas university reviews is being developed based on the experiences of students studying abroad, allowing users to access first-hand experiences of the school.