App made in Portland simplifies college application process

New software helps students apply for college

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The college application process can easily overwhelm even the most prepared high school students.

Wilson High School senior Ian Sloan recently found that to be the case. He's in the process of sending early applications to several colleges, including Western Washington University.

"I just finished my college essay and I will be putting it into the college application today," Sloan said.

He stays extremely busy playing recreational soccer, working and doing extracurricular activities. So staying on top of all the college application deadlines was a lot to manage.

"You would write it on the piece of paper as a checklist and that piece of paper disappears, or I would forget about it and my mom starts yelling at me to finish it up," Sloan recalled.

"I worried about something slipping through the cracks and that costing him the chance to go to a school that he wants to go to, or that costing us the financial aid that we need to make that school possible," said his mom Lisa.

So when the family found out about new software aimed at making the college application process easier, they were thrilled.  The program is called "Apply101," a website and app that stores information from 3,000 accredited colleges and universities.

The software was created by a Portland-based tech-startup. Natalie Miller, who founded the service, came up with the idea after working in college admissions.

Miller said the average high school student applies to three or more colleges, but many apply to seven or more.

"A lot of students were just super overwhelmed with the process. A student would have to look to each of the colleges' independent websites to really figure it out and sometimes they are on different pages. So we do that work for them and we consolidate that information in one place," said Miller.

Apply101 allows students to create a database of all their college choices and make customized reminders of upcoming deadlines for things like essays and financial aid documents.

"I have emails and texts weekly. So once a week I get a little thing saying, ‘you've completed this many tasks and you are this much of the way done,'" said Sloan.

He said the best part is that his mom no longer has to bug him about upcoming deadlines.

"No offense to my mom," Sloan laughed. "I love my mom, but it's a lot nicer getting a gentle text telling me to do it than my mom saying 'IAN! Why isn't your Western application done?'"

"It's taking the nag factor out. I'm nagging him about enough things and I want him to take ownership of this college process," said his mom.

Miller said her company hopes to someday add community colleges and international colleges to the software as well.

More information can be found on the Apply101 website.

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