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New Facebook App Predicts College Acceptance Chances

Struggling to figure out your chances of getting into the college of your dreams? A new Facebook app launched today can instantly match your profile with any one of 1,500 schools with the goal of predicting the likelihood of you making the cut.

The app gives a quick glimpse of the possibilities, but counselors note that it does not take into account anything beyond the numbers—your essay, extra curricular activities, recommendations, and special talents also carry weight when it comes to admissions and could tip the scales.

The new tool, AdmissionSplash, was created by 19-year-old Allen Gannett, a student at George Washington University, and 22-year-old Anton Zolotov, a recent GWU graduate.

High school students start by typing in a list of colleges. Then, they fill out a form with their name, address, high school, GPA, SAT/ACT/PSAT score, and anticipated major. Students are given a competitive score of 1 to 100 gauging how much—based on the app's formula—a college will want them. The chances are then calculated as "fair," "good," or "great." Students have the option of posting the results on their Facebook page.

For now, the app is free. "Eventually, we want to make it a recruiting channel for colleges," says Gannett. For example, if a student picks Cornell as a school, at the end, the student is prompted with, "Would you like a brochure from Cornell?" and AdmissionSplash would get a fee from colleges for connecting them with interested students.

With just a thumbnail of information, how accurate can this quick test be? In a test of 75 admitted students to UCLA and New York University, the system accurately predicted admissions chances in 90 to 97 percent of the cases, says Gannett.

To get this quick assessment, students do potentially sacrifice some privacy. Users must put in their name and address. While there are no plans to use the personal information provided, how the data may be used long-term has not been determined, says Gannett.

Jim Miller, president of the National Association of College Admission Counseling, has mixed feelings about the tool. "Students are looking for easy answers to difficult questions," he says.

For schools that are not highly competitive, a numeric approach might work to assess the odds of admissions. But for highly selective institutions, the review is far more complex, says Miller.

Rather than predicting who could succeed at a school, those elite school admissions counselors have to choose from an abundance of applicants, all of whom could succeed. Also, each year, the high-end schools reshuffle who they admit based on the nature of the applicants and size of their pool, says Miller.

It's a novel idea that will be interesting to follow, says Miller. Still, he cautions students not to get caught up in the quest for name-brand schools, but rather to do some self reflection and find a school that matches their character.

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