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New Online Tool to Help Students in College-Search Process

A website—Acceptly.com—launches today to help high school students keep organized and tap into resources needed in the college-search process.

The free, online site has sections with information on academics, activities, testing, college choice, applications, and financial aid. There are tip sheets, links to resources, and space for students to input their information. Under activities, for instance, there are suggestions for how to create a brag sheet and start a high school club, as well as links to summer programs and volunteer opportunities.

Acceptly also has a feature that allows users to post questions and a college-preparation consultant responds within 24 hours.

That consultant would be Kathryn Favaro, Acceptly community director and private college consultant in Hermosa Beach, Calif., who is one of four people behind the small, start-up company. She says the goal of the site is to democratize the application process to give students regardless of means the tools they need to access higher education.

"We are a place that students across the nation can come to find the information they need to get into college," says Favaro. "It's so divided now. ... We want to make a place where there are no excuses and every high school student can get into college."

Over the past two months, about 1,000 users have tested out the website and provided feedback to Favaro and her colleagues before today's public launch. The company has partnered with high schools and nonprofits to try out the site and encourage students to use it as a resource. It has also raised private venture capital.

To appeal to teenagers, Acceptly uses a game-like approach to encourage users to progress through the materials #151;as users complete sections, they earn points and badges. While the primary target of the site is high school students, Favaro says eventually the site will build in parent and counseling tools.

Acceptly can be accessed through a Facebook account. Users can choose what information they want to share with friends on the network — when they make it through a certain level of the application process, but not likely personal information such as test scores.

Favaro says information that users provide to Acceptly will not be given out to companies or colleges for marketing. It will remain private. To generate revenue, the site will include suggestions for services, such as SAT prep courses, tutoring, or college supplies that will be provided directly to users.

Acceptly joins other online consulting resources for students, such as College Confidential, AdmissionSplash.com, and CampusSplash.com.

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