Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Anti-Stealth for College Applications

In the same way that Path 101 wants to bust open the data lockbox for the job market, showing you what others like you are doing with their careers, PeerDecision is aiming shed light on college admissions.  This is fascinating, because I don't think there's anything more competitive and cutthroat than college admissions (except maybe Upper East Side Nursery School admissions), and so I could imagine students swarming on this in a hurry. 

I wonder if the anti-stealth nature of it might cause a little fudging.  I'm sure Jack actually got a 1480 on his SAT, but how do we really know for sure?  :)

This is data I think everyone wants to see, but perhaps this is a case where public profiles aren't a good idea.  If people start comparing themselves to others, is that going to open up some really negative interactions?  I think people want to compare aggregate numbers, but I think singling out individuals might get too personal, and maybe even downright ugly. 

They also have voting, where you could vote people up or down depending on whether or not you'd make certain schools.  Again, this might bring out the worst in people.

So, I REALLY like PeerDecision, I just think people are evil... especially overambitious high school kids.

One thing I might consider is flipping the voting a little.  Have people try to gauge themselves...  vote which schools you think you have a good shot of making and then show me the aggregate data.   This way, I don't have a reason to mess up the voting, because I'd only be screwing up my own account.

Another thing they need to nail that Path 101 needs to nail as well is a reason to get people to add this data.  I could join and tell people what schools I made, but what do I get back immediately from that?  For Path 101, we can do some job skills and trend data, but PD is tackling something that's even a bigger data black hole... so I'm not sure how you could even prime the pump here.

What about maybe a way to gripe?  "What's the school that turned you down?  Tell us about it...add other schools".

It's interesting... check out their site...  It's a process I'd love to see them succeed in opening up more, but I'm not sure how to do that.