For many high school students, the fall semester means it's time to get serious about the college admissions process. While some graduating seniors have a good idea of which school they'd like to attend, many don't. And even if the student has a stellar academic record and hopes to score an acceptance letter from Harvard or Stanford, it's never a gaurantee. Grade point averages, SAT scores, extra-curricular activities, application essays -- universities have a lot of factors to weigh, and as such, a lot of things that make the application process confusing, particularly when students are urged to apply for their first choice as well as several "back up" schools.
All that confusion and uncertainty probably contributes to the fact that college counseling is a multi-million dollar industry (and that's excluding the billion-dollar test prep industry).
Although both the startups offer guidance to students going through the college application process, they each take a different approach. Parchment helps provide data-oriented assessments to help point students towards what it calculates is a good fit, while Acceptly helps students keep up-to-speed with the various activities they need to do to look like a "good fit."
Acceptly helps students get organized for the application process. The site uses points and badges, the latter of which can be posted to the student's Facebook profile, in order to help guide them through the various steps. It isn't simply about filling out the paperwork of the application itself; it's about helping prompt students to engage in a multitude of activities that will help boost their chances for admission to their dream schools. There's a badge for signing up for the SAT. There's a badge for doing test prep. There's a badge for participating in activities, and there's one for thinking through what those activities can (and should) be, as well as encouraging reminders to try for leadership positions. There's a badge for talking to the college counselor at school. There's a badge for signing up for the types of college-preparatory classes that are known to look good on the application. You get the point.