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Monday, March 26, 2007

What's zinch? Most admission officers don't know.

There's a well established pipeline through which colleges get information about juniors (and sometimes sophomores) who they want to target with marketing efforts. College Board's Student Search Service provides colleges with names of students who took the PSAT or SAT and filled out the demographic information on their registration sheet. At the end of the survey, there's a question about receiving information from colleges. Those who check "yes" should have a deluge of mail within 6-8 weeks. Those who check "no" have to visit the websites for the schools in which they're interested to put themselves on the mailing lists.

There's a new company, started by brothers from BYU, that is attempting to break into the pipeline. It's called Zinch and somehow, they're getting the word out to students, though only 451 have created profiles on the site. The problem, though, is that they haven't marketed this "service" to college admission officers in any way. A mention in The Chronicle this morning is the first I've seen outside of a student post on a message board.

Maybe they're waiting until they have the 20,000 students they want to have by the end of May, but I imagine that if students creating profiles report no response from the colleges, they won't get to that target.

I'm waiting for the pitch. What I've seen on their website isn't particularly enticing. None of the information on the site seems verified and they seem to require interaction to take place in their environment. The idea is interesting, but requires colleges to abandon their traditional marketing plans that Student Search syncs with.