OneSchool: College Simplified

It’s the first day of freshman year of college. When your parents drop you off and finally leave, it’s time for you to fend for…

It’s the first day of freshman year of college. When your parents drop you off and finally leave, it’s time for you to fend for yourself. That night, you feel completely lost, latching onto your roommate and the friends he seemingly already has, trying to find some direction. The plan is clear: party. But where? Your roommate somehow knows, so he drags you to a fraternity house. Great. A temporary solution for a potentially permanent problem. The concern remains that you could spend all of college riding on the backs of others - unless you have OneSchool.

When I personally started college in 2007, there were very few kids who owned smartphones, except for some “CrackBerry” brats. Fast forward to now, and it’s difficult to find those who don’t have an iPhone or Android device. As a result, with OnesSchool, gone are the days of the paper campus map - as are the days of campus newspapers, club flyers, and transportation schedules. OneSchool, based in Mountain View, California, takes care of all of that by functioning, at its most basic level, as a directory. Through the app, school administrators keep their students engaged by connecting them to their surroundings. They can help prospective and incoming students with campus maps and real-time bus tracking and also strengthen the school community by providing the tools necessary to connect with peers in areas like classes, organizations, and sports.

The app, born at Penn State when CEO David Adewumi saw a picture of a homework problem in a text message, started as a way for students to get help with classes, but has evolved into an all-knowing vehicle for easing the difficulties of college life. In the process, it has grown faster than Facebook did at its launch - in part, Adewumi explained, because its benefits are both academic and social. “The two aren’t mutually exclusive,” he said. “Helping college kids with schoolwork in many ways helps kids socially as well. OneSchool is focused towards the college experience, both socially and academically. We see great potential in reaching students by catering to their schoolwork.”  Success in the classroom is both a route to making friends and a weight off students’ shoulders. But what keeps knowledge of an event like a private party from going viral through this app? “OneSchool will allow for users to exclusively invite their friends to events. Privacy settings are controlled by user preference.  OneSchool recognizes that some parties should be kept exclusive,” Adewumi said. They’re the Facebook, not the MySpace, of academics and social life at school.

Social networks in mind, Adewumi seems to have taken a cue from Facebook itself, moving from the East Coast to a new home in Palo Alto, where they’re still based. And is the OneSchool team happy in their new home?  “We permanently relocated to Palo Alto, California, in order to pursue opportunities that were made available to us, and we love it,” Adewumi said. “We can neither confirm nor deny that we are living the life of the Social Network.” In the same vein, there’s something to be said of Adewumi’s own career path, unexpected but academically fitting. Is a major no longer important? Can a student just fall into whatever career he or she truly desires, no matter what he or she studied in school? OneSchool's team, seemingly composed of entrepreneurs by design, serves as an example. “Each member of the team at OneSchool had very different visions at Penn State. I personally majored in languages and entrepreneurship,” Adewumi explained. “Some of our members thought they were destined for medical school and others are computer science majors. We realized entrepreneurship is just about solving problems.” Planned or not, OneSchool does much to fill the void of the oft-intimidating world that is college life. If only it had launched earlier.

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