The number of students from China and India applying to universities in the U.S and other English speaking western countries is ever increasing. Universities are finding it increasingly difficult to verify the academic records submitted by aspiring students due to number of applications and easy access to fraudulent certificates, test scores, essays etc. There is often a discrepancy between paper based English communication skills and the actual communications skills of candidates.
InitialView wanted to address this challenge faced by universities and approached Georgia Tech about doing a pilot. At the end of last year, over 50 colleges and universities in the U.S were using InitialView.
Husband-wife duo Terry Crawford and Gloria Chyou are the cofounders of this Beijing based startup and this week they launched a redesigned website which targets aspiring students from India. Currently, InitialView is free for educational institutions and applicants pay a one-time interview fee of RMB600 about US$95.
Setting up Skype interviews with potential candidates can be cumbersome for universities and employers. Time zones, connectivity issues and possible fraudulent representation could undermine such attempts to set up individual interviews. InitialView verifies the student’s identity and conducts an interview which can be used by universities anytime to assess the students’ skills.
"We are expanding to India for a very simple reason - universities are requesting that we do so. Last year we conducted interviews with Indian applicants on a pilot basis, and since that worked well it is going to become a core part of what we do (we are adding other countries as well). In some ways the admission issues surrounding applicants from India are similar to applicants from China: U.S. admission officers are often not familiar with India’s educational system, and as a result they find our interviews a helpful tool in locating top talent. Top students are easy to spot in our interviews and the interviews can be a strong plus in an application, regardless of where the student went to high school or whether the student is from Mumbai or a small town. There are so many top students in India, and our interviews help them add an additional layer of credibility and colour to their application. I should also note that we are currently hiring in India," added Terry on the motivation for InitialView to expand to India.