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Germantown Grad Launches College Prep Startup

Neil Soni, 20, is the CEO of The College People, a web-based college prep service for high schoolers.

When Neil Soni’s younger brother was comparing schools, he wanted to know what University of Michigan was like. But Soni, a chemical engineering major at Carnegie Mellon University, could only speak to how it felt to be a Tartan.

Soni connected his brother with some friends he knew at Michigan — where his brother is currently enrolled.

Then a business concept emerged: Why not offer students a place where they can get advice from other college students?

The College People was born.

“This is really a service that isn’t being filled,” said Soni, 20, an alumnus of .

The company employs 65 trained student advisors from 50 colleges and universities nationwide and aspires to provide relevant information that can’t be gleaned from a university website, said Soni, who is a junior at Carnegie Mellon.

Students who sign up for The College People’s free online services can obtain information about potential colleges and chat with students who attend at the schools, Soni said.

For a fee, students can get more — $30 “virtual visits” with a college student to as much as a$225 package for help on a Common Application and supplement combo, according to the company’s price schedule online.

Soni, who is minoring in business, said he got the confidence to officially launch the business after offering a free pilot for 10 Northwest students last fall.

The College People currently has 56 free subscribers and fewer than 10 paid users, which Soni anticipates will increase in coming months, as application deadlines creep closer.

werzmecoffee September 30, 2011 at 11:39 AM
Great idea! Very impressive.
Nakeva Corothers November 13, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Excellent idea and value to college students with goals! Way to go Soni, congrats to launching a great business idea.

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