Almost seven years ago, Facebook opened its doors to a few select universities and colleges across the country. It was not the Facebook you know now, but a way to connect with other college classmates. Profiles encouraged users to list their current classes and extracurriculars, making it easy to connect with those you went to school with. Over the next few years, these features disappeared, turning a college social network into a free-for-all for anyone with access to the Internet.
The evolution of Facebook left a huge gap behind, and college students no longer had an easy way to connect with classmates and other resources. Whereas the new Facebook (and what’s remaining of MySpace) fills a need to socialize on a general level, and LinkedIn is dedicated for professional connections, current college students have nothing of their own. This is where a new startup called OneSchool is hoping to come in and change the game.
OneSchool is an app currently available for iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone users that connects students at colleges and universities to everything they need to know to get through their day. It’s not a social network they way we think of them, but rather in all-in-one resource containing a one-click directory of professors, departments, and other students. Users can also browse an entire directory of courses, and the listing of course/section can be used as a discussion platform about the class. OneSchool also allows students to see when their next bus is due to arrive, a map of the area, news about the school, and perhaps the most important feature: nearby food. All the information about schools that is accessible via OneSchool, including the directories, is public information that is already available via the schools’ Web sites.
One of the founders of OneSchool, David Adewumi, explained that its not just the gap that Facebook left behind that inspired the app, but his realization that the at least half of the current and next generation of college students will connect to the Internet via a smart phone. OneSchool solves the problem of segmented resources critical for college students — and makes it easier to find things like course information without spending several minutes clicking through the college’s Web site. And the app, which has only been in development since June, has already proven to be a huge success at major universities. After only launching at Penn State at the beginning of this school year, over 6,000 students use the app at least once a week. OneSchool is now available to 101 universities and colleges, with 75 more immediately on the way. They have also opened up an API so developers can help make OneSchool even more useful for college students.
Adewumi says the goal of OneSchool is simple: make it easy for any student, anywhere, to access the information they need on any device — including the Web. And with recent financial backing from Dave McClure as part the 500 Startups accelerator program, OneSchool is well on its way to making that goal a reality.
What to check if your school is already supported by OneSchool? Just visit the OneSchool Web site to view the complete list. If your school isn’t featured, you can email OneSchool to request to be added next.