Nigerian startup StudySearch has launched an online platform aiming to disrupt the higher-education market, providing support and personal advice for students wishing to study abroad.
StudySearch allows students hoping to attend higher education institutes overseas to connect with a network of current students and alumni of education establishments across the world, and ask for help and guidance in choosing a school, and on the application process.
In an interview with Disrupt Africa, co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of StudySearch Frederik Obasi said the aim of the online platform is to help Africa’s students to make the best choices concerning their education, and to help them access study opportunities outside of their home country.
“The concept behind StudySearch is simple. Our mission is to help students make the best decision about their study options,” Obasi said.
“A burgeoning middle class and fast growing population across Africa means there is an increase in the demand for quality education. Africa is amongst the fastest growing regions for globally mobile students, as African students are choosing to further their education both overseas, and within the continent, outside of their home country,” he said.
“We want to help this new wave of globally minded students make the best decision about their future and we’re doing this the only way we know how, building software and connecting people.”
Students hoping to study abroad log in to StudySearch, and fill out a form detailing the subject and school they would like to attend, and explaining what they need feedback and help with; as well as stating how much they are willing to pay for help.
A network of “peer advisors” – current students and alumni – respond with offers to become the applicant’s advisor.
According to Obasi, current and recent students at education establishments are the best – and most underutilised – tool for those applying to study abroad, as they can provide advice and support based on their own experiences of the application and studying process.
“The study abroad process is fragmented, confusing and expensive,” Obasi says.
“The most underutilised and probably the best source for information on applying, studying and living abroad is current students and alumni,” he says.
“Using the StudySearch advisor network, prospective students can instantly connect with current students and alumni for advice and support that’s transparent, unbiased and free. All advisors are rated by the students they assist.”
In a bid to increase its network of peer advisors, StudySearch is currently recruiting for new advisors at education institutes worldwide. Obasi says demand focuses on Europe, North America and Asia, although interest in intra-African study is also growing on the network.