A Startup that Simplifies School Selection for International Students


Katie-Fang- schoolinks
Katie Fang is the definition of cosmopolitan. The founder of school aggregation website SchooLinks left her hometown in China at age 12 and has since studied in four different countries. However, the lack of resources available to international students complicated her school selection process.

Fang’s struggles inspired her to found SchooLinks, a school search resource geared towards international students. International applicants to Western schools often rely on expensive—and occasionally fraudulent—consultants in order to identify appropriate targets.

SchooLinks aims to simplify the school selection process by aggregating information on thousands of universities, high schools and language schools. Prospective applicants can browse and compare user reviews and various statistical indicators, which are converted into an overall evaluation of each school. In an era of globalized education, Fang hopes that SchooLinks can help international students find schools that fit their needs.

The young entrepreneur recently took time to answer questions from Founder’s Guide.


What motivated you to found SchooLinks?

I left my home when I was 12 years old. Since then, I’ve studied in four different countries. I found the application process to be really complicated, from the perspective of an international student, but when I mastered the fundamentals, my friends and family members started asking me for help. That’s when I had an “aha” moment, which inspired me to start SchooLinks after graduating from college last year. SchooLinks is basically an online education platform that connects students with high schools, language schools, and universities from around the world. Our website is free to use and offers scholarships, links to consultancies, virtual tours of college campuses and more.

Did you have any struggles at first?

When you’re starting a new business, it can be tough to find team members who are as passionate about your company’s goal as you are. That was definitely a struggle at the beginning but it’s something I’m used to now.

How did this impact your approach to business?

At first I was really stressed out about who to hire. In order to overcome this, I had potential interns and employees undergo a trial period so I could evaluate their work ethic and commitment to SchooLink’s growth.

How do you intend to change users’ approach to education and the application process?

There are multiple things we hope to change, but currently our focus is on helping international students understand the college search process and connecting them with the right school. We also want students to realize that there are many great schools they can attend outside of the Ivy League or top 50 schools. Normally students go after the well-known schools, but those often aren’t the best options. Sometimes it’s better to attend a small school where you can interact more with professors and that caters to your specific career goals.

When did you formally launch SchooLinks? In what countries do you have a presence?

We launched in September 2014. We are an online platform with schools from around the world and have a presence in numerous countries. Our hope is to connect students with educational opportunities all around the world, not just the United States.

What are the major milestones and achievements of your company?

We now have over 2,000 schools managing their profiles on SchooLinks and we receive 500,000 views per month. We’re experiencing rapid growth right now.

Do you have any big plans or projects in the pipeline?

We’re currently working on a mobile app for SchooLinks so students can access their profile wherever they go.

What’s your big vision?

Our vision is to provide access to detailed higher education information for students all around the world so they can make the decision that is right for them. We will always look to advance our platform with new features and additions, to increase the number of valuable resources and tools for students to use in their search for a great education opportunity.
FG International Associate Writer
Chris is a suburban kid from Connecticut who relocated to Tokyo two years ago. He is currently studying Japanese and giving the "startup thing" a shot.