Published: 29th September 2020
This Pune duo's student mentorship platform will help you get into your dream courses in colleges abroad
Along with customised assistance, Application Ally also provides counselling to individuals throughout their application process, with a series of workshops to support self-learning
A start-up founded by two enterprising minds during the nationwide lockdown imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic, Application Ally is a student mentorship platform, where students are aided to translate their unique individual stories into their overseas university applications with professionalism and a lot of customisation. The brainchild of Arya Diwase and Anushka Desai, the process is unique and derived from the founders’ own experiences. Starting from the research about their best-fitted colleges to post-admission requirements, this start-up helps students get into their desired undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at their dream schools abroad. Along with customised assistance, Application Ally also provides counselling to individuals for extracurricular support, alumni network and interview prep, with a series of workshops to support self-learning.
Arya, who is a New York University graduate in Journalism, Environmental Studies herself, is aiming to build a powerhouse of resources for prospective application with their start-up. "Earlier we were helping students informally with their applications and interviews but after the pandemic hit, we thought we could do something more. When I was applying myself for my courses abroad and reached out to consultants, I was not getting the desired results. Also, international or US consultancies are really unaffordable for a lot of Indian students. I did research, used my contacts in America and saw that what students really need is people who really understand the process, have hands-on experience, studied at these colleges and who are able to provide personalised attention throughout the application process. That's how Application Ally was born," explains Arya.
Adding to that, Anushka says there are a few things for applicants to keep in mind. "It is important to get in touch with faculty,
research the courses you want to go for before you finally decide on something. That's what we try to do at Application Ally. Realising and understanding that everyone's story is unique, thus writing those college essays with unique factors. Our goal is not to secure you just any admit but rather to secure admission to the university that is right for you. We won’t provide you with a pre-designed, overused list of colleges but will gear our research to your particular interests. Not just a good institution based on your marks, but a financial fit, cultural fit for the applicants," she says. Anushka is equipped with a Masters in Understanding Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse from the Goldsmiths University of London and she is a firm believer in experiential learning. She also has training in psychological counselling, which enables her to assist in mental health counselling for the applicants throughout the process.
Moving on to the process of how they aid aspirants from the beginning to the end, Arya explains, "We first have a one-hour long conversation with the student to determine what they are looking for, we tell them what we offer and then go on to researching for colleges to aid them in writing their mission statement. We also have an internal questionnaire that we have prepared for applicants to answer so that we understand where they are coming from, what their learning has been so far and finally what their aim is. What we also focus on majorly is their unique stories. Colleges want to hear about what drives you, your passion, your life story- basically what makes you, you. We help identify the most interesting story to leverage that during the essays, mission statement and more. Our assistance does not end after the admission process is completed, we also negotiate for financial aid for some of our clients. Applicants sometimes do not know that they can negotiate the financial aid some colleges provide and get a better deal for themselves. We help with that too."
Application Ally also conducts numerous workshops based on application topics such as finance, campus, accommodation, interviews and more. Their charges vary across the different packages. However, it begins from Rs 3000 and goes upwards as prices are customised according to what services the applicants or clients want.
Finally, speaking on the current pandemic situation and whether students are willing to go abroad to pursue higher studies, Anushka adds, "A lot of colleges have opened up, we haven't seen a decline of applications yet. People do know that the value of education is higher there and they don't want to compromise on that. We are making our clients aware that this year will be more competitive compared to others, you are not just competing with the students in your cycle but also from the previous cycle who couldn't get in.
To add to that, we all know that education is a sector that never runs out, online/on-campus people are still applying. There has also been a significant rise in the number of applicants in the business, management, public policy courses. Even older people are applying this year as some have not gotten hikes or are aware that there will be no promotions. Education is a safe place to be."