College students know the struggle of registering for classes.
Three Duke students worked through their own frustrations on that front by building ClassRanked, a website that helps students during this process. ClassRanked allows users to search their school’s courses by general education requirements, major requirements, difficulty level and review rankings.
Duke seniors Hayden Hall, Dilan Trivedi and Max Labaton met during their freshman year. They became close friends, living with each other all throughout their college experience. Their inspiration for ClassRanked came when they struggled in late 2018 while registering for classes for the spring semester of 2019.
“The whole process was taking hours and hours of our time,” Hall said. “We’d go to Rate My Professor, we’d talk to friends and we’d reach out to people, we’d go on Facebook groups—it was this whole mess. We realized after taking, seriously, three or four hours registering for class, we were all together and said, There has to be a better way to do this.”
The better way, in their mind, is ClassRanked. Launched in April, the startup currently serves students at Duke and the University of California at Berkeley with plans to expand to UNC Chapel Hill, the University of Pennsylvania and Emory by the end of October. Hall said 80 percent of Duke’s student body and around 25 percent of UC Berkeley’s student body uses ClassRanked.
Hall serves as CEO, while Trivedi is CFO and Labaton the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer.
But, Hall said, ClassRanked merely began as a side project—a way to solve a common problem that college students face.
“It was something we started really as a way to help people, to see if takes off, thinking it would be a fun thing to build—and that was it,” Hall said. “Because I think at the end of the day, people underestimate how exciting it is to just build something. And at the beginning, that was what it was all about. It was about building something cool, exciting, fun, and technically really interesting.”
ClassRanked, which will launch a 2.0 of its website soon, also includes a course recommendation tool based on a user’s major and the previous courses they viewed.
“Ultimately, the more and more I hear from people who have reached out to me and tell me they use the site and it helps them,” Hall said, “or when I’m walking through my school and I see people actually using it, I realize the real impact that we have.”
Several campus ambassadors work for ClassRanked at each school, marketing for other students to populate the site with reviews. All revenue for ClassRanked comes from digital advertisements from brands seeking to get in front of the attractive demo of college students.
Although competitors like Rate My Professor exist, ClassRanked fulfills a niche for when students don’t already know what classes they want to take.
“With our site, you can go there with no idea what class you want to take and you can leave with your full schedule, which is very, very powerful,” Hall said.
Hall, Trivedi and Labaton are still months away from college graduation, but already they hope to scale ClassRanked nationwide. Hall also said he wants to keep adding new functions and features to the site while staying true to their mission of helping students.
“At Duke and some other schools, there have been a lot of comparisons to Yelp in terms of our business model and in terms of what we offer,” Hall said. “I think that’s a pretty apt comparison. We’re kind of the Yelp of college registration.”