Affordable college planning is typically inaccessible to low- and middle-income high school students, who can benefit from having guidance in making the decision of where—and whether or not—to go to college. Undecided is a mobile app company based in Durham that provides college admissions planning to high school students. Henry Woodbridge, CEO and Founder of Undecided, is a Chapel Hill native who founded his startup in 2021.
“Our mission is to really make high-quality college planning accessible to everyone,” he said.
The startup won a MICRO grant of $10,000 from NC IDEA in the fall of 2021. Other MICRO grant winners in that cycle that we have previously profiled include Bristles, Flow Phantom, Fun Mom Band, Jabin Beverage Co. and MyMatR.
Main Components of the App
- College management tool: Students can manage college lists by categorizing colleges as safety, target, or reach schools, and set reminders for application due dates.
- Guided plan: This includes college planning activities such as completing guided journals about your core values and what you want to accomplish during college. Guided journaling helps students to focus on what their goals are during college and beyond. Students can also learn what the college admissions process is like, how to apply to scholarships and complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), what a work-study program is, and more.
- Advisors: This feature uses an AI chatbot as well as a human advisor to give you advice on how to navigate the college application process. The AI advisor, also known as Deci, makes the college planning journey easier for anyone able to access a phone. Woodbridge is the human advisor for the Undecided app, and was recently certified by the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
Woodbridge realized that there is something wrong with the current system of how high school students are funneled into universities when his freshman year roommate at Guilford College dropped out of college after one semester. This is not unusual since about 40% of people who enroll in college drop out, according to ThinkImpact.
When Woodbridge transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill in his junior year, he struggled to maintain focus in large lecture halls. College fit is an extremely important factor in determining whether a student will succeed, he said.
High school students in the upper quintile of wealth have a 60% probability rate of graduating, compared to the 16% chance those who are in the bottom quintile have, Woodbridge said. This disparity is even apparent at elite universities—you are 50% more likely to graduate if you come from the upper quintile of wealth versus the bottom quintile.
Those who graduate from a college or university are expected to earn about $1 million more than non-graduates. College degrees also increase employment stability drastically, so graduates are less impacted by recessions and can switch career paths more easily than non-graduates. However, the Undecided app also gives you the option to learn about vocational schools, also known as trade schools, if a four-year college is not the right path for you.
Woodbridge was thinking about the positive impact that can come from making this resource accessible to high schoolers when he started his company.
“College planning is the number one reason for stress in high school students,” Woodbridge said.
He is incorporating a freemium model for his startup. The app is free unless people want to pay for subscriptions to access more features. Subscriptions for students and parents will be available within the next two weeks.
Changes to the app will include guided quizzes to choose a college major and to discover what strengths you have academically. Students will also be able to write down the pros and cons of each school.
He is looking to work with product designers to make the app a better experience for users. The Undecided app has about 1,000 users, mostly across the U.S., but also in India, Canada and Great Britain.
Woodbridge is primarily bootstrapping the pre-seed startup, though several angel investors have already come onboard and he is currently talking with potential investors for a more substantial fundraising.