Our inspiration to make this app was students. With a few seniors in our team of five, we quickly realized that searching for and finding colleges can be intimidating. With the COVID-19 pandemic going on, we realized that it was even harder to gather information about colleges as it is hard to meet with college advisors. We utilized this as an opportunity to help. We wanted to assist students that were in the process of searching for colleges, especially those that didn’t have a lot of time.
What it does
College Atlas uses user selections to sort and filter over six thousand post-secondary institutions to generate a custom list of matching colleges. The application then allows the user to look through matching institutions for information such as tuition, geographical location, and other campus information. If the user finds a college they want to learn more about, they can save colleges to be viewed at a later time.
How we built it
We built this application using MIT App Inventor and GitHub. We used MIT App Inventor to code and make changes to the application and we used GitHub to manage our program workflow, allowing us to share, improve, and approve new code efficiently, and without any problems.
Challenges we ran into
Our biggest challenges while creating this app were having to work with team members who we’ve never met before and finding a time to meet up and discuss the application process together. All five of us have only been together at the same time for at most three meetings. We’ve had many meetings in between, but we all couldn’t meet at those times. Discussing plans for our app, such as the design, code, etc. was all difficult due to this. We also had difficulties learning new platforms such as MIT App Inventor and GitHub which were essential to creating a successful program. However, we constantly communicated through Discord and worked hard to surmount these obstacles.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
First and foremost, we are proud that we were able to finish the app, amid all of the challenges we faced in the process. We were able to successfully complete the idea we had for our app, only making changes for improvements, and not because we were unable to find a solution. We were also able to incorporate key features after the initial development of our app in order to create an untroubled user-interface. Our team has worked through these turbulent times, and we were able to get to know one another, work together, and learn.
What we learned
We learned how to operate amongst the schedule of others and work around timings as well as how to better communicate, and to hold each other accountable as we have all been needed for some part of the app. We also learned the fundamentals of using GitHub and MIT App Inventor along with other software and hardware products to assist in the making of our app. Most importantly, however, we learned that it’s possible to work together with people we’ve never met before and still make an outstanding app while doing it completely virtually.
What's next for College Atlas
We plan to continue the development of College Atlas as an open-sourced project and in time, release the application on popular Android stores such as the Google Play, Samsung Galaxy Store, etc.