When applying for undergraduate universities/colleges, applicants normally face an overwhelming amount of information regarding different schools. To make the process more efficient and information more accessible, we aimed to develop a web application that allows potential applicants to search for basic information of a great number of US universities, including its admission rate, admission requirements, national ranking and tuition, hoping that it could help with their decision making.

What it does

Our app functions in a very simple way: the user just needs to input their admission test scores (SAT/ACT), and the app will recommend three packages of schools (reach, match, safety) according to their probability to get in. Alternatively, the user could directly type the name of a specific university and check all the materials needed for application.

How I built it

We relied on AWS RDS to host our database for US universities and used nodeJS to connect the database (query the information) and webpages (take user input), which were built in HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

Challenges I ran into

  • First time using AWS, ran into many system-related challenges (e.g., creating new DB, inbound rules, uploading local data) while trying to connect.
  • None of us really had much experience in front-end development, and it can be quite challenging to get familiar with HTML, CSS in such a short period of time, especially for 1st year MCITers.
  • Manipulating CSS to fit the webpage into multiple browsers (type, size, float, etc.) is a NIGHTMARE!
  • Needed to get familiar with the express framework under nodeJS and figure out how to code with self-defined variables in HTML.
  • Making webpages coherent with each other in terms of formatting and style; having a modern design considering UI/UX.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

  • Results page is customized to only show historical data for the type of test chosen by the user
  • Merged, cleaned and built a probabilistic model using public data on test scores
  • Contents are hidden on the university recommendation page until the user clicks on the appropriate button, enabling user interaction

What I learned

  • Front-end web development
  • Using nodeJS to connect between backend and frontend
  • Coordinate working schedule across different time zones
  • AWS-related knowledge

What's next for University Finder

  • Include more user inputs such as GPA, preferences, budget, etc.
  • Expand the database to include more universities from other countries and more ranks from other institutions(e.g. US News, QS, THE ranks); Correspondingly, we will need to accommodate for diverse admission scores worldwide (e.g., IB, A-level, GaoKao)
  • Allow for membership sign up and create a wish list of universities that the user wants to apply for
  • Allow users to compare different universities and leave comments on specific universities.
  • Turning it into a mobile app

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