Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him a Josh Ong is the US Editor at The Next Web. He previously worked as TNW's China Editor and LA Reporter. Follow him on Twitter or email him at [email protected].
China-based interview platform InitialView is seeing significant adoption in the US, with 38 out of the top 50 American universities now accepting its unscripted video interviews.
We last checked in with the startup in August 2012 after it had brought on its first universities as supporting organizations. They’ve since helped students and job seekers include their video interviews in thousands of applications.
InitialView Founder and CEO Terry Crawford told The Next Web that the company’s interviews are now accepted by most of the top universities and liberal arts schools, as ranked by US News & World Report. Based on early admission responses from this year, applicants that included a link to their InitialView interviews have a more than 50% higher acceptance rate compared to those who didn’t.
Western universities have been seeing a flood of applicants from China. We’re hearing reports that year-on-year applications at some undergraduate programs in the States are up as much as 50%.
However, fraud is a serious issue for these universities. A recent report from The Financial Times details the advanced certificate forgeries that business schools have been receiving from Chinese candidates. One study by Zinch China from 2010 suggested that 90% of recommendation letters, 70% of essays and 50% of high school transcripts coming out of China had been tampered with, if not outright forged.
InitialView believes that its unedited interviews allow admissions officers a quick and easy way to size up their candidates. University adoption has also been helped by the fact that students choose to pay for the interviews, so it’s no cost to the institution. InitialView has also built a proprietary player to let viewers jump around between questions.
“I think there’s no question that admission officers are seeing the value of interviews in evaluating applicants from China. The Chinese educational system is so different—and so dominated by agents who are more than happy to help forge documents—that interviews are both an insurance against fraud and a way for top students to add credibility to their applications,” Crawford said.
With its successes at the university level, InitialView is also reaching out to secondary schools and prep schools in North America to tackle that market. It recently brought on board David Wivell, a former Director of International Admission and Student Programs at Northfield Mount Hermon, as its Head of Secondary School Relations.
“While some secondary school solutions look similar, InitialView is the only one that has already been proven at the college level. Good boarding schools are run very much like small colleges, and I know distinguished secondary schools will appreciate that InitialView is used by prestigious higher education institutions,” Wivell said in a statement.
Founded in 2009, InitialView has raised a round of seed funding and is currently raising additional investment.
The startup may have a nice cycle ahead for itself as new school partnerships attract more students, which will in turn catch the attention of more schools. The growing trend of Chinese students making their way overseas to study doesn’t appear to be letting up anytime soon, so InitialView is well on it way to grabbing an early lead in its industry.
Image credit: George Doyle
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