Chemical engineering student makes college search easier through website

Lauren Blum
March 14, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Choosing the perfect university can be a difficult decision for many high school students, but Stanley Chan, a senior chemical engineering student, is working to make the process a little easier.

In a research lab under Darrell Velegol, Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chan developed, a website that points students to a selection of schools best suited for them.

By using an algorithm and statistical methods, Chan developed a system for the website where students choose a few universities or colleges that interest them to provide background. Then, the computer recognizes what the students like based on their choices and suggests new schools for them to consider.

The students can then research the schools and use the website’s calculator as many times as they want until they settle on a list of options that seem like good matches, Chan said.

Though Chan was able to have the website up and running in under four months, he said he only learned to program computers a little over a year ago. Now with only a few months until graduation in May, Chan is preparing for his upcoming career with Capital One as a software engineer.

“Stan is exactly the type of student we hope to have graduate from here,” Velegol said. “He’s never had a computer programming course and taught himself the whole thing. He was able to build on what we have been doing in our lab group with a previous student, and move the project forward.”

Chan said the website attracted high school students during the last application season including his younger sister, who will graduate from high school in a few months. Though Chan said his sister was fairly certain about which university she wanted to attend, helped solidify that she made the right choice and allowed her friends to do the same.

Chan said he will continue to work on the website in the future, but for now he is trying to promote it to friends and teachers so more high school students can benefit from it.

“The reason we made this website is that we were frustrated when we were in high school because we didn’t have anything like this to guide us to what colleges we should go to,” Chan said. “I really want to help kids learn more about colleges and find the right match.”

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Last Updated March 17, 2016