AdmitSee is a startup in the edtech space that provides users access to a database of successful college application essays and resumes. The service is a goldmine of data. Users are permitted to “unlock” the profiles of successful applicants in a variety of ways. They can purchase access to individual profiles à la carte, or they can buy a package that grants access to a vetted and curated series of profiles united by a specific theme. Package offerings include “Class of 2023 Ivy League,” “Accepted Early Decision to Columbia,” and “Yale Class of 2021,” and “Stanford University Favorites.” Unlimited access to the service is $169.00 per year. The platform also benefits students by giving them a small income stream in exchange for commodifying their admissions data. 

While the platform was built with the intention of democratizing access to higher education, the increasing rarity of gaining admission into an elite institution of higher education is also part of what allows this service to flourish and thrive. This drives users to the platform in droves. This is reflective of Cialdini’s principle of scarcity. The website is built on knowledge as capital. Demand for access to college is high, while supply is often kept artificially low. The service is a goldmine of data on the elite college admissions process and democratizes knowledge of the qualities of the ideal applicant. 

The website also uniquely positions students as sources and voices of authority. The success of the applicants positions them as reliable and trustworthy figures who’ve mastered the art of the elite college admissions process. What should you write for your admissions essay? What extracurricular activities should you pursue? How should you best market and position yourself? This is reflective of Cialdini’s principle of authority, which states that people tend to follow the opinions and feedback of experts — in this case, students who have survived the increasingly competitive elite college admissions process. Ultimately, the company thrives with its masterful business model.