by Max Clark, co-founder
When we started UpperCampus, Greg, Adam, and I approached this new venture from two perspectives:
From a business and technology perspective, having built and sold enterprise technology used by millions to some of the world's largest brands and thinking that the same level of scalability should exist for career readiness, and
As fathers that wanted to create a better career pathway for our children.
So we set off to build UpperCampus, a Career Learning and Success Platform for students. We were fortunate to have both high schools and colleges offer to be beta partners after hearing our mission. With those early beta schools came a very eager and enthusiastic group of students, and with that we found that we were not only building new solutions for students and faculty, but we were building it with them as well.
Like everyone else, in early 2020 we had no idea what was on the horizon in the coming months and how it would impact our lives in so many different ways. As schools began to send students home to finish the semester remotely, we were unsure what the immediate impact would be for counselors, CTE faculty, career services, and the students at our partner schools. As many of them made the transition, new high schools and colleges slowly started reaching out to us to explore alternative solutions to assist their students, who were no longer walking into their offices on a daily basis. West coast, Midwest, Northeast– schools from multiple states were looking for ways to engage their students wherever, whenever; ideally, on their mobile devices. From lounging on the couch to sitting at the dinner table with their parents, UpperCampus enables students to quickly explore endless colleges, majors, companies, and careers, far beyond what they had been exposed to in their immediate network.
As the semester wound down, we got to work preparing the launch of new features for the fall. We met with over 100 new schools and spoke with guidance counselors, CTE teachers, career services offices, alumni relations, and other departments. Working with both college faculty and high school counselors, we developed a number of new product features and resources, including our UpperCampus Career Playbook.
Designed to be used with the UpperCampus platform, Playbook is a guide that includes best practices and practical exercises for counselors and teachers to implement with their students to expand their college and career awareness. The three primary modules–self discovery, career exploration and future planning– deliver numerous creative, bite-sized exercises that can be used as interactive resources throughout the semester. We launched the Playbook with 150 beta users from the New York City public school system and the feedback has been terrific:
"Honestly, I had no idea that half of these careers existed. I'm a high school junior right now and just knowing that I might be interested in something helps me understand what colleges I should be looking at."
-Jasmine, High School Junior, Bronx, NY
And as it has been since the beginning, we will continue to provide this resource to schools and students for free as part of our mission to level the playing field for all students, regardless of their socioeconomic background, the resources that they have access to, or their school budgets.