||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2012)|
|Industry||Publishing, College Guidance|
|Founded||August 9, 2002|
|Key people||Luke Skurman, Founder and CEO|
College Prowler is an American company founded on August 9, 2002 by Carnegie Mellon graduate Luke Skurman as an alternative to school-published brochures and websites.The company creates online guides written by current college students, for prospective college students, giving an insider's view. Student writers use surveys to gather hundreds of student opinions and reviews, then offer "grades" on all aspects of campus life at each school.
History & Current Status
The company was established in 2002 by Carnegie Mellon University graduates. It began as a project in an entrepreneurship class at CMU's Tepper School of Business and was expanded by co-founders Luke Skurman, Joey Rahimi, Christina Koshzow, Christopher Mason, Jason Putorti, and Omid Gohari. In 2005, College Prowler was recognized by Fast Company (magazine) for being one of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the nation, and in 2006, partnered with AOL. As of April 2012, College Prowler has nearly 400,000 reviews on over 7,700 schools in the United States. In addition to student reviews, College Prowler gives out more than $50,000 in scholarships every year to current and prospective students. College Prowler originally began as a publisher of individual school guidebooks, eventually expanding with a yearly compendium edition covering over 400 schools.
While the company has always operated a website, it was originally used to promote and sell the guidebooks. In 2007, College Prowler shifted its efforts to the online format, restricting access to content with a paid subscription. Users were able to navigate content only with their paid account which limited many students from reading the reviews, rankings, and scholarships. In 2012, College Prowler made the decision to forego all physical books based on the growing demand for e-books and online content. In mid-2009, College Prowler dropped paid subscriptions and opened the website to all users as a free college search service.
Content and Publication Types
College Prowler content comes from current students attending academic institutions from across the United States and some international areas. The student author represents his or her school, supplying a subjective view of what the campus is really like. In addition to writing content for their school’s guidebook, student authors are also responsible for surveying their fellow peers and gathering anonymous feedback, which College Prowler users can then read to get an idea of what current students think about different aspects of the school. There are two types of College Prowler single-school guidebooks: traditional and career. In addition to the single-school guidebooks, College Prowler also produced The Big Book of Schools, a 1,000-page compendium of single schools. College Prowler has also produced books such as Urban Guru (a guide to life in Pittsburgh) and Ultimate Hoops Guide - Marquette University.
In a 2008 scandal which came to be known as "Facebookgate", hundreds of spurious "Class of 2013" groups were created on Facebook for the purpose of promoting College Prowler. Such groups would normally be created by actual students or colleges themselves for purposes of social networking. According to the CEO, "The original purpose was to use these groups as a way to inform students that they can access a free guide about their new college on our site." He also added, "No employee or anyone else associated with College Prowler has used these groups to send out messages or wall posts." College Prowler later removed all administrative access from the 125 groups, admitting "It was clearly over the line".
Luke Skurman (born 1980) is the Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of College Prowler. Born and raised in San Francisco, California, he holds a B.S. from the Tepper School of Business and an M.S. from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University. He has been featured in Inc. Magazine as one of its "30 under 30: America's Coolest Young Entrepreneurs" and BusinessWeek's "Best Entrepreneurs Under 25."
Christina Koshzow (born June 1, 1980) is a branding consultant and co-founder of Branding Brand, a company which began as an interactive marketing firm but has since shifted its focus to be a provider of mCommerce sites and apps for corporate clients.
- The Electronic Lowdown on Colleges - The New York Times
- Pop City - College Prowler partners with AOL, launches blog and video site
- Facebookgate, the 2010 editionThe Washington Post
- Company Created Official-Looking 'Class of 2013' Facebook Groups for Hundreds of Colleges - Chronicle of Higher Education
- Branding a Winner - Carnegie Mellon University