| Share

One-stop Web Portal Developed to Help Students Enter University

University admissions and higher education consultancy debuts game-changing web portal to get students to the right U


A Singapore-based start-up, theRightU, has developed a comprehensive suite of web-based tools, comprising a website, online discussion forum and mobile app, to assist pre-university students in applying to and preparing for university studies (specialising in the UK and Australia), effectively becoming an industry leader in the education counselling and consulting sector.


Conceived by former researcher Chan Khai Leok, a PhD-holder from Cambridge University in the UK, and his friend Sean Quek, who graduated with an MBA from Harvard University in the US, theRightU aims to help youths keen on pursuing higher education adapt to and capitalise on the shifting trends within the education sector to achieve their aspirations.


In recent years, the growing demand for higher education, fierce competition among Singaporean youths as well as non-citizen pre-university students for limited places in government-endorsed universities has resulted in many fairly competent students falling through the cracks of the local education system.


For example, the number of students leaving Singapore to study in the UK has risen 10-18% every annum from 2008 to 2012, hitting a record high of 4840 last year,


As an outcome, there exists a significantly large pool of youths interested in pursuing higher education who would have to try their luck with foreign varsities; a path which might not initially appeal to them.


“One of the reasons why the Singapore education system is so stressful is the limited number of university places here. If Singaporean parents are aware that there are many university choices available, and that the cost of university education overseas is not that expensive, I think they wouldn’t stress their kids out so much, and would give them more space and time to grow and learn at their own pace.”

- Dr Chan Khai Leok


Additionally, a lack of exposure to information on the wide range of (in some cases, slightly more obscure) degree programmes available internationally means that many Singaporean youths would not have been able to make fully-informed decisions on their higher education preferences, by no fault of their own.


theRightU's one-stop-portal, theRightU.com, aims to resolve this problem by means of consolidating large quantities of information and providing analytics/analysis via data-crunching tools that students and staff can use, which empowers the individual and creates a dynamic research experience.


Youths will have full access to comprehensive online databases, which will allow them to conduct research on varsities (including theRightU’s twenty university partners), courses and career options independently before approaching a theRightU consultant for personalised coaching and application support.


One of the more unique characteristics of theRightU.com is the academic and interest profiling feature, which formulates customised résumés, containing a set of course and career preferences alongside academic details provided by users.


These internal résumés can be used to algorithmically determine course and university eligibility, admission probabilities and referred to for recommendations for specific degree programmes.  


Also, there will be no shortage of opportunities for students to pick the brains of theRightU staff members, all of whom have lived and studied abroad, not only in person but through the myriad of social media platforms utlilised by theRightU.


Two other highlights among the services provided by theRightU include a forum and a mobile app.


Via the forum, students will be able to communicate with their peers, exchange insight on academic matters and get any technical questions answered by theRightU consultants.


The ever-changing nature of socio-economics coupled with the state’s drive to promote certain sectors/industries over others means that the popularity of degree programmes, universities and jobs is not likely to remain constant, and education consultancies have to be able to be nimble enough to adapt quickly to these morphing trends.


Through sentiment crowdsourcing and analysis via the forum as well as data collection, theRightU hopes to stay ahead of the curve with the information and resources it provides.


The mobile app is presently available for free in iTunes under the name theRightU – University Application Forecasting, and has been used about 30,000 times since its public launch in January 2013.


This nifty toolassesses admission probabilities by analysing applicants' academic grades and subject preferences against a variety of factors such as universities' entry requirements, historical university acceptance rates and crowd-sourced application success rates.


Studying overseas has never been easier. There are a lot more universities now that take in students from abroad. There are more grants, scholarships and student loan schemes available, including the CPF Education Scheme. Tuition fees of universities in some countries such as Germany can be as low as S$1000 per year - much lower than that of local universities. The Sing Dollar has also appreciated significantly against the Euro, the Pound and the US Dollar. So it’s cheaper, better, and there are more choices.


- Dr Chan Khai Leok


Ultimately, theRightU hopes that by making university education more accessible, it can contribute to youth and societal development as well as continue to innovate within the realm of education technology.



What is theRightU?


theRightU is an online university admissions and higher education consultancy based in Singapore, operating with the expertise of management-level staff and agents who have had experience living overseas and studying at top varsities.


The consultancy provides comprehensive university admissions diagnostics and personalised education counselling/coaching through the use of technology and social media platforms, such as its forum and one-of-a-kind University Application Forecasting mobile app.


Its core business is centred upon offering overseas university placement services as a certified education agent, having being awarded the UK Education Agent Training Certificate, recognised as a PIER Qualified Education Agent Counsellor, listed as a registered UCAS Application Centre and accepted as a member of the British Council (Singapore) IELTS Partnership Scheme.


Foundered upon the premise that higher education should be made accessible to a wider section of society, theRightU hopes to help youths keen on pursuing higher education adapt to and capitalise on the shifting trends within the education sector to achieve their aspirations.


Website: www.therightu.com 

Forum: forum.therightu.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/therightu

Mobile App: www.therightu.com/app


Who’s running the show?


CHAN Khai Leok – Director | Winner of the 2011 Spirit of Enterprise Award and Co-Founder of CRC Group, a media services and production company. He holds an MSc in Natural Science and PhD in Chemistry from Cambridge University, where he was a Gates Scholar.


Sean QUEK – Director | Adjunct Professor at Singapore Management University and Co-Founder of MotionElements, an online marketplace for digital artists. He holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MBA from Harvard University.


MOH Hon Meng Technology Consultant | Co-Founder of Fundsupermart.com (now known as iFast Corporation) and CEO of Estatebuzz, a technology firm dedicated to developing locality-based resource sharing tools and activities.


Why was theRightU established?


theRightU was conceived to address the rising numbers of students opting to leave Singapore to pursue higher education. Notably, the number of students heading to UK and US has risen by 33% over the past 3 years.


Demand has been fuelled by a rise in the number of local students eager to pursue further education, coupled with the limited number of university places in Singapore.

Options for tertiary education from the private sector has also fallen following the recent introduction of the Private Education Act which tightened the highly unregulated private education institutions (PEIs) sector and resulted in a sharp drop in the number of private schools - from 700 in 2009 to 350 in 2012.


There is also a growing number of foreign students in Singapore furthering their education abroad. Over the past decade, Singapore has developed its reputation as a choice destination for education with initiatives such as the Global Schoolhouse Project and Singapore Education Initiative.


One of the objectives of the aforementioned policy plans was to increase the number of foreign students coming to Singapore by 64% over a period of 5 years from 2010.


On the other hand, new policies were introduced at local government-endorsed universities such as NUS, NTU, SMU and SUTD to reduce the number of places for foreign students from 20% in 2010 to 15% by 2015. This constraint has been felt by foreign pre-university students studying in Singapore.


With more local and foreign youth in Singapore heading overseas as a result, theRightU's founders envisioned a need for qualified professionals who had the experience and expertise to provide higher education consulting through innovative web-based tools for pre-university students unwilling to leave their university education to chance.


How is theRightU different from other education agents?



Traditional Education Agency


Quality of advice depends on consultants' experience, memory and patience, and may be subject to personal bias.

Comprehensive databases and online tools ensure consultants and students alike have constant access to accurate information.

Rigid face-to-face model requires students to schedule consultations within working hours, which might be an impediment for students with time/scheduling constraints.

In addition to consultation sessions (which can be arranged and will take place on-site at theRightU's office, located in the City Hall vicinity), students will be able to use theRightU's online platform and proprietary tools to conduct research at their convenience.

Reduced capacity for service given that every consultant can only meet with a limited number of students per day.


Consultations are more efficiently conducted because online portal and proprietary tools would have allowed students to prepare themselves independently.    

One-way advice from consultants.


Advice branded under theRightU banner can be verified and can be augmented by the use of built-in social networking features for crowdsourcing, which is aligned with how youths interact as well as process information.

Universities are unable to observe or audit consultations.

Universities can easily audit information shared online, evaluate the efficacy of proprietary tools and resolve any issues that might arise with theRightU.



Why is theRightU.com so special?


  • theRightU.com is a one-stop website for higher education-oriented information - The consolidation of vast quantities of data pertaining to universities and higher education available on the web portal means that students will not have to trawl the internet excessively to sift through and make sense of information related to universities, degree programmes and career options in order to make an informed decision on furthering their studies.


  • Users get a customised résumé on theRightU.com that will optimise research and admission success - Customised résumés are created by processing a set of course and career preferences alongside academic details which are provided by users. The customised résumés are then used to algorithmically determine course and university eligibility, admission probabilities and can be referred to for recommendations for specific degree programmes.

  • The information collation and analysis presented on theRightU.com is extensive - Users will have access to a wealth of data, including that of the overall rankings of listed universities, tuition fees, entry grades, admission probabilities, recommended courses, cost of living (including how much a bottle of beer, cup of coffee or movie ticket would set one back in the city within which the selected university is located).


  • Students can apply to a host of universities using one form through theRightU.com -To minimise hassle, students will be able to apply to universities with the assistance and expertise of qualified theRightU education consultants by digitally completing a single form via the web portal. Additionally, students will also have access to a tracking system which will allow them to monitor their applications from submission to admission outcome.


·       -  theRightU.com has incorporated a strong social networking element within the web portal - Logging in to the website through Facebook will allow users to interact with their Facebook friends in theRightU.com universe in a way that would give them insight on degree programmes and universities that are popular with their peers. For instance, users will be able to view courses and institutions that have been favourited/earmarked by their friends for further consideration

What are some quick facts about theRightU?


  1. theRightU was established in 2012.
  2. To date, theRightU has partnered 20 universities in UK and Australia and works closely with them to secure suitable candidates from Singapore for their degree programmes.
  3. theRightU launched its University Application Forecasting mobile app in January 2013; the app was featured in Mediacorp news programmes and has been used 30000 times so far.