My Mexican American daughter came to me some years ago with a simple question; “If Silicon Valley were so smart why can’t they come up with an answer to help more of my friends graduate on time and get into college?” So we began a journey to address this need from the perspective and urgency of a startup located here in the Bay Area. As described by one of our advisors from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Admissions, Diversity & Inclusion Office Dr. Joseph Brown:
“I work with first-generation and low-income (FLI) Students and often talk to groups of prospective FLI high school Students about the college application process. I am aware of the challenges that face these Students in that process and the difficulties colleges face recruiting them, and today the pressure to recruit FLI Students is greater than at any other time in the last fifty years.”
College Recruiters generally have no visibility into specific prospective qualified Students and are unable to evaluate them with validated data prior to the SAT exam. This challenge is even more daunting with the average ratio of Students to Counselors in California at 760 to 1! As College Recruiters contact high school Counselors for candidates, this problem of recruiting under-matched Students within a compressed 12 month time frame puts undue pressure on everyone.
So we created a company in an attempt to bring this interface into the 21st century, to solve the pain point of each constituency to college. Essentially to help Counselors manage their caseloads with a productivity tool, the technology also allowing College Recruiters to recruit students like star athletes, contact Counselors, Students and Parents much earlier in the process.
“Siembra provides one solution to the “under-matching” problem identified by Stanford economist Caroline Hoxby in that recruiters can use the platform to educate Counselors, Students, and Parents about a student's 'fit' for a given college thus countering the tendency of some counselors to recommend local colleges that are a “known” quantity and to fail to recognize that more selective colleges might actually offer a more affordable and more stimulating education.”
Siembra thus would easily allow a more effective recruiting, of first-gen and/or low-income Students, Students from underrepresented minority groups, Students interested in the humanities, or Students fitting any number of characteristics of interest to a college. In fact, the mother of invention allows more effective recruiting for ALL students.
The name of our company Siembra is Spanish for “to plant and to harvest" inspired by Grammy Artist Ruben Blades, a graduate of Harvard University.