Wallingford resident creates business to help students with college applications

Wallingford resident creates business to help students with college applications


File Photo - Denisha Kuhlor, 17, of Wallingford works on a computer at The HUBCAP Wallingford on Center St. in Wallingford, Friday, July 11, 2014. Kuhlor, a student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in Bronx, N.Y., created a small business called, “Plucked.” The company aims to make the college application process easier and more affordable for high school students. | Dave Zajac / Record-Journal

WALLINGFORD — A 17-year-old college student and town resident, who recently started her own business, is the first to sign up and work out of the town’s small business incubator, the Hubcap.

Denisha Kuhlor, a student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx, N.Y., created Plucked, which aims to ease the college application process and make it more affordable for high school students.

The idea, Kuhlor said, came to her during her senior year at the Academy of Aerospace & Engineering, a Capital Region Education Council magnet school based in Hartford, when she had to complete a capstone project by the end of the year.

“I’m a recent graduate and just graduated high school,” Kuhlor said. “I went through the application process myself.”

Plucked is an online company and allows high school students to sign up and create social network-like profiles, Kuhlor said. The students upload their official transcripts and include other important details, including screenshots of their SAT and ACT scores.

“They get an account and they can search for colleges based on their preferences,” she said. “They can review any colleges they’re interested in and if there’s a mutual interest from the school, their information is sent to the college.”

Vincenzo Landino, a co-founder of the Hubcap, 128 Center St., said Kuhlor’s business allows high school students to apply to colleges using a familiar interface.

“The concept is fantastic,” Landino said. “This is a display of Denisha’s creativity, but it’s really solving a need for this millennial generation, where they crave that social network-style interaction with everything.”

When the information is sent to a college, there is no charge for the students, Kuhlor said. When a student is applying to a college, there is generally a fee associated with the application. When she was applying to colleges, Kuhlor said she discovered a growing trend.

“I applied to over 30 schools and I didn’t pay application fees for any — just because I didn’t want to and I wanted to find a way to waive the fee,” she said. “I found out that a lot of schools send students free applications anyway. It’s actually a trend in college enrollment, where schools are waiving the fees and sending applications.”

Plucked doesn’t just help students, Landino said, but also colleges — specifically with marketing.

“When we first interviewed her, her biggest thing was that schools don’t do a good job of marketing themselves to students,” he said. “So she wanted to change that. For someone her age to consider that, never mind she just graduated high school and is going to college and everything else she’s got going on, she’s really dedicated and is really giving 100 percent of her time.”

Kuhlor heard about the Hubcap and was immediately interested because of the accessibility and the opportunity to work with Landino and Wallingford Center Inc. Executive Director Liz Landow.

“It just seemed like a great fit, especially the mentorship they offer — that was the final decision maker for me,” she said. “Being so young — it’s not that I don’t know much about business — but I can be mentored and that led me to being signed up with Hubcap.”

Kuhlor launched a website last week, which gives interested students an opportunity to try Plucked. The students can visit the website at http://www.pluckedadmissions.org and request an invite.

She’ll continue working on the company when she goes to school in the fall, but will return to the Hubcap when she’s home. While she’s new to the Hubcap, Landow was glad to have her there.

“She’s a great young lady with so much energy,” she said. “It’s a great idea and it’s nice because it’s youths helping youths. It’s great and exciting for us and she’s a perfect fit.”

evo@record-journal.com Twitter: @EricVoRJ

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