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App-le—the college application app


College is often one of the biggest shifts in a young person's life. Students from disadvantaged backgrounds—i.e., those without access to resources like tutoring or test prep—are automatically less prepared to meet the challenges associated with the college application process.


App-le is a free app connecting carefully-vetted mentors with high school students in need of guidance through the college application process. By providing this service, App-le hopes to:


1) even the playing field for students from low-income backgrounds


2) demystify the application process through low-pressure learning and hands-on mentorship 


School (team)


Apr 2020 (4 weeks)


Figma, Lucidchart


Concept mapping, systems thinking, storyboarding, brand design, prototyping

Frame 53.png


Our process fell into the following stages: A) research pain points for college applicants, B) design the app's system, and C) design the app's UI.

The problem—an uneven playing field

Video presentation of problem space

Secondary research

First, we did some secondary research to establish the basis of our problem: a lack of resources or information (concerning the application process) for students of disadvantaged backgrounds.  

App-le research brief

Research, visualized

Next, I created two BOT (behavior over time) graphs and a feedback loop, while my teammate created a stock and flow diagram. These showed various facets of the problem space. 

Diagrams showing research

Problem Statement

How might we balance the resources received by students from marginalized communities to those from more privileged backgrounds so that they have an equal chance of applying to and attending college? 

User research, persona, journey map

Lastly, we interviewed two recent high school graduates to form our persona, Lucy. With her needs and goals in mind, we constructed a journey map that tracked her progress throughout the college application process WITHOUT our product's help. This allowed us to get a realistic birds-eye view of the experience and uncover opportunities that would allow us to smooth the process.


The solution—App-le

Concept model

Before designing the physical app, we defined App-le's system with a concept model, describing its users, services, funding, and competitors. This model was created by me with input from my teammate.