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Startup OneSchool officially launches social utilities apps for 8 college campuses

by Phil Hornshaw

There’s a whole lot of information to parse through when attending college on any given day, but one startup is looking to make mobile information for students on college campuses a little easier to reach.

OneSchool, an app for Google’s Android operating system, as well as Apple’s iOS platform and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, gathers public information about schools and makes it available in an online format accessible using smartphones, as TechCrunch reports. Right now, the app is available to students with a “.edu” college-issued email address, and covers eight campuses: Penn State, Stanford, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Houston and the University of Waterloo.

The OneSchool app was created by a group of college students – the company’s oldest executive is 24 – in an attempt to aggregate useful information for college students into one place. So OneSchool is part online information aggregate, part social network: it lists things like bus routes, course offerings, sports and local restaurants, but it also provides a social section similar to Facebook’s “Wall” feature and the ability to form groups with other users. OneSchool CEO David Adewumi said the idea for the app came to him when he noticed how much students were using their smartphones as means of gathering information in every aspect of their college lives, with students even snapping photos of homework questions and texting their friends for help.

There aren’t partnerships between OneSchool and the colleges it currently supports. Instead, OneSchool draws on public information and brings it all into one place that’s easily accessible for its users. The company also says it has some 150 schools it’s looking to support after gauging demand, and is potentially thinking about adding crowdsourcing tools that would allow users to add information about their schools themselves, making it easier to bring OneSchool online for new schools faster.

It seems like OneSchool has found an empty niche that it can fill out very well. Of the 4,300 universities in the U.S. Adewumi told TechCrunch, only about 270 have dedicated mobile apps, and those apps don’t always include all the information students really need. Meanwhile, the company estimates that a huge portion of students at Penn State, the first school the app supported, have downloaded the app. OneSchool thinks that about 83 percent of Android- and iPhone-using students have downloaded the app, which accounts for about 16,000 downloads out of 31,000 students. At the other schools, OneSchool figures the download rate is at about 50 percent of the undergraduate student population.

OneSchool is available in the Android Market for free right now. You’ll need a student email address to register with the app once you activate it.