Stanford University students turn the world of college admissions on its head.
Mix in a couple of Edina High School (EHS) graduates and their cousin, who’s a tech genius, and you have AdmitYogi—the online college admissions platform that is snapping up awards across the college entrepreneurship circuit. AdmitYogi is part of Stanford University’s StartX program and has won awards in pitch competitions nationwide. And now it’s been acquired by Crimson Education, one of the world’s largest college consultancy firms.
Atman Jahagirdar and Ananth Veluvali graduated from EHS in 2022 and started AdmitYogi with Jahagirdar’s cousin, Soham Govande. All three are sophomores at Stanford University and created AdmitYogi even before they set foot on campus as freshmen.
“We credit our acceptance [to Stanford University] to the ability to read through successful college essay examples and applications,” Veluvali says, adding they got those applications from older friends and siblings, who were already attending top schools. He says they recognized their privilege and thought they should pay it forward. “We thought, ‘What if there’s a way that we can build a marketplace for this that helps people read through all types of successful college applications?’”
Their hypothesis was simple: There’s a formula for success in college admissions, and they could quantify it using AI algorithms. AdmitYogi started with the young men’s successful applications, as well as the applications of their older friends.
Jahagirdar is behind the marketing, who’s grown their TikTok following to more than 70,000 with 40 million impressions. Veluvali is behind their business operations, and Govande is a programmer and software developer.
AdmitYogi has more than 10,000 diverse applications, including essays, essay topics, lists of activities, extracurriculars, test scores and demographic information, including the state of origin, race and more. High schoolers input their grades, demographic information and their dream schools, and AdmitYogi will find them the college application of someone with similar data.
“We have people who got into state schools that [other] people are interested in. We also have utter rock stars who got into every single Ivy League school and won over $2.5 million in scholarship money from different universities,” Veluvali says. “Add to that this ability to filter, to find applicants that are in essence your digital twin. The applicant is a few years older than you but in every other way virtually indistinguishable. They have many of the same extracurriculars; they applied to many of the same schools you’re interested in. They have the same background. That’s so useful to get to know how they got into their school, through how they told their story you can learn how to tell your own.”
AdmitYogi’s goal is not to encourage copying but to offer insights into what colleges are looking for.
“When you look at a lot of the best writers in fiction and literature, so many of them are exhaustive readers,” Veluvali says. “They were able to refine their ability to write, and the only way they were able to do that was by first identifying other great pieces of literature and using it to base their writing style off of. That’s the analogy we like to paint with college admissions. Not necessarily reading these essays to copy them but more so to read through each of these different essays, pick out your favorite parts and eventually form your distinct style. You can have some rock solid extracurriculars and essays. You can kind of step over the obstacles you’ll get with having a lower GPA and lower standardized test scores. And the best way to do that is to read through examples. That’s our philosophy.”
Students can read successful essays and gain insights directly from admissions officers’ comments. Jahagirdar says a successful essay is key to admissions officers understanding who a student is and how they could fit into a college’s atmosphere.
“They’re not necessarily looking for well-rounded students as much as they are looking for a well-rounded class,” Jahagirdar says. “An admissions officer can look at an application and say, ‘Yep, this student … is my debate student. This is my student who loves health nonprofits, maybe a technical coder. That allows the college to just humanize you through your essays through personal stories.”
AdmitYogi’s database also allows the team to analyze trends and let high schoolers know their chances of getting into their dream school. “We built out a really accurate acceptance rate calculator that can predict your acceptance at these universities,” Veluvali says. “We are able to build these complex machine learning models that make connections that your college consultants might not be able to otherwise make. We’re not saying that people have to ditch their college consultants, but they can use a tool like AdmitYogi as a complementary service, something that they can use to further help refine and elevate their college admissions game plan strategy.”
Govande says AdmitYogi gives high school students hope. “AdmitYogi [is a] platform of role models that people can look up to, read through the applications to get a little bit of inspiration and get that faith in themselves that, ‘If someone before me has done it, then I can do it as well,’” he says.