There’s a problem with our college education system: many bright young students are unprepared for the application process, don’t understand how to apply for scholarships or financial aid, and don’t have the resources to get help. Simon Barn aims to change all that.
A current Chemical Engineering student at the University of Maryland, College Park, Barn and his partners are working to start a college and career consulting service they call Catalyst Prep. The service will use an online platform to match students with mentors who have the skills and knowledge to help those students in specific areas and with specific goals.
Barn is the winner of this year’s Young Entrepreneur Scholarship. In a detailed 12-page business plan, he laid out what makes Catalyst Prep different from existing counseling and consulting companies. Those differences include:
- • AI-based matching for more specific and less generic services
- • Affordability for lower-middle class families
- • Rigorous vetting and training of potential mentors to ensure quality
Affordability is one of the key differences. Most other consulting services like Catalyst Prep charge what amounts to large portions of a lower-middle class family’s annual income. This makes it difficult (or impossible) for those families to get their children the help they need to succeed at the college level.
“That’s probably the first thing that fueled me to start this kind of business,” Barn said in an interview with First Coast Home Pros representatives. Part of his solution is to offer tiered packages for a set number of hours, with a base level, discount level, and premium level of services. Discounts could be applied in specific situations, including for families with multiple children.
Barn is a rising junior at the University of Maryland, College Park. Though he is studying Chemical Engineering, he plans to pivot into entrepreneurship and business creation following graduation. At First Coast Home Pros, we’re excited to offer the Young Entrepreneurship scholarship to help Simon Barn on his journey.