Studying abroad offers opportunities to learn new languages, appreciate foreign cultures, and gain a better understanding of the world — these are traits that many employers now value and look for when hiring as the world becomes more globally connected.
The process to study abroad can be daunting, though. Applicants must first identify the schools that can help them achieve their goals, then determine which institutions they are eligible to attend. For each school they apply to, there are documents to prepare and submit. Upon acceptance, applicants still need to make travel and accommodation arrangements. There could also be visas and permits to obtain beforehand.
Applicants have the option of paying brick-and-mortar agents for support. These agents guide them through the laborious process: recommending schools they might be suited for, ensuring the necessary documents have been prepared, and even setting up study plans.
But not all agents are equal — depending on the specific agent an applicant is assigned to, the quality of service can differ. Many agents charge exorbitant fees, which some applicants can’t afford.
The stakes are high for applicants with an inexperienced agent, or without one at all — an incompatible school, subpar accommodation, or any other aspect that is poorly planned can sour the experience of studying abroad.
Studying abroad can be a rewarding experience, and while the application process can be rigorous, it doesn’t need to be confusing.
Flying Chalks is a platform that automates part of the application process to study abroad. Applicants can access a myriad of resources on the platform, such as the eligibility criteria of schools, documents they need to submit, scholarship programs, and more. These resources are specific to countries and schools, and cover ancillary aspects including visa applications and accommodation options. If a user prefers to speak to an expert, Flying Chalks has a team of specialists who can offer one-to-one support in such instances.
Once a user’s application is ready, they can submit it directly on the platform.
Flying Chalks’s services are free for students. The company earns revenue by charging a referral fee when universities accept an applicant. In general, Flying Chalks is able to trim the time needed to complete an application from 12 weeks to three.
If an applicant is unsure which school is right for them, Flying Chalks can offer recommendations using a feature that incorporates artificial intelligence and machine learning. Its algorithm evaluates an applicant’s academic and non-academic attributes before matching them with schools that could be a good fit. The feature’s efficacy improves over time by learning from feedback of past applicants about their experience studying abroad.
In addition, applicants can access a repository of guides curated by Flying Chalks. These guides are based on feedback from the platform’s community, which comprises over 14,500 students to date. They can read about the experiences of others who have completed their studies abroad, and learn valuable tips on making the most of their time overseas.
Applicants can also use the platform to link up with other people planning to study at the same school or institutions that are nearby, and connect with one another to provide mutual support.
Flying Chalks was founded in 2015 by Melvin Lee, who serves as its CEO. Beyond Singapore, he is supported by team members in Vietnam and South Korea. The company is raising a seed round to build out its operations in existing markets and expand into new markets such as Malaysia and Japan. Part of the funds raised will also be used to further develop its platform.
Flying Chalks applied to take part in the Project AsiaForward Alibaba Cloud Global Startup Accelerator Singapore Demo Day, held on June 1, 2022, at the Singapore EXPO.