"At the end of the day, learning from your peers is the best way to learn, because after all, who understands your questions better than someone else in the class?" (About StudySoup)
A Peer-to-Peer Marketplace
By collecting and sharing notes online, StudySoup helps college students in two ways: giving them extra cash and providing high quality study materials. This organization boasts a peer-to-peer marketplace where top note takers get paid for providing resources their classmates might need, such as study guides and flashcards. Founders Sieva Kovinsky and Jeff Silverman launched StudySoup in 2014 after realizing college success often entails sifting through hundreds of lecture notes and readings to pull out the bits of information that will appear on exams. Some people are better at that than others, and Sieva and Jeff decided they could use those skills to help their peers succeed as well.
Creating Access to Success and Funds
In the few years since its founding, StudySoup has had over one million users upload over one million documents for 240,000 courses across 300 colleges and universities. Note takers have uploaded most of these resources at large universities, where large lecture classes are more common. For instance, where Auburn University has over 5,000 study materials available, Columbia University has only 17, and my liberal arts alma mater isn’t even on the list.
Students seeking notes can search for classes by school or subject and download study guides and flashcards. High quality notes come at a price, however. In this case, students can purchase a year of access for $11 a month, or a single month for $32. On the other end of the equation, students can also become elite note takers and get paid for uploading their resources. With elite note takers making up to $450 per resource, many are making over $1,200 a month just by taking notes. StudySoup creates reciprocal relationships between those who need notes and those who have them that might never have been forged naturally in classrooms.
Finally, StudySoup also doles out several scholarships each year to further help students make it through higher education. With scholarships such as First in Family and Future Innovator, StudySoup shows their commitment to making college success accessible to more students.Image: by The Climate Reality Project via Unsplash