Fletch: Improving College Retention
Oh college. The days when you can sleep until 4pm and miss class. Take naps literally and physically anywhere at anytime. Where you can party your pants off and still receive a world-class education. This is the life that many students live while trying to fulfill their dreams and impact the world in a positive way. If college is a place that is supposed to be fun and intellectually stimulating, then why the heck do only 50% of all college students graduate in the U.S.? Clearly something needs to be done to fix the calamity that is occurring in today’s education system. As a nation student retention for colleges has never been this low.
Thankfully, a smart team out in Chicago is looking to fix this problem for the greater good. Fletch, a college retention app for iOS and Android, helps classmates easily find study groups for classes and projects. Founder Marquett Burton believes that, “it is our mission to help every college student walk across the stage and graduate,” and a natural starting point to achieve that goal is the classroom. The app was formerly known as Smartie Pants, and quickly grew to 10,000 users. Yet, the team wished to re-brand to ensure growth into the future. “Being a college student, you don’t want to be associated with a name that is childish,” the Fletch team noted.
Marquett tested out of high school at 16, and after one year of community college he went on to pursue an undergraduate degree at UC Berkley. During his time as a student he noticed that collaborating for many of his peers meant creating a Facebook group to discuss a project or class. “Really the only way to survive difficult classes is through communication,” he noted. “Their is a social component to every classroom which is something I thought was really important.” Burton urged that people getaway from Facebook groups in his classes, and shortly after the idea for Fletch hatched.
Currently, the Fletch team works out of Impact Engine in Merchandise Mart in Chicago, a space that provides critical resources and mentorship for early-stage companies. “We all came together at a really exciting time,” CTO Aditya said. “We all wanted to make a social platform to help students graduate, a goal that we work towards every day.” For the upcoming launch, the team is targeting the upper midwest with schools like the University of Michigan and Northwestern. From there, the Fletch team plans on designing a college ambassador program to help organically grow the Fletch user-base. “We are well on our way to reaching our goal growth rate,” commented Tristan Fletch’s head of biz dev.
Many college students share the same sentiment about group projects: they suck. One person does all of the work while the other team members sit back and chill. Well, have no fear, Fletch will be coming out of its MVP stage soon just in time to help for this fall semester. “The navigation of the app is very simple,” Marquett explained. “There will be a standard place for all classes with a roster with an image next to it. From there student users can break some life into it and find contacts to form groups.” There is a social culture in the classroom, and the only real way to survive is through collaborating. With Fletch, students can achieve better results in the classroom and get those very much needed credits for graduation.
Get out of the classroom and meet face-to-face. It is time that college retention improves. “It’s good to have a super-friend that is always there to help.