Sarah Schupp started University Parent when her own parents started visiting her at the University of Colorado. Her parents wanted to know things all parents need to know—where the nice restaurants are, the good hotels, and local attractions. Sarah approached the Director of Parent Relations at the University of Colorado, and asked if he would help her start a guide that would have helpful information for CU parents—University Parent was born.
YOUNG MONEY: How did you get funding to start your company?
SARAH SCHUPP: I initially funded the company by selling advertising to local businesses that parents would want to know about, such as hotels, restaurants, and local attractions. I later received some help from my parents, grandparents, and a few friends to expand to other markets.
YM: What was the first thing that you did when you decided to start your company?
SS: I think I bought a computer. I needed to be able to layout guides, and I had to switch from a PC to a Mac for the right design software.
YM: How do you come up for your ideas for your print guides?
SS: We actually don’t write the content for our print guides – the university does! We provide them with suggestions, based on what other schools are doing, and through watching the top content on our site, UniversityParent.com.
YM: Do you have guides for specific schools? How does a school go about getting a guide like this?
SS: Yes! We have guides for 99 universities. If a school wants to do a guide with us, it’s a very simple process. It takes us about 12 weeks start-to-finish to produce a guide. They need to provide us the content & photography they’d like in their guide, and then we work with local advertisers, and design the guide.
YM: What are the most common questions that parents have when their children go off to school?
SS: Most of the FAQs on our site – http://www.universityparent.com/faqs – are from parents that need specific information from a school. Parents seem to have a hard time finding university resources, like the academic calendar, or tuition due dates.
YM: What do you think are the three most important things that parents need to know when their child leaves for college?
• Be constructively involved. If a student is having trouble in a class, don’t jump on the phone with their professor. Offer ideas to help them, but don’t swoop in and save the day.
• Encourage your student to seek out available university resources, even before they move-in – such as professors, academic advisors, student groups.
• Talk about money before your student leaves. Define your expectations – are you planning to give them money? If so, how much? What are the terms? What is acceptable for them to spend on?
YM: What else would you like my readers to know about you and University Parent?
SS: Don’t be afraid to start a company when you’re young! There are so many resources to help you, particularly at your college. This company has meant I truly choose my own adventure – I’ve been able to travel all over to tradeshows & conferences, meet really interesting people, and work with an incredible team. I’m extremely grateful for this opportunity. Even on rough days, I would still rather be an entrepreneur than anything else.
Visit University Parent: www.universityparent.com