When Archana and Ramesh Ganapathy's daughter turned five, their quest to find a school for her began. Hopping between 15 schools, the couple spent several days collecting forms, filling them up and driving back to the schools to submit them. They even pulled an all-nighter at a cousin's place to ensure they reached the school by 4am to grab an early spot in the queue. "The whole process was so confusing, right from which school to apply to, eligibility criteria and form-related requirements," said Ganapathy. From avoiding serpentine queues to sharing interview tips and zeroing in on the right photo, tech-savvy parents are now using online forums, communities and WhatsApp groups to conquer 'mission admission'.
Parents spend a lot of time and effort making repeated calls to schools for details, most of which go unanswered. Ravi Sundararaman went straight to Google and searched for Chennai admissions when he came across a website that compiled all the information. For Sundararaman and his wife, both working professionals, this was godsend. "With SchoolConnects.in, I got a single point of reference for multiple schools. Critical information such as when the forms will be issued and eligibility criteria helped me take a decision. They also share information on what documents are required, and previous year's application forms as well," said Sundararaman.
Several schools in the city, including Chellammal Vidyalaya, Sree Sankara Bala Vidyalaya and Maharishi Vidya Mandir, offer online forms for admission. However, parents say these forms are not accessible at all times. "It is like how we used to take an appointment for a passport. The form is open only for a few hours and one has to fill it up, upload photos, documents etc. and submit within that small time frame," said Nalini Raj, a parent. With previous year's application forms available on forums like SchoolConnects.in, parents are able to arrange for the required information and documents in advance.
The start-up founded by Rajesh Sanghi and Umesh Jain has WhatsApp groups to stay connected and send alerts. "Parents have to take one glance at 'Chennai School Admissions Calendar' and they get location wise details on school admission," said Sanghvi.