ClassRanked Founder On How to Scale A College Campus Launch Across the Country

Universities and colleges offer hundreds of courses and electives across every department. With so many choices, many students make class decisions based on feedback from friends.

While sites like RateMyProfessors provide a high view of teacher quality, they don’t dive into the class itself. Is it challenging or easy? How deep into the subject does it go? What knowledge do you need beforehand?

Duke University student Hayden Hall found himself scrolling through class descriptions, comparing them against professor reviews, and still feeling dissatisfied with his choices.

“What if I could create a site that combined end-of-year course evaluations, grade distribution data, user reviews — take all those steps that students go through on their own and streamline the process and put it online?” asks Hall.

In 2018, Hall spent three months bringing that vision to life. He brought on two other Duke students, Dilan Trivedi and Max Labaton, as co-founders, and came up with ClassRanked.

ClassRanked allows students to rank classes based on degree of difficulty, quality of class, and of course, professor reviews. Students sign up using their school email.

“Every student who signed in has to have a username, but it doesn’t have to be your first and last name. There’s a little bit of anonymity so students feel more comfortable actually writing reviews,” says Hall.

The platform helps students build their class schedules faster, as timing can be a big factor in whether a class is full or not. It also has a class recommendation feature based on what you’ve looked at previously, along with rankings based on popular and trending classes, similar to Twitter.

Through word-of-mouth marketing, ClassRanked saw over 80 percent of Duke University undergrads use the site in its first month after launch. That same period of time garnered over 1200 posted reviews.

Hall says they’ve seen strong user retention into the 2019-2020 school year.

“As we were on a campus shuttle during the first couple of weeks after launch, we saw three people using our site. That’s when we realized the true impact we made,” he says.

ClassRanked is now available at University of California – Berkeley, in addition to Duke. While it does collect ad revenue, Hall says that they’re laser-focused on building the community before moving on to additional revenue streams.

We didn’t really know anyone at UC Berkeley, so that was a big test for us,” says Hall. “I think it showed that the site has the ability to expand anywhere.”

This month they will expand to 10 more colleges, including University of Pennsylvania, UNC Chapel Hill, Emory University, and others.