What Matters Most and Why—Our Company Manifesto

Leland was started to change the way we access and experience higher education. To us, education is the most important thing in the world, and we want to make it available to as many people as possible.

Posted August 22, 2022

Hi, we’re John and Cam一your founders at Leland. We started this company to unlock higher education.

Getting into your dream school can change your life. Where you study has a huge impact on your network, career earning potential, even who you date, and eventually marry. It’s one of the most important milestones in our lives.

The way we apply to and access higher education, however, is broken. Aspiring students all compete for the same spots, which makes the whole thing stressful, competitive, and expensive. It can also feel like fumbling around in the dark; there’s a staggering amount of information out there, but not all of it’s reliable. Many people apply to schools一one of the most consequential things we’ll do in our lives一blind, and alone. Imagine buying a house sight unseen, with no information from the previous owner, or raising children with neither parenting guides nor friends or family to help you. That would be insane一yet in the world of higher-ed admissions, millions of students do it every year.

In the last few decades, a new industry has cropped up to help those students: admissions consulting. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 50,000 admissions coaches, ranging from alumni to former admissions officers, who offer applicants advice as they throw their hat in the ring. Problem is, despite these numbers, a good coach is actually pretty hard to find. There’s no centralized platform you can visit to browse your options, vet skills and experience, read real reviews, and compare prices. This fragmentation makes the search very difficult, and also drives up prices.

Every year, applicants across the globe spend five billion dollars on admissions coaching (ten if you count test prep tutoring). No, you’re not hallucinating. That’s billion, with a B. Most families struggle to pay tuition;they certainly can’t afford to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a coach. If you are blessed with the means to afford help, there’s still not a central place you can go to source it. Finding trustworthy help adds another layer of cost and stress to the already tense application process.

To tackle these problems, we’re launching Leland: a marketplace that will connect higher-ed applicants, starting with MBAs, to top-tier admissions coaches一coaches who will guide and shepherd those applicants through the admissions process. Creating this centralized marketplace will lower prices, broaden access, and improve outcomes for all applicants. Over time, Leland will become the place you go when you’re applying for any form of education. We’ll share more about how we’ll get there as we grow.

No one should apply to school alone. With Leland, they’ll never have to.

With the launch of this company, we’re redefining the higher education admissions process: making it less scary, more communal, and dramatically widening the scope of access. To us, education is the most important thing in the world, and we want to make it available to as many people as possible. Together, we’re unlocking human potential through education. We hope you’ll join us. (Get started here)

— John & Cam

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