Home From College is a digital platform that provides college students with career content and a community where they can discover new opportunities and resources through influencers, industry leaders and innovators. The platform features CEOs from companies like Flighthouse, Female Quotient and VaynerSports and provides students the opportunity to explore different industries in fashion, music, entertainment, social media and more. 

Ross junior Caitlin Ramirez subscribed to Home From College after the University went remote. She explained how this platform helped her explore different career pathways that would have been difficult to do without access to the typical resources on campus. 

“I think it’s a way to explore different industries because we’re all shut-out and everyone’s disconnected and having that platform almost gives you more freedom to search what different industry leaders are doing in different fields,” Ramirez stated. “During this time, I definitely had the time to reflect on what my personal goals are, and I think that’s a major platform that definitely helps with that.”

Julia Haber, CEO and founder of Home From College, said she decided to start her company in March, in the midst of the pandemic, after she realized the impact it had on college students nationwide.

“I started to really look to the college demographic that I work really closely with and understand that internships were canceled, jobs were canceled,” Haber said. “There was really no structure or support for college students and no real clear path about when this will end and how to better serve. I realized that if I could build a brand that was a one-stop shop, that college students knew we would support them throughout their journey, it could be a really valuable resource.”

Information junior Lauren Walton commented on how this platform can aid professional development and provide current students an option to find internships, despite many being canceled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I know a lot of college students… didn’t get internships or had their internships revoked for the summer, and (so) just to fill up free time and still gain professional development skills that you would get from having an internship,” Walton said.

Haber emphasized the importance of supporting students during a time where jobs and internships are getting canceled and how Home From College can help. 

“Now seeing that internships and jobs are canceled or have been rescinded, there’s this need for continual learning and access to thought-leaders and opportunities, and there isn’t really a path for people who don’t have resources of their own, (because) maybe they don’t go to a school that has that kind of support,” Haber said. “We’ve quickly seen traction to prove that we can provide resources that students are getting on campus through the lens of a college student, through the tone that people want to be spoken to.”

Some resources that Home From College provides are five-to-seven-minute short videos from leaders who work at SoulCycle, Instagram and other companies, office hours through Zoom where students can directly ask questions to these leaders and micro-internship opportunities that can help students gain more experience in a specific industry. 

Recent graduates also have the opportunity to be paired up with a graduate from the class of 2009 through the 2009 Club, which is a mentorship program that provides recent graduates the opportunity to be mentored by 2009 graduates on how to navigate the job industry during a recession.

Andrea Anaya, the company’s head of community at large, explained how Home From College changed her perspective in regards to her own work career. She said having members in the industry provide advice on how to command confidence in the work environment was valuable for her. 

“One of my favorite speakers has been Christian Navarra who works for Soul Cycle, and he had an interview on our website as well as an office hour session,” Anaya said. “He discusses in the video and the Zoom office hour session … how to stand out in a room full of people when you’re new or may be the youngest in the room, which I always find myself to be, and to command the respect that you feel like you deserve. It’s cool to have to hear that from someone who’s so well-respected and gain that knowledge from them.”

Business senior Bella Jung is the Michigan campus lead for Home From College. She said Home From College is a unique platform for the college demographic because it provides students with a personalized experience in the professional industry.

“I think the fact that you’re not just able to watch videos, but the fact that you’re able to have office hours like you’d have with a professor but with an industry professional is what makes it super useful because it’s way more personable than reading an article or seeing a video on a company’s website,” Jung said. “I think it’s just another resource that is definitely more personalized and can be customized for you and your interests versus looking at a school or a company’s website.”

Brianne Petrone, the media coordinator intern for Home From College, expressed how college students are a big part of why this digital platform is the way it is. 

“A majority of the insight and people behind this are college students, so in a way, it was built with us for us,” Petrone said. “I think that’s really unique and something not a lot of other platforms out there have that we do, and the fact that it was made with us in mind but also getting our insight the entire step of the way was really unique.” 

Though Home From College launched during the pandemic, Haber also has plans to progress her company for the future once things are gradually going back to normal. 

“I think that this solution we have created is not just for the coronavirus environment at all,” Haber said. “There’s no brand of the college market that is really there for students through every thin moment, and our used case is very clear right now and will continue to find how it evolves in that normal world, but having a space where college students know that they can trust and go somewhere will never go away.” 

Daily Staff Reporter Ann Yu can be reached at anncyu@umich.edu.

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