HackFMI v2.0 thoughts

HackFMI v2.0

HackFMI

Hello everyone!
All of us - students from universities and schools - hacked FMI once again! :)

The first day

As the first edition did, the second was huge.

It all started as planned - short presentations from the sponsors and then from students or teams with ideas. We had about half an hour free time in which we wondered about the idea we were going to accomplish (we hadn't chosen an idea back then) and then all of us went for an unofficial dinner before we start. So let the coding begin! :)
After the dinner we went to our room (not a hotel room but in FMI) and started talking about the idea we chose - what and how to do, in order to make it useful and show the jury the value of the idea, which I think is absolutely real.

We knew from the first competition that we shouldn't start coding immediately and better talk and write on the white board what we should do, how to do it, which technologies to use, make a repository and so on and so on - organize all the stuff and setup configurations so that on the next morning to be ready for a quick start.
Of course this bright idea didn't find its followers and on the morning after we lost some time setting up the things for people that couldn't make it on their own.

The idea

AppliEd: Web-based system for applying to universities in Bulgaria

Logo

The idea came out weeks before the Hackathon's start but it was suggested by another student who took part in the competition so we decided that he is going for it. During the presentations no one presented this idea so we took advantage of our chance. :)

Our team's beliefs are that such system would help school graduates from all around the country by saving them time, money and annoyance.

We wanted to create a system similar to those in the normal countries like Denmark, Germany and United Kingdom where such systems are doing their job perfectly for many years.

Content

(The screenshots are in bulgarian because the whole system is supposed to work for bulgarian students. If you don't get it - don't worry. :))

All the bulgarians are extremely proud that Bulgaria has one of the fastest broadband Internet connections in the world. So what? We have neither functional e-government, nor we use the fast Internet to do something better. Facebook and Google load faster.
Let me take you back to the idea.

Scenarios

1. Now let's consider the first real scenario:

I live in Sofia and I want to apply for 2 universities in Sofia, 2 in Varna and 1 in Plovdiv.
The first way is to apply in Sofia and travel to Varna. On the next day apply in Varna and travel all day to Plovdiv and on the third day apply in Plovdiv and travel back to Sofia. Maybe I won't be alone but with my family, girlfriend or someone else. Let's say we are two people - me and a friend. We should sleep somewhere for 2 nights. The document package also costs money. I should buy 5 packages.

Total time cost:

  • 3 days for 2 people = 6 days

Total money cost:

  • 2 people x 2 nights x 25 lv. = 100 lv. for the nights.
  • 2 people x (25 to Varna + 25 to Plovdiv + 10 to Sofia) = 120 lv. for transport.
  • 5 packages x 10 lv. = 50 lv. for the documents.

2. Let's consider second real scenario:

There are firms that can do all this for you if you pay small taxes.
But you can do this within two weeks of the year. The next or previous weeks you should use the first way.
Taking in mind the first scenario the result is:

Total time cost:

  • 3 hours

Total money cost:

  • 5 packages x 10 lv. = 50 lv. for the documents.
  • 5 taxes x 20 lv. = 100 lv. for taxes.

3. Using AppliEd:

Second page

All you need to do is to create an account. The system will then verify the account and let you apply for exams.

Total time cost:

  • 1 hour

Total money cost:

  • 5 packages x 10 lv. = 50 lv. for the documents. The universities won't give up from their money whatever happens.

Extra:

  • If on the next day I decide to add an exam I can just log in and add it. If I had chosen a different way to apply the cost of this simple change would be too high and I'd rather miss this newly chosen exam.

This is module "Apply for exams".

Exam

Then I had to physically go to the exam, because this is the way things happen in Bulgaria. A lot more clever would be if the universities could choose their students as they do in the normal countries or just to have an online exam or project..
However I had to go to all the universities and take all the exams.

Apply

But the process doesn't end with the application and taking the exams. Then you should be able to see your results, choose specialties, send your documents online.

Results

If I have to go to all the universities by myself, wait on queues, visit all websites, search in these websites and so on, I would lose my time for nothing. But if I could do this online I would even donate 5 lv. to the creators of the system for saving me from this tremendous insanity.

We (the team) have a list that includes a lot of improvements that we can make on the whole process because currently the process is absolutely ridiculous. And these improvements can really save time and money.

Results

The team

So.. we didn't win anything this time. :)
In my opinion the work we done these days was good and I'd like to thank everyone from the team for taking part in the event. You are awww-some!
There were a lot of good ideas and I'm happy I participated in this event.
In our room there were 2 more teams - one of them won the first place in our category - Hack for Education, while the other one won 2 awards - they were the youngest developers - just 9th grade now - and Komfo gave them awards. :)

The winners

TUES guys

I really hope and will be very thankful if some of the presented ideas find their way to the production servers. :)
Good luck guys!

Final thoughts

Why wouldn't the universities do this for themselves?

They would if they wanted to!

But why should they want it? They have enough (good) students, right?

I can tell you more about the idea but this happened to be a long long post so let me just end it with a question:

If you were (are) a school student, would you use such system to help and guide you during the whole application process? And if "No." - why?

All thoughts and opinions will be highly appreciated!

Thank you Ado, Rosko, Doba and Dancho! :)

The code we wrote during these 2 days of the hackathon can be found here: AppliEd source code

Lucky giraffe