Meet The 17 Y/O Entrepreneur Revolutionizing College Applications For Students


At GTHQ we’re all about promoting young women changing the world around them. Meet Denisha Kuhlor, who has created a business idea to make one of the most stressful things in a high school graduate’s life much easier. She created a company that would even out the playing field for college applicants, eliminating financial bias and giving those who may not have personal connections with a college deal just as much of a chance as those who do.

Her idea was born out of an incubator program which helped give her the tools to create something that can change the course of a young person’s life, proving yet again how important it is we have role models in our communities to create opportunities for the next generation that they may never get otherwise.

We interviewed Denisha about her brilliant idea, and found out why it is important to her that everyone has a chance at the future they always wanted, regardless of their background, race, gender or status.


What is plucked?
Plucked is a web application where students can discover and apply to college for free. To use it, a student would create an account and fill out a form (pretty much identical to the standard college application). The student would then upload their unofficial transcripts, screenshots of their SAT/ACT scores, and provide the emails of the people who recommended them. Once they have completed their application students can begin to search for schools based on basic criteria including school size, environment, sports, and etc. Students are then provided with a list of schools that fit their designated criteria. If a students likes a school, and is within the range of the schools target applicant they can send their application free of charge.

How did you come up with the idea for ‘Plucked’?
I came up with the idea for Plucked in my senior year of high school, when I was applying to college. At the time I did not really know where I wanted to go to school, and what schools would be the right fit for me. So instead I set out on a quest to apply to as many schools as possible for as cheap as possible which led me to apply to over 30 schools for only $35. Once it was time to decide what school I would attend, I was able to pick and weigh out the full package of numerous schools. When many of my classmates told me they wish they had done the same thing, the idea for Plucked was born.

How do you hope plucked will assist many more students in applying for colleges?
I want students to feel empowered when they are applying to schools. College admissions have morphed into stressful, nail-biting marathons that leave students feeling inadequate and unworthy. Plucked reminds students that they can go to college, and even more importantly, they have plenty of colleges to choose from.


The college application process can often be expensive, how does Plucked eliminate the costs?
We eliminate college application costs by directly partnering with institutions. This partnership enables all students that use Plucked, who are in a school’s target applicant demographic or a demographic the school has deemed “underrepresented” to have their application fee waived.

What benefits does a college get from choosing a student from your business, rather than other places?
The main benefit a college gets is the ability to establish a favorable initial point of contact. First impressions are everything. Unfortunately, due to outdated marketing methods such as excessive mailings, email blasts, and cold calling, many students ignore or become annoyed at a school that could actually be the best fit for them.

What do the costs raised in your crowd-funding campaign go toward?
The costs raised from our crowd-funding campaign will go towards developing Plucked’s web application and marketing the brand to ensure as many students as possible know to take advantage of it.

Why did you decide to become a business woman /entrepreneur at 17?
There were many reservations and fears I had about starting Plucked, but it was the support I received early on that encouraged me to move forward. When I first got the idea for the business I applied to be part of an incubator program at the Hubcap Wallingford. I was the first business to ever be accepted into the incubator, and it was an amazing experience! My very first day at the Hubcap co-founder, Vincenzo Landino sat down with me reviewed my business plan and helped me work towards taking the first steps to making my idea happen. Without the help of the HubCap, Plucked wouldn’t exist.

How are you hoping to inspire other young women and men to pursue a college degree?
I want young women and men to know that although it might be difficult getting into college and acquiring a degree is attainable. That’s why instead of not attending college to work on my startup, I chose to attend college and work on my startup simultaneously.

You seem to have a very focused outlook for someone so young. Who inspired you to be so motivated?
It’s hard for me to pick just one! I’d say that my whole family inspires me to be so motivated. My mother and father are two of the hardest working people that I know and forced me to believe that anything is possible. Also my grandmother who refuses to stop working, and my godfather Sam who I witnessed build a popular restaurant from the ground up are also motivators for me.

Plucked aims to make the college application process a more fair playing field for those who aren’t as equipped financially as others. How would you make the world a more even playing field for women who are disadvantaged because of their gender?
I believe often times women stray or are hesitant to pursue positions of power because they see few women at the top. Uncharted territory can be scary. That is why women, especially women in power, supporting each other is so important because the mentorship and camaraderie of someone who has been through the same obstacles you are going through is invaluable.

Who are your female heroes?
My female heroes are Shonda Rhimes, Malala Yousafzai, and my mentor Tola Lawal. From the very beginning Shonda Rhimes took a fearless approach to television and the results have been nothing short of amazing. The eloquence and humbleness Malala carries centers me and reminds me everyday to keep working hard. Lastly, Tola Lawal has been a great mentor to me from the very beginning, her willingness and enthusiasm to teach me will always be appreciated.

What makes you a powerful woman?
Regardless of all the stereotypes and gender bias in the world I know I’m going to help make a lasting impact in the world.



Connect with Denisha and find out more about Plucked by checking out these links:

Twitter- @pluckedceo
Instagram- @pluckedceo

Twitter- @plucked_
Instagram- @pluckedadmissions


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