Review: StudentVIP

For those unfamiliar with the brand, StudentVIP is a university student platform that users can use to review subjects, hire tutors, and buy and sell textbooks and notes. StudentVIP is also affiliated with Lost On Campus, a campus mapping app.

So, is the platform any good? Well, the review feature is pretty useful for comparing subjects – but the small number of reviewers means that the ratings might not represent the average opinion. Nevertheless, it’s better than nothing.

The buy and sell feature is also great – it allows you to search textbooks based on title, author, and even ISBN (to make sure you get the right edition!). The prices are determined by the sellers, but they are generally at least 15 per cent below the RRP.

However, this convenience comes at a cost: privacy breach. In 2015, Honi Soit reported that the company shared the personal data of over 530,000 students to a private education provider, which used the info to make unsolicited phone calls and sell diplomas. The personal information included phone numbers, email addresses, and degree details.

Since I joined the platform, I indeed have received some calls from unknown numbers trying to offer me study programs. Even worse, from time to time StudentVIP would send me emails on behalf of a third party to advertise products which may or may not be related to uni student life, such as magazine subscription. While the company promised that they wouldn’t spam (“We promise no more than one per week, and usually not that often. All should be relevant to students studying in Australia”), it is annoying enough to make me cancel my membership.

Bottom line? While StudentVIP offers many useful features for uni students, their services are not unique. Your university should have a secondhand bookshop, or you can try finding your faculty group on Facebook and go from there. Privacy might or might not be your priority, but there are better options out there.

+:

  • Practical
  • Opportunity to reach a large number of peers (especially if you are selling)

-:

  • Intrusive advertisements
  • Potential privacy breach

Rating: 1.5/5 Stars

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