“Focus on your academics but don’t get obsessed with it”: Kunal Mehra, Country Manager, Crimson Education India.

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    Business Fortnight had an interview with Kunal Mehra, Country Manager, Crimson Education India. Crimson Education is the world’s leading student consulting company for UK/US admissions. Currently, it is acquiring offices in more than thirty countries worldwide. Kunal Mehra on behalf of Crimson Education shares some interesting insights on foreign education with our business journalist Akhil Gore.

    Talking about the measures students should take to pursue their dream of studying abroad, Kunal decodes some key points they must take care of while applying to foreign universities.

    Here are some insights from our discussion with him:

    Tell us about the vision of Crimson Education.

    Crimson Education is a global education organization. Our focus is to work with highly ambitious students, who want to pursue their education from top universities around the globe. Crimson provides students with the best resources, mentors, coaches, and tutors who help students bring out their uniqueness. Our education consultancy model provides individualized support to students in every aspect of their US/UK (or EU) application(s) — from university selection strategy, test preparation,
    personal statement/essay support, to extracurricular mentoring and interview practices.

    Is getting good grades the only way to get yourself enrolled in top universities in the world?

    Grades are necessary! You can’t get enrolled in top universities without good grades. But it is not the only sufficient condition. Like in India, if you have a top JEE score or rank you will get admission, which is not the case when you apply to foreign universities. So, look beyond grades. You need a very holistic profile where you can demonstrate that you are engaged in multiple different areas, other than academics. You should be able to showcase your consistency of work towards your passion, bringing up the community and academics as well. Hence, there are many factors in the application process and
    good grades make only one part of it.

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    Generally, what are the main qualities universities are looking for in students to get them enrolled?

    As I have said before, universities are looking at the overall development of the student as a person from childhood until now. They also want to know about the vision, passion, interest, and qualities of the students that they can display at the universities as students and how they can carry forward the same to be responsible citizens after getting graduated. For students, they look into your overall personality includes the way you communicate, clarity of your thoughts, and how well you can express your ideas. Universities generally provide you with the questions/topics for essay writing. So, you must
    be prepared from all sides, it’s not about clearing the cut-off to pass the exam, but it is more about the approach, and how you are looking into this opportunity.

    What is the procedure and approach students need to follow to get enrolled in foreign universities?

    Every country has its own system and procedure. Having said that some of the factors are similar in the case of most universities. If we talk particularly about the US, the admission timeline opens while you are in class Twelve wherein the admission forms are made available from December when the students are still in class Twelve. In the US, there are exams like SAT for the aspirants. Every aspirant is required to submit a common application, essay, activity list (what you have been doing along with academics) and a letter of recommendation from their teachers to complete the process of the application form. Similarly, for the UK you must apply through UKS which is a common examination to get enrolled into UK universities.

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    How does Crimson Education help students to find their right educational place?

    Crimson Education helps students at every step of their way. Starting from building their profile to making the right choice of selecting universities according to their capabilities. We advise about what to do and what not to do. We help them build a narrative that is eventually what every university is looking for. And of course, helping them out with all the entrance exams that would qualify them into the best universities. Everything that comes in their way to reach their goal, Crimson will help them out.

    What accessible resources do Indian students lack while applying for foreign universities?

    As I am born and brought up in India, I feel very connected to Indian students. Crimson is helping them to take charge to be a world leader by taking them to the top universities. But if you ask me about what is lacking? It is the ‘right mindset’. As student aspirants, they need to understand what the requirement of foreign education is. For instance, the UK system of education wants someone who has a holistic approach to life. So, they must understand that philosophy about what are the required qualities. From what I have seen, Indian students generally make a checklist to complete.

    However, it should not be about completing the checklist; but about building a unique profile. One more thing I would like to add is building good relationships with teachers. Because the only thing students don’t write by themselves in the application is the ‘letter of recommendation from their teachers. In foreign universities what your teachers think about you as a student carries a lot of weightage. I would like to conclude by saying that think above grades, marks, and academics.

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    What are the dos and don’ts you will suggest to students while applying to foreign universities?

    Okay, here are the five key points to sum up:

    1. Focus on your academics but don’t get obsessed with it.
    2. Get involved in the community.
    3. Do not get obsessed with entrance exams.
    4. Build good relationships with your teachers.
    5. Don’t do things for the sake of it, do it because you are interested.