Putting an end to worries of high schoolers, Crimson Pathfinder is providing help to applicants quantify the value of their activities in preparation to apply to competitive universities and colleges.
As college admissions become more competitive, high school students are looking for innovative ways to prepare for college. They want to know what looks good on college applications and what extracurricular activities will give them the best chance of getting into their dream colleges.
In an interview with ‘businessfortnight.com’ Kunal Mehra, International Educational Consultant Crimson Education India, shares his insights on how Crimson Education launched Pathfinder, a tool incorporated in the Crimson App to gamify the admission process. Pathfinder is essentially a master of everything a student can do during high school to increase their chances of admission to top US universities.
Q- What are the key preparations a student should work upon during high school days to prepare himself/herself to increase chances of admission to top US universities?
Ans- The best universities in the world look beyond academic accomplishments and test scores – undoubtedly, these are important, but good grades and test scores are a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. Top universities want to know you beyond your transcripts and score cards.
Universities don’t necessarily look for a specific set of things or prefer a particular activity over another (yes, you read it right and – research papers aren’t essential and neither is teaching underprivileged kids) – however, they do look for students who are not just intelligent but who are also impactful intellectuals, who demonstrate leadership, initiative, creativity and the intent to make an impact in the world they live in.
If you are a high school student in India targeting the top Universities in the world – then get involved in your school, your community, and start actively contributing to the world around you – and start NOW! Participate in a wide variety of initiatives – from community projects, volunteering opportunities, to professional experience such as internships, to nurturing and advancing your own personal interests –music, art, sports or even an uncommon hobby.
Work on a problem/issue/cause that you deeply care but remember you’re not doing this just for the sake of your college application but with the intent of making a real difference – however, small that difference maybe!
If you have an idea (and belief) that can truly solve a real-world problem, from access to education to sanitization, public health to gender neutrality, from climate change to body positivity or bullying – go for it. But don’t just stop at talking about it – do something, make an impact – build a start-up, code an app, start a campaign, create a fundraiser, join a not-for-profit or start one. Most importantly do what you truly and deeply care for and it will count in the application – often more than you can imagine.
Q- What was the idea behind developing Pathfinder and how it is going to help aspiring students?
Ans- Pathfinder was born out of a two pronged need, the first is to take our Strategists advice to the next level and help them provide more strategic, targeted, specific, and achievable guidance to students on their journey to admissions success. The second is to help the students wade through all the noise and hundreds of options that are available to them and be able to carve their own unique journey with a personalized mix of activities that maximize their personal narrative. Pathfinder gamefies the entire admissions process.
It’s also a smart reality check that aids in keeping students accountable for their progress. In each student’s journey, it opens up multiple avenues to build a competent profile as there are hundreds of different ways to get from one level to the next..
Q- What are the most sought-after US universities/colleges and how Pathfinder can help students to get admission to them?
Ans- The most sought after US universities remain the ivy leagues – Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania as well as Stanford, MIT, UC Berkeley, UCLA to name a few.
Pathfinder has 5 levels of increasing difficulty— Scout, Seeker, Venturer, Voyager, Globetrotter. While, there is no precise correlation between achieving a certain level on Crimson Pathfinder and getting admitted to a particular school – but students who achieve “Globetrotter” are much more competitive as applicants to Harvard than students who achieve “Seeker.”
Crimson Pathfinder is an optimization tool — the higher a student scores on Crimson Pathfinder, the more optimized their profile will be, and the more competitive of an applicant they’ll be for top schools. This tool includes progress bars for each component in a student’s application – Academics, Standardized Tests, Extracurriculars, Majors/Careers/School Choice, and Personal Development (which includes reading and writing) and a time tracker that calculates how on track the student is to achieve their chosen target level by September of their application year. Each of these individual components are essentially a list of potential achievements, activities, or pursuits that a Strategist and student can pick from – which essentially are the critical components that Admission Officers look at while evaluating a student.
Q- Adopting Technology is not easy, we still believe in the traditional approach of mentorship, how does pathfinder breaks this barrier?
Ans- The Crimson model has 1:1 mentoring and guidance between a student and their mentors, at the core of its value proposition. However, we are also a big proponent of leveraging technology (as opposed to perhaps replacing them) to make traditional models more efficient of mentoring and guidance.
Pathfinder is an equally important tool in a Strategists’ (as we call our admission consultants) arsenal, which aids in mapping out intermediate goals for students leading up to the application cycle, and track progress along the way.
In essence, Pathfinder allows a strategist to create a flexible, personalizable, comprehensive and most importantly a scalable map for guiding their students towards achieving their full potential.
This allows our Strategists to personalize each of their students’ paths to their precise needs and increase their chances of acceptance at Top US and UK universities
Q- With technology evolving at a fast pace how do you plan to keep up with it? what is your next plan of action in Edu Tech?
Ans- Crimson is a fast growing educational company with a very strong tech DNA – we’ve been rated among the top 50 rising start-ups by Deloitte, and the GSV #EdTech150, a list of the world’s leading, most transformational growth companies in digital learning. We are backed by Tiger Global, which has invested in the world’s largest and fastest growing start-ups which are now leaders in the digital economy such as Facebook, Uber, Airbnb etc.
Crimson has invested heavily in integrating technology in all aspects of our business both internally and externally. We are doubling down on tech enabling educational and learning outcomes. One of the projects at Crimson that I am most excited about is our online high school – CGA (Crimson Global Academy). CGA allows students to complete high school through IGCSE, A-levels, AP and American High School Diploma without stepping out of their homes.
In a very short period of time, CGA has become one of the largest online high schools in terms of enrollments – we hope to take CGA to every nook and corner of the world and offer students from across the globe the opportunity to study an international curriculum through world class teachers in a truly global environment.
Q-Talking about technology, Can you also highlight any other tool in Crimson App, which is making its mark in the Edu Tech Industry
Ans – The Crimson app is the backbone of the work we do with our students. We firmly believe that in addition to a strong team of mentors, one needs a robust and seamless process to be able to maximize the impact of their work. The Crimson app provides the much needed structure and an outcome oriented approach to the work a student does with their mentors. The app allows us to document, record and track progress of everything a student does over the course of their application journey (which can often be as long as 3-4 years). The app has in-built visual tools that leverage proven project management methodologies to give each student a personalised visual roadmap with Gant charts, timelines and to-do lists that ensure all the advice translates to tangible outcomes for the student. Students can communicate with their mentors through the instant messaging service in the app, allowing them to continuously stay in touch with their mentors.
Lastly, the Crimson Community is a powerful tool which offers Indian students a social, interactive forum to not only compare and compete with students from across the globe but also collaborate with them and help Indian students scale their local initiatives to global projects.