I spent two weeks in India in September traveling to number of cities such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad etc. During this trip, I had the pleasure of meeting with hundreds of students, parents and school admission counselors. As we spoke to number of parents and students interested in applying to colleges in U.S., Canada, U.K etc., a few things became clear from these meetings.
First, more and more parents, students are interested in exploring study abroad options. Twenty five years, majority of students going abroad were either graduate students from the top engineering colleges in India or children of affluent families. However, this trend has changed a little, where we see more and more high-school students from upper middle class and wealthy looking at study abroad options even for undergraduate programs. Many parents are not clear if they should look at colleges in North America and UK or should they also explore study options in number of countries such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia etc. My frequent advice to parents and student is to think about a college as a platform for their future aspirations and career growth. A college definitely provides them a degree, a strong environment to develop personal, professional skills, knowledge and network, but more so it provides a platform for their future professional growth and career. Hence, joining a college anywhere in the world that cannot help them further their professional growth and career may not be the best investment of their time and effort.
Second, there is enormous amount of information on the web on college admission process, guidance and feedback. Still, parents and students are as confused as before on what makes sense and what to believe. Information is good, but more information can be sometime confusing and this is definitely the case on college admission guidance. There are also hundreds of boutique college admission counseling companies, and parents are not sure who to engage for quality service. Every company claims to have proven results, experience and insights to get their child into a top college. Many of these companies also fail to disclose to students and parents, fees they get paid for sending a student to a foreign college.
Lastly, parents are not sure how an independent college admission counselor can help their child with the admissions. This is a good question and something I was also not fully aware of until I decided to launch Stoodnt. No one can know a child better than their parents and school teachers. Similarly, I believe no one knows the college admission process better than the staff of that particular college or the independent college admission counselors who spend significant time visiting college campus, attending conference, meeting college admission teams and working with hundreds of students on providing guidance and help. No one can guarantee an admission, however a good college admission counselor can provide insights, guidance and help to an student to achieve excellent outcomes best to their ability, profile and aspirations.