How Crimson Education Helps Students Get Into Top US & UK Universities

How Crimson Education Helps Students Get Into Top US & UK Universities

August 15, 2019 7 By Stanley Isaacs


– The long and competitive road to college is about to begin for the class of 2023. High school seniors navigating
the college admission process face record low acceptance
rates from Ivy League schools. Crimson Education is an
educational technology company that helps students map out a strategy to get into those top schools. The CEO and co-founder of the company, Jamie Beaton joins me now. Jamie, great to see you.
– Great to see you too. – So you are a New Zealander,
and you founded this company, in New Zealand but you aimed to target international students, talk a little bit about your target audience because they’re not just in New Zealand, they’re all over the world. – Exactly, so when I was 18, I applied to 25 universities
all around the world like Harvard, Yale,
Columbia, Cambridge etc, I got into all these schools and basically to help
initially New Zealand students getting into the world’s best schools. We had a lot of success there, and then we took the
business to Australia, across southeast Asia, and now we’ve expanded
throughout the whole world. With operations in Africa,
all the way to Shanghai. – So how is your company
different from other companies or other consultants who
help kids get into school? – So the first thing is we
have a global network now of more than 2000 mentors from
the world’s best universities places like Oxford, Rhodes
Scholars, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, as well as crib frictions
with places like Goldman Sachs and FaceBook. Secondly we have really
amazing matching technology designed by the former
chief scientist of eHarmony. – [Interviewer] This is
where technology comes in. – Yeah, which basically matches
students and their interests to mentors that are a good fit for them on an online platform. And that global access is
instrumental to our success. – Now you’re expanding in North America, I know you have some
offices in the east coast. Compare and contrast
what your service offers with what local college
admissions consultants offer because they’re very familiar
with the school districts, the curriculum, with the
minutiae of who gets in where, what value add do you offer then? – So we actually typically start
around the age of 14 or 15. And we help students construct
typically a four year plan for high school, supporting them across
extracurricular selection to building their extracurricular skills in areas like debating, Model UN, theater, as well as in the academic areas too, things like SAT subject
test selection, ACT all the way through to this
comprehensive college support where we help you actually
speak to college students from all the different
campuses you are applying to. So it’s a much more comprehensive program involving usually five to
eight mentors per student. So think about – Are those mentors locally based, or are they all over the
world, all over the country? – So yeah, based all over the world. Typically for American students, say studying here in New York, you’re gonna have a number
of mentors from the US, typically some from New York,
that have local understanding as well as folks at
say places like Oxford, if you might be submitting
an application over there. So that kind of all
encompassing expert network, has a lot more expertise in it
than just one individual can, you know for any one college. – Talk a little bit about
how demand has changed since 2016 when Donald
Trump was elected president and he’s of course stepped up a lot of his
anti-immigrant rhetoric and that affects students and where they want to go to school. – Yeah for sure, it’s been
really interesting really, so people would expect say some
of the US numbers to decline what we’ve actually seen
is a spike in applications to some of the most competitive schools, but a relative decline in some of the less competitive schools. So the US top 50 has seen
continually strong growth in general, most about geography. – [Interviewer] So it
hasn’t taken a dip at all. – Yeah no, one trend we are seeing though, is more American students
looking to apply to the UK. So we’re seeing an increase in demand for the kids here in New
York and in San Francisco, to go to places like Oxford and Cambridge, and sort of get out for a
couple of years of university. Which is kinda funny. – That is interesting, are they
only heading towards Europe, are they looking at the
rest of the world as well or other pats of Europe for instance? – So we are seeing people
looking at places like Germany as well as Canada, and
actually even medical schools in places like Australia and New Zealand. But the most kind of classic
place to apply is the UK for American students that are
looking to leave the country. – You know one thing that I hear a lot from families in the US, the fear is the college admissions process is a zero sum game. You’ve got international students
who can pay full tuition, international tuition on top of that, whereas kids in the US often don’t, their families don’t have enough money to even pay the full sticker price. Is that fear justified,
that this is a zero sum game for those in the US and
that they’re losing out? – It’s not really in general, because what tends to happen
in the most competitive schools like say Harvard, Williams, etc is there’s a general quota
on international students, so typically around 15%
of the class maximum are international students. So as an American student,
you’re only really competing with other American students. And the share of kids from
international countries isn’t really growing as
a proportion of the class in most of these universities. And it is true that some
of the lower ranked schools that are trying to get more revenue, that they’re trying to crank up international student numbers, but at the most competitive schools, where the sort of stress around college admissions is highest, you’re actually not facing too much of an international competitions. So that’s a bit of a misnomer. – Alright, let’s talk a
little bit about cost here, because some of your services, $50 an hour for a video
session seem kind of steep. And if kids are starting
when they’re freshmen in high school like you suggest, the bills can add up pretty quickly. How much are we talking about
here if someone signs up when they’re a freshman in high school? – So Crimson is very affordable because if you think about
the cost of private education in the US, people are often
paying upward of 60K USD a year for their private schools
say here in New York City. Crimson Services typically
cost between five to 10K for an annual program with us, which involves typically
more than 100 hours of immersive personalized support. So we see many families actually opting to leave private
schools and join public schools and use our services, or use our services in addition to their
current education program. So we’re focusing on
that return on investment for the services. – Alright I need to ask
you to give me one free tip for those kids who are
applying to schools. What’s the best tip you can offer? – Okay here’s one tip. Take more subject tests. People often assume you only need two, our data suggests that
taking between four to six actually improves your
admission odds a lot. – Are you talking about the SAT Two? – SAT Two Subject Tests. So many students only do
two, they might do a math and a biology, many of our students are actually taking more than that. We find it works quite well,
I took six for example. – You took six, should you be prioritizing the STEM subjects, or
humanities are just as good? – So what we find is having
at least one humanities subject like SAT Subject
Test Two English Literature goes a long way, or US world history. But we like to see a strong
selection of STEM subjects where possible, and all
the areas a student can do. So many of our kids from other countries are doing biology, chemistry,
physics and math too, but it’s not necessary by any stretch. (jazz music)