As Ivy Coach has opened up an office in India, we thought we’d discuss the current state of college admissions counseling within the country. In a line, it is quite bad! And that’s an understatement. For students in India who wish to pursue their university educations within the United States — and at some of the most prestigious universities in particular (like the ones ranked in the top twenty in “US News & World Report”) — there is nowhere to turn for help. And we mean nowhere.
We’ve taken the time to examine the private college counseling firms students in India (and their parents) have turned to in the past and while it doesn’t surprise us that these firms don’t seem to know what they’re doing (with no expertise in U.S. highly selective university admissions), what is ironic to us is that they advertise that they don’t know what they’re doing on their websites. That’s right. They advertise that they have no idea what they’re doing.
As an example, a firm known as “eduabroad” writes this about the Personal Statement, the college essay that is part of the Common Application: “A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is an essay expressing your purpose of study in a particular university and your career objectives, academic achievements, ambitions, future plans, clearly and precisely so the college can understand and evaluate your application better before granting an admission.” Are they kidding? A Personal Statement should, by no means, boast of achievements. It should not cite your ambitions, future plans, and express your purpose of study in a particular university. How could it? That same Personal Statement is sent to every single school. In supplemental essays to universities, those essays can — and absolutely should — be tailored to each individual school but the Personal Statement cannot be. And to boast about personal achievements? Clearly this firm has little understanding of the holistic admissions process. Boasting of achievements doesn’t inspire admissions officers to want to root for students. In fact, it has the complete opposite effect! This is a very good reason why student’s don’t get in…not why they do.
This is the kind of company that is advising students on how to gain admission to a top university in the United States? Or how about “OnCourse,” a firm started by two very recent college graduates. As we’ve said for many years, what makes someone who just graduated from university qualified to advise students on how to gain admission to these universities? Just because this kid got in, he or she is suddenly a master of the process for all students? No.
And thus Ivy Coach, a firm with a quarter century of experience advising students on gaining admission to highly selective U.S. universities (including the Ivy League universities), enters the Indian marketplace. We have been advising students in India for many years when they come to us online, but we’ve now got an office in the country of India as well.