A letter to the parents of the Class of 2024


By Rajkamal Rao

Feb 12, 2023

These are exciting times for your 11th-grader as the all-important college admission season is upon us. Thank you again for being a valued customer!

I wanted to take a few moments to outline what to expect for your teenager during the next few months.

Core academics: In most cases, the foundation of a high school student's profile is formed by the end-of-11th grade credentials (WGPA, class rank, and special certificates such as the AP Capstone Diploma).

Summer extracurriculars: The upcoming summer can be crucial to demonstrating extracurricular interest/leadership/experience in your student's field. Please visit our post here - we have significantly expanded our summer opportunity list. Many institutions have already closed their application windows, but several are still open. We urge you to act promptly. If you have not received our long-form resume template in which your teenager will brag about all their accomplishments, we will send it to you when we meet for our college selection discussion.

College admission tests: Tests are
important because they help confirm the legitimacy of your high school GPA. We require you to have at least one SAT or ACT score on file before scheduling a meeting to discuss potential colleges and majors. Our tool relies on Department of Education data about the 25th and 75th percentile cutoffs for your desired college. If you have not taken the SAT/ACT even once, you must at least have the results of one official mock test that you have taken at home before you can meet with us. Review our post here about preparing for the SAT/ACT if you are taking it this summer. All the California public universities, Harvard and the other Ivies, Stanford, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago will be test-optional for the Class of 2024. The southern California public schools, such as UCLA and UC San Diego, will be test-blind for the Class of 2024. We can decide your score submission strategy when we meet.

Task plan: Please review our post that outlines your student's various steps to complete college applications this season. We list our proprietary tools to assist you at each stage - tools that we will share with you as we encounter each step. Many of these tools are designed to limit your engagement with us so that your teenager builds confidence as a do-it-yourself-er and you save from fewer invoices from us!

Essays: Your student's college essays will remain the most critical part of the application package. Please sit with your teenager to review our primer on essays. We have invested heavily in the essay review process - now replicating the process that colleges employ.

Each essay goes through a two-pass review.
On our team is Kyle Wang who has an undergraduate degree in English from Stanford and is pursuing a Master's degree at Stanford. Junah Jung, is pursuing her English undergraduate major at Stanford. Nikita Daga, is an undergraduate student at Duke. Mollie Ripple has an undergrad degree from Baylor and a Master's degree from UT Medical Branch.  Rajkamal Rao, our lead counselor, uses his years of experience as a columnist and 17-years of management consulting experience oversees review operations and edits each essay before final delivery to the client.

I will continue to do the second-pass review that examines every word and punctuation mark for correctness, clarity, engagement, delivery, final presentation, and plagiarism. In addition to my role as an op-ed columnist with the Hindu group, I now serve on the editorial board of tippinsights, from America's most accurate pollster. More than 450 articles have already appeared across various media outlets, and I continue to write 2-3 pieces each week. I bring this writing experience and context to world affairs to each college essay I review.

Results: Our investments and efforts have paid off. On top of three excellent years in a row, we had a truly stellar year for the high school class of 2022. Several clients were interviewed at the best schools, including MIT, Caltech, Yale, Columbia, CMU, Princeton, Penn, Brown, Cornell, CMU, and Johns Hopkins. Several students got confirmed admissions to Columbia, Cornell, Yale, Brown, Princeton, Rice, NYU, Vanderbilt, Wash U, and CMU. A few got admissions to direct MD programs. Many clients reported getting into some of the best public Ivies. UT Austin, UC Berkeley, Georgia Tech, the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, UCLA, the University of Michigan, Purdue, the University of Virginia, and the College of William and Mary repeatedly made the list. Clients also got into Texas A&M, Arizona State, the University of Washington, the University of Pittsburgh, and Virginia Tech.

Our clients have continued to acknowledge our work through their public reviews - we have been a Google 5-star small business for four years in a row. Our fees effective June 1, 2022 are $169/hr.
Please rest assured that we have developed new tools that will likely lower your overall hours of engagement, such as reusing essays or self-managing your task plan. Our library of over 50 original posts dedicated to the 11th and 12th grader is loaded with information. Our Facebook Business Page, operational since 2013, contains a treasure-trove of information about every aspect of college readiness. Our model of encouraging you to limit engagement with us to only those elements for which you need one-on-one assistance may be counter-intuitive. But it is the reason for our growth and positioning in this industry.

Next steps: Please begin your engagement with us early. The first or second week of June is the best time to start. ApplyTex opens July 1. The Common App and Coalition App open on Aug 1. But essay prompts are already out. The earlier we complete your part of the admissions process, the better off you will be. Please use our online calendar to reserve your spot.

12th-graders are our most important constituency, given how truly life-changing the Senior year can be. As during previous years, we will shutter our services to all other grades between Sep 15 and Nov 1, the busiest six weeks of the college admissions season. If you have a younger one needing help, we ask you to book appointments outside this window.

I hope to work with your student in the coming months. Good luck!

​Rajkamal Rao

A Note About Rao Advisors Premium Services
Our promise is to empower you with high-quality, ethical and free advice via this website.  But parents and students often ask us if they can engage with us for individual counseling sessions.

Individual counseling is part of the Premium Offering of Rao Advisors and involves a fee.  Please contact us for more information.

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