Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- Who is this site for?
This site is for anyone interested to pursue a college degree (Associate, BA/BS, MS, ME, MBA, Ph.D) in the United States. Students who are interested in a 4-year college degree (BA/BS) should consult our US 4-Year College pages. Students who are interested in an MS/MBA/Ph.D college degree should consult our US Grad School pages.
Our website is loaded with original content - enough content to fill a small book! It contains our proprietary methods for school and course selection. We include several pointers to help you build a formidable campaign. The site is heavily referenced using some of the world's best resources. Our site is designed to be a logical, easy-to-follow but comprehensive, self-help guide. We are confident that your odds of success are higher with our approach.
- What services do you offer?
For US 4-Year College applicants, we offer three services. First, we educate parents in short group information sessions about everything they need to know about college planning for their children. Second, we conduct camps for high school children, typically 9th - 11th graders, all about college. And third, we provide individual counseling to families which involves a fee per hour.
For US Grad School applicants, typically international students, we offer individual counseling which involves a fee. Most students are interested in our low cost one-on-one counseling services. We use state-of-the-art methods such as video conferencing (Skype, Google Hangouts), cloud based tools and the web to engage with students in a secure environment.
- Why did you launch your site?
For US 4-Year College applicants: With more and more students applying to the nation's top colleges, it is becoming increasingly harder to get in. The top 12 colleges accepted just 1 applicant in 10, some, even fewer. We wanted to help students and parents understand what top schools are looking for and how students should better plan their high school years to have a shot at getting into the nation's top 100 colleges.
We believe that the current process that students use to select US schools is sub-optimal. Too many students apply to the same top schools and are disappointed when they do not get in. There are ways to use publicly available information such as yield rates, selectivity and test score ranges to better select schools that match student profiles. Using articulation agreements is another under-exploited avenue to get into top schools through the back door. In this hyper-competitive environment, the quality of essays takes on special significance.
Our thinking is that in today's world, an international student gratefully accepts any school that offers admission - even if the school's tier is much lower than the student’s natural ability; or the school is a natural mismatch for the student's long-term career goals. For international students, the only objective appears to be to enter the US somehow with the hope of figuring out details later.
The truth is that the United States is a complex country where opportunities are uneven. An international student from a lower-ranked school in one state is able to find multiple jobs after graduation; another from a higher-ranked school in a different state struggles to find even an internship and may well be forced to return to his/her country in frustration.
We believe there's a better way.
- What are the highlights of your approach?
Our proprietary methods are based on an intimate understanding of the United States and its higher education system. We help students leverage market conditions in the US to better select a good state and school. We mine publicly-available micro-economic data to help them select the right course of study and, in special cases, re-brand their profiles to meet changing needs on the ground. We track current US trends from public information sources that we identify, make arguments for or against them, draw conclusions and provide counsel. We believe that students should better understand a complex, dynamic country such as the United States and much like an airplane in flight, make minute adjustments to flight plans to be successful.
And most importantly for our visitors, we detail all of this on our website, for FREE. Our methods are the foundation of our one-on-one secure videoconferencing sessions.
Please note that we don’t represent a US college or university nor do we take commissions from any US college, university or agency. We stand behind everything that we say. Our services are 100% ethical and meet the highest standards of integrity in the education management business. Our only stakeholder is you.
In short, we help students (and their parents who have to foot the bill) significantly improve their Return on Investment (ROI). See Why We Are Unique for more details.
- What are your qualifications to offer me advice about US schools?
The company was founded by Rajkamal Rao, a former management consulting professional who has an intimate understanding of the United States, its educational system, its economy and culture. Mr. Rao has been to 46 of 50 states during his 26 years in the United States consulting for clients in many of these states. He earned two Masters degrees from the US including an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. He followed his education with 17 years of Management Consulting experience at some of the largest firms in the world - including KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The outcome based college selection methods whose development he led are based on the same principles that finance professionals globally use to improve return on project investments. Click here to know more about Rajkamal Rao.
We are probably the only education counseling firm in the world where the founder and lead counselor is also an accomplished writer/columnist. In 2013, Mr. Rao won first prize in the consulting firm McKinsey's global essay competition. He frequently writes Op-eds for The Hindu BusinessLine, India's largest financial newspaper. Click here for an archive of his opinion pieces. He writes a regular column, "World View", for the paper's online portal for MBA students. He has also written four books all available on Amazon, including one about college selection.
As more international students seek admission to US schools, their Statements of Purpose become ever so more important. Students who sign up for our low cost one-on-one counseling services are relieved to know that Mr. Rao personally reviews every SOP that is submitted and provides valuable feedback. He believes in the concept of "progressive enhancement" as he guides students through 2-3 revisions, in the cloud, before they finalize their essays.
- I am thinking of going to the UK or Australia or Canada for higher education. Can you help?
Yes, although our expertise in outcome based college selection is limited to higher education in the United States.
- Do you take commissions from a US college or agency for your advice?
No, we are strongly against the practice of commission based recruiting because we believe that it is not in the best interests of the student.
Not many international students know that this practice is actually illegal in the United States. That is, US schools are forbidden to recruit US students by paying commissions to agents.
Unfortunately, this practice is wide-spread in foreign countries where local laws - and not US laws - apply.
- What is your position on school rankings as a way to select US schools?
In our minds, there is a clear distinction between reputation and ranking. Some schools are simply known for how famous they are. Examples are the elite universities such as the Ivy Leagues, MIT, CMU, Stanford, Michigan, Duke, University of Virginia, Georgia Tech, Caltech and the like. These institutions have honed their reputations over decades (and in some cases, centuries) and it would be a privilege to attend one of these schools.
School rankings, however, are another matter. We think that there is an over-reliance on rankings and for the average international student seeking to enter a school in the US, this over-reliance doesn't serve him or her well.
Our school selection method - outlined in steps 4, 5 and 6 of our Seven Step method - uses rankings sparingly and more as a final filter, if at all, rather than as an initial starting point.
- How often do you update your site?
We are a digital media company and believe in updating our site frequently - generally multiple times a day - with the most relevant and accurate information.
Our US trends section gives you important information so that you can better retool your campaign. We are very selective in what we post here. We believe that this section will be valuable to you right until the time you leave for the United States. We update this section generally once a week.
- Do you provide one-on-one counseling services?
Yes. Through our secure one-on-one counseling offering, we provide service to students and families anywhere in the world.
- Do you work with educational institutions which send students to the United States?
Yes. Many good educational institutions, which take pride in guiding students carefully in the areas of placement and training, realize that they do not have the expertise in-house to impart quality counseling to students who wish to go to the US. Yet they have a compelling interest to take active part in the students’ career plans.
We work with institutions to offer Advanced Premium Services (APS) to help address these and other issues that are local to an institution. In effect, we become a trusted service provider who can impart high quality, ethical and impartial counseling to their aspiring international students.
If you represent a school or college that regularly sends students to the US and are interested to know more about our APS program, please click here: For Institutions: Advanced Premium Services.
- We have heard that you offer a comprehensive set of seminar classes at institutions. Can you expand?
This is correct. We have worked with several institutions, our counselors in the US and some of the good folks at EducationUSA in Washington, D.C., to assess the knowledge gap that exists when students first consider going to the US for higher education.
Here is a full list of seminar courses we offer at institutions. The only requirement is that the institution must sign a Memorandum of Understanding with us because this is an Advanced Placement offering. See our response to Question 11 above for more information on this topic. Currently this service is offered only in India but we expect to launch this in other countries in the future. There is a nominal fee for these seminars.
Indian students currently in post secondary schools, studying in Class X, XI and XII are good candidates for our Undergraduate Seminars. These are typically held one hour a week for about 5 weeks. Seminars are highly interactive and are laden with practical examples and tips.
Indian students currently in college and planning Masters or Ph.D degrees in the US are good candidates for our Graduate Seminars. These seminars are typically held in two sessions of 3 hours each. Seminars are highly interactive and are laden with practical examples and tips. A single student's profile is considered and the full school/course selection process is demonstrated live so that seminar students can follow along.
Students who complete our seminars rarely need one-on-one counseling afterwards. They are also better educated and informed so that they can deal with the clutter that exists in the market place. For example, when a foreign university descends upon an Indian school campus, these students can better challenge university officials with the correct questions.