An interview with Quinn Koh, General Manager of educational consultancy Crimson Education Singapore

Quinn Koh, General Manager of Crimson Education (Singapore).

Seen our article on educational consultancies? We got the chance to dive deeper into what they do with the help of Crimson Education!

Read on to find out more, and keep a lookout for some great advice on how to improve your admission chances!

Q: Could you give a brief explanation on the services Crimson Education provides for all our readers out there?

Quinn: Since 2013, Crimson has supported students to secure 950+ offers to the world’s most competitive colleges such as Caltech and Johns Hopkins, 190+ offers to Ivy League schools and 60 offers to Oxford and Cambridge, and $68M USD worth of scholarships and financial aid.

Each Crimson program is tailored to fit the specific needs and goals of the student and their family. The standard first step is to set up a free consultation with a Crimson Academic Advisor during which we can understand the student’s needs and design a program accordingly.

While Crimson offers simple one service programs (ie: subject tutoring), the majority of our students are interested in our unique, full-service approach to university application assistance. This includes support in all areas of the application including: best-fit university choice, test preparation, extracurricular and leadership mentoring, essay mentoring, interview practice and time management.

Our experts also act as support for school career’s counsellors who may not be completely familiar with the US/UK application processes.

Q: What makes Crimson Education different from all the other education agencies/consultancies out there?

Quinn: There are a number of things that set Crimson aside from other agencies and consultancies.

These include:

1. Crimson’s Technological Advantage

Crimson’s AI-driven technology platform enables us to provide a consistent high-quality service to students across the globe in a low-cost, scalable fashion. In an effort to ensure our business growth is sustainable, we are continuing to leverage technology across all facets of our business and service delivery.

Key to this is our Crimson App, which offers technology designed specifically for our students and includes features such as:

  • a scheduling calendar enabling students to book tutoring sessions, synch to their calendars, add notes and resources.
  • a personalised roadmap where tutors can map out a student entire multi-year journey
  • full length diagnostic tests – SAT and ACT practice tests written for Crimson by global experts which allow for smart, algorithm driven diagnostics which provide instant feedback
  • in-App Chat messaging with individual tutors or groups
  • student reports – to students AND parents which are automatically generated and contain summaries on a student’s progress with the invitation of student /parent feedback
  • and the New Crimson Online Classroom where sessions are connected automatically using Zoom with immediate post session reporting.

2. Crimson’s Extracurricular and Leadership Support

Quinn: Crimson is the only company in the world to offer extensive Extracurricular & Leadership (ECL) Mentoring. Mentors from every area of interest help students discover their passions and develop their skills to become an impressive leader.  The ECL Marketplace gives students access to a database and information on over 1500+ (and growing) extra-curricular and leadership opportunities from around the world. Opportunities include some of the most respected, innovative and interesting projects and tours imaginable including internships with Oxford University researchers, innovative Tech Startups. Students can also find team members around the world who are interested in the same ECL projects to achieve more impact together.

3. Crimson’s Philanthropy

Crimson is unique in its constant efforts to level the playing field of world top university admissions. To this end some 15% of students are on some form of internal financial aid. Further, Crimson is heavily invested in philanthropic initiatives which include:

  • The Crimson Youth Fund which provides students around the world with funding for their extracurricular projects.

A student’s initial 45 min consultation with a Crimson Academic Advisor is also free and comes with no obligation.

4. Our Global Network, including Executives Leveling Up!

Quinn: Crimson’s network of 2,400 tutors and mentors includes collegiates and graduates from the world’s best universities, such as: Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Oxford and more. The company’s leadership team is dedicated to ‘leveling up’ on their own educations as a means to improve their services and inspire their students.

Examples of this include:

  • Crimson CEO/ co-founder Jamie Beaton, 24, who graduated from Harvard University Magna Cum Laude with a double-degree in Applied Mathematics-Economics and Applied Math in 2016 – two years ahead of schedule – and this month graduates from Stanford with a MBA is now going to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he’ll study studyalgorithmic matching of students and teachers in online learning environments. While in high school, he applied to the top 25 universities in the world and was accepted into each of them, including: Princeton, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, Cambridge and more
  • Crimson COO/co-founder SharndreKushor, 24, has gained acceptance into the University of Pennsylvania’s highly competitive Computer Science Masters program – she will start her largely on-line degree in the Fall.
  • Crimson CFO, Fangzhou Jiang has just completed his first year of his Master of Science in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford School of Engineering. When completed Fangzhou will undertake a Doctor of Education at Johns Hopkins.

5. Crimson’s Lifetime of Support

Our support for our students does not end when they are admitted to their dream university(s). Our Crimson Alumni Club,which now has hundreds of ex-Crimson student members, provides a ‘family’ network of young people living through similar overseas university experiences. It acts both as a bonding network for our hard-working university admits and a resource as students share advice on internships and career opportunities.

Q: Typically, when do students approach Crimson Education for help?

Quinn: This varies. In general, most of our students come to us in their second last year of school but we are increasingly finding that families and students are approaching us earlier as they become educated about the high benefit of starting their journey towards world top university admission early.

Statistically, students who work with us 2+ years before their applications are due have a great advantage when it comes to Ivy league admission for example – being 4 x more likely to gain admission than the global population average. (compared to 2x more likely for students who join Crimson in their last year).

Students and their families are also becoming increasingly aware that building a strong extracurricular and leadership profile is key to a student’s eventual admission success.  We work with a lot of students in years 9 or 10 who are keen to build on their personal passions and extracurricular projects.

Q: How many Singaporean students have Crimson Education helped mentor thus far, and how has the success rate been?

Quinn: In Singapore, Crimson has helped hundreds of students over the past three years. In the last admissions cycle alone, our Singapore-based students secured 64 offers to Top 50 US universities and 56 offers to Top 10 UK universities.

The success rate of our students is close to perfect with 98% of our Singapore-based students securing at least one offer from their top 5 university preferences.

We are proud of both the dedication of our tutors and mentors, and the hard work of our students who achieve outcomes that ultimately change the course of their lives and often that of their family’s.

Q: We hear that Crimson Education offers financial aid to students that require it – could we learn more about this initiative?

Quinn: Given our belief that every student, no matter their location or economic status, deserves access to the best education the world has to offer, Crimson is proud to see 15% of our students receive internal financial aid.

Further to this, as previously mentioned, we’ve also launched a series of initiatives aimed at helping students associated with disadvantaged backgrounds. These include:

  • The Te Ara a Kupe Beaton Maori Scholarship in NZ, which has successfully seen indigenous students gain access to world class universities and includes one student who this year was admitted to the US’s Mount Holyoke College on full financial aid.
  • A partnership with Educate The Children (ETC) in Kenya, which sees Crimson provide educational tutoring and resources to the only girls high school in the Masai Mara. (These girls are often forced to marry at 12 and are the victims of forced genital mutilation – our aim is to help break this cycle through education.)

We also started the Crimson Youth Fund to help brilliant students around the world fund their extracurricular activities.

Q: Lastly, in your opinion, what skills or knowledge do Singaporeans students lack/have gaps in? Any advice on what they can do to fill these gaps?

Quinn: In my opinion, Singapore students would benefit from taking more ownership of their education and extracurricular pathways. Many students are highly dependent on their schools to provide them with institutional activities to lead and participate. However, a school is not always able to cater to the individual needs of every single student. I encourage all students to take a step back, to take some time to evaluate what they really enjoy or want to explore in their lives. Once they do this, they are better placed to seek out challenging academic and extracurricular opportunities provided inside and outside of school.

Besides building the softer aspects of personal development, this proactivity in extracurriculars and leadership is especially beneficial if a student wants to study at a top US or UK university. Beyond academics, admissions officers often look for traits such as leadership skills, entrepreneurial skills, creativity, and resourcefulness. For example, a student whom Crimson supported through the Crimson Youth Fund, ran a successful online Model United Nations event utilising technology to scale and reach students studying in different parts of the world. A typical Model UN is organised by a school and conducted in-person, so this was an incredibly unique and courageous initiative. It is these qualities that set a student above the sometimes fierce application competition.

Credit mention: Quinn Koh, General Manager of Crimson Education

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