This startup is helping South African graduates study at Ivy League colleges in the US

Education and mentoring consultancy, Crimson Education, has launched in South Africa.

The New Zealand company was founded in 2013 by high schoolers Jamie Beaton and South African-born, Sharndre Kushor. Crimson Education has since grown into a multi-million-dollar company, with offices in over 15 countries world-wide including Australia, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore.

The system has relations with all eight Ivy League members including Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and Yale University.

The term Ivy League has connotations of academic excellence, selectivity in admissions, and social elitism. Of all the Ivy Leagues, Harvard graduates have the highest average income with alumni earning approximately $87,000 in their first year, more than double the amount of the average college graduate.

“The top-ranked universities in the world are extremely competitive; most have acceptance rates under 10%. This means that the process of applying is daunting, especially to international students unfamiliar with foreign educational processes,” said Kushor.

Crimson Education’s business model is simple but effective; the company connects high school students to teams of mentors who have walked similar educational and career paths. The team will even coach students through launching a community project or small business, aligned with their interests and goals.

“We provide hands-on support to our students across academics, leadership roles, extra-curricular activities and university admissions,” said Kushor.

According to country manager for South Africa, Duncan Parsons, South African students are underrepresented at the top universities in the world. According to figures from EducationUSA, only 0.1% of South African university applicants go on to study at US institutions after matric.

“There is familiarity with applying for postgraduate studies abroad, but limited awareness of the huge value and opportunity that undergraduate programmes offer.”

“While funding is certainly a barrier to entry, many strong candidates are overwhelmed by the complexity and unfamiliarity of the application process before they even get to applying for financial aid,” said Parsons.

Since 2015, Crimson students around the world have collectively received 102 offers to Ivy League schools and 37 to Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Parsons said he hopes to replicate these numbers in South Africa by starting to work with students from grades nine and 10 to build comprehensive and competitive applications to some of the top 50 universities in the world.


Read: These South African university courses are among the best in the world

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