Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that might better help you understand and use our services.

What is The Red Pen?

The Red Pen provides independent education consulting services for applicants and their families. Our expertise is in assisting clients with their admissions strategy and application process for Boarding & Day Schools, and Undergraduate, MBA and Postgraduate educationWe also help schools with different aspects of the admissions process.

What makes The Red Pen different from other advisory services?

There are three important ways in which we distinguish ourselves –

Customised counsel: Our recommendations are customised for each client because we recognise that every applicant is different and we are committed to helping each one express his or her individuality throughout the process.

High qualified, diverse team: We have an international team of highly educated consultants from different professional backgrounds. Our knowledge and skills result in rich, holistic perspectives. Years of experience and our professional affiliations have helped us develop a deep understanding of the admissions process and gather school specific insights.

Data driven, virtual approach: We embrace technology in every aspect of our interactions to work seamlessly with applicants around the world and leverage data to derive insights and make recommendations.

Does The Red Pen work with clients from across India?

While we are based in Mumbai we work with clients from across the world. By leveraging technology and adopting a flexible work style, The Red Pen has helped clients across India, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, France, UAE the UK and the United States. In India, we have worked with clients across many cities including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kolkata, Kota, Bangalore, Kanpur and Ahmedabad.

How will The Red Pen work with me?

For boarding/day school and undergraduate studies we welcome parental involvement, but the applicant should ultimately be the driver of the application process. For MBA and postgraduate applicants we work with the applicants directly.

We take a holistic approach to working with applicants. Clients are assigned a single point of contact, who is responsible for overseeing all aspects of his or her applications. At the same time clients have the benefit of collaborative input from other team members. Our team-based approach is especially useful when it comes to selecting colleges, programs and essay topics.

When should I contact The Red Pen?

Timelines and deadlines vary according to the applicant’s age, higher education needs and goals.

Throughout the year, we help parents whose children are in pre-school and infant school understand school board options and curricula. We work with parents of children who are in junior school (class 3-4) to explore boarding/day school options and requirements. For undergraduate studies, we advise parents and students as early as class 8 on pre-application strategy and profile development. We consult with college students and recent graduates, and strategise business school options.

For current year applicants we recommend –

  • Undergraduate applicants in class 11 it is best to contact us at least six months prior to regular deadline – this means June 1; earlier if you are considering early action/early decision.
  • Business school applicants (with a minimum of 3 years of work experience), should contact us by April 1
What school/university rankings does The Red Pen recommend?

Rankings are a great starting point to help you compare institutions on variety of criteria that matter to you – faculty, research, facilities, campus life, student satisfaction, employment/recruitment stats, etc.

But, the reality is there are no official, universal rankings. There are many organisations and media sources that publish their own rankings based on a certain set of criteria. It’s really about tapping into your likes, dislikes and goals.

Will The Red Pen help me choose the country/destination I should study in?

Higher education institutions in popular destinations have their unique characteristics, strengths and requirements. We can help you brainstorm and strategise geography/location, taking into consideration factors such as your goals, family circumstances, finances, language and cultural issues, academic performance, interests.

Does The Red Pen help applicants prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT/GMAT/TOEFL?

The Red Pen specializes in providing advice on program strategy and the application components; we do not provide test preparation services. We are happy to refer clients to professionals who provide these services.

Does The Red Pen write essays?

The Red Pen does not write essays. We provide early guidance for journalling, help applicants brainstorm topics, review drafts, give feedback and help applicants fine tune their essays so that their messages can be communicated in the most impactful way.

Will The Red Pen help write my recommendation letters?

As part of our service, The Red Pen can review letters of recommendation, offer themes and general suggestions. We do not write recommendations letters and we discourage applicants from writing their own. Recommendation letters can be as important as essays – the voice and perspective of the recommender needs to come through.

Will The Red Pen assist me with scholarship and financial aid applications?

The Red Pen can help you identify colleges where you have the greatest chances of being offered merit scholarships and financial need-based awards, and review your application form(s).

Financial aid for international students varies markedly based on country, institution, level of study and program. The majority of awards are merit-based and students are automatically considered; some require a separate application.

Does The Red Pen help with the visa process?

While our consultants stay on top of immigration issues and requirements for applicants, we are not experts; nor do we provide visa services. We encourage you to contact university admissions staff early in the process to understand the nuances of specific visas. You can also visit country-specific government resources – websites and local offices – that provide up-to-date information on visa/travel matters.

Why use an education consultant?

Access to global education opportunities and destinations has expanded dramatically in recent years. At the same time, changing political and education landscapes can result in confusion and anxiety. We help applicants demystify international application processes.

The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?