What is The Red Pen?

We are an independent education consulting company that helps applicants plan their journey at the school, college or postgraduate level. At the heart of The Red Pen is our commitment to finding the ‘best-fit’ institution for every applicant. We are committed to helping our applicants and their families by first understanding their cultural backgrounds, financial plans, long term goals, interests, academic performance and professional expertise.

What makes The Red Pen different from other advisory services?

Highly qualified, diverse team: We have an international team of highly educated consultants with over 70 years of consolidated experience from different professional backgrounds. Our knowledge and skills result in rich, holistic perspectives and a deep understanding of the admissions process.

Customised counsel: We recognise that every applicant is different and we are committed to helping each one express his or her unique narrative throughout the application process.

Personalised service: Each applicant is assigned a senior consultant and a senior essay expert who work with less than ten clients to ensure quality servicing.

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.

Up-to-date knowledge of the ever-changing educational landscape: As members of professional organisations like Int’ ACAC, IECA, AIGAC, we stay up to date with new higher education opportunities.

Extensive knowledge of scholarships: Every year our applicants are awarded substantial scholarships. Last year, we had more than $8 million awarded.

Ethical standards: We maintain the highest ethical standards and work closely with applicants to bring out their unique voice.

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 US. In India, we have worked with clients across 22+ cities including Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, Kolkata, Kota, Bangalore, Kanpur, Ahmedabad and more

How will The Red Pen work with me?

We have a team-based approach when working with applicants. They are assigned a primary consultant, who is their single point of contact and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of the application process. Our wider team of experts weighs in on specific components which include:

Essay Expert: Edits and polishes your essays

Country Specialist: In-depth knowledge of admission processes and leading programmes

Leadership Support: An in-depth review of your application from the most experienced team member

Individual Specialists: Specialised counsellors for specific application components such as resumes, interviews and letters of recommendation

For early advising, boarding school and undergraduate studies, we welcome parental involvement, but the student should ultimately drive the application process. For MBA and postgraduate applicants, we work with applicants directly.

The Red Pen specialises in providing advice on programme strategy and the application components; we do not provide test preparation services such as SAT/GMAT/TOEFL. We refer applicants to professionals who provide these services.

When should I contact The Red Pen?

Timelines and deadlines vary according to the applicant’s age, education needs and goals. We help parents whose children are in kindergarten understand school board options and curricula. We work with parents of children who are in junior school (grades 3-4) to explore boarding school options and requirements. For undergraduate studies, we advise parents and students as early as grade 8 on pre-application strategy and profile development. We consult with college students and recent graduates and strategise postgraduate options.

For current year applicants, we recommend:

  • Undergraduate applicants in class 11 to contact us at least six months prior to the 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) to contact us by April 1 of the year they plan to apply
What school/university ranking tables does The Red Pen recommend?

Rankings are a great starting point to help you compare institutions on a variety of criteria that matter to you–faculty, research, facilities, campus life, student satisfaction, employment/recruitment stats, etc. However, as there are no official university rankings, The Red Pen focuses on a ‘best-fit model and recommends universities based on the college’s ethos, its USPs and see how its courses and offerings fit into your future goals.

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

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

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

The Red Pen specialises in advising on programme 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 or recommendation letters?

The Red Pen does not write essays or recommendation letters.

Essays: We support applicants when they are brainstorming essay topics, review drafts, provide feedback and help applicants fine-tune their essays so that their messages can be communicated in the most impactful way.

Recommendation letters: As part of our service, The Red Pen can offer themes and general suggestions for your recommenders. We discourage applicants from writing their letters. Recommendations can be as important as essays–the recommenders’ voice and perspective need to come through.

How can The Red Pen help me with scholarships & financial aid or visas?

Scholarships & Financial aid: This varies for international students based on country, institution, level of study and programme. The Red Pen can help identify colleges where you have the greatest chances of being offered need-based financial aid and scholarships and review your application form(s).

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

Why should I use an education consultant?

The college application process is complicated and many students require assistance. However, not all schools have the resources to provide individual attention to each student, which is why going to an education consultant might help. Your consultant would ideally work alongside your school counsellor or faculty collaboratively to help bridge the gap. Also, many education consultants have built relationships with admissions officers and may have up-to-date information.

How does The Red Pen assist with the boarding school application process?

The Red Pen provides an end-to-end service for the boarding school application process. Our team will have an initial conversation with the student to better understand their goals and explain the application process to Indian and global boarding schools. Following this initial conversation, we will work on creating a list of boarding schools and walk students through the application process. The application processes include timely registration, filling out an application form that often requires a personal statement and other essays, testing, interview preparation and organising visits to the boarding schools.

Does The Red Pen help shortlist schools that fit my learning style as a student?

Matching students to schools that provide a strong support network is imperative. Our team members have visited 100+ boarding schools across the UK, US, India, Switzerland and Canada and have athorough understanding of the unique aspects of each school. Using this knowledge, we suggest the best-fit schools for the students with whom we work.

Does The Red Pen facilitate placement exams and tests for the application process?

Each boarding school has their own set of policies regarding testing. Some schools will allow for the testing to take place at our office under strict testing conditions while others will insist on students either give the test on campus or at a recognised testing centre in Mumbai.

Would The Red Pen help with preparing me for an interview that might be part of the application process?

The Red Pen team assists with interview preparation. Several of our consultants have interviewed students for admissions interviews in the past and have a strong understanding of the type of questions that are typically asked. Whether you are invited for a group interview or an individual interview, The Red Pen team will ensure that you are prepared and confident. Once the mock interview is conducted, our team will sit with the student and discuss the strengths and areas of improvement.

Would The Red Pen help me brainstorm ideas for a personal statement or essay that schools require?

Several boarding schools will ask the student to submit a personal statement that outlines their experiences and reasons for applying. Our team helps students brainstorm ideas and suggests unique ways to present their statement. We provide an external perspective and provide constructive feedback.

Does The Red Pen assist with interview preparation?

Yes, if you have been invited to interview with a university or if you are visiting a university campus and are scheduling an interview, we can help you prepare by conducting mock interviews and providing guidelines, tips and feedback to ensure a confident and successful experience.

Do you have partnerships with certain universities or do you guarantee admissions at certain colleges?

No. As members of IECA, we do not sign partnership agreements with any universities or colleges. We believe in a ‘best-fit’ model for all of our students and work with them individually to identify colleges that suit their needs and requirements.

For which countries does The Red Pen assist with applications?

We assist with a majority of English speaking programmes around the world in over 8 countries, including, but not limited to the UK, US, Singapore, Canada, Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia and India.

Will you help me decide between an MBA and a postgraduate degree?

Yes, our team will understand your goals, your profile and will help decide whether to apply for an MBA or a master’s degree.

What does The Red Pen’s postgraduate package include?

The Red Pen’s end-to-end postgraduate programme covers a range of services including profile development, resume building, roadmap counselling, university research, college shortlisting, support with recommendation letters and form review.

Will you help me choose a stream or career?

At The Red Pen, we will work with you to understand your goals, interests and strengths. We will brainstorm options based on these and help you identify an educational degree that fits with your aspirations. The Profile Development session will be the first step in analysing and building a roadmap towards finding your best-fit institution.

If I decide to defer my application, will you also offer me a deferment for your services?

We do not typically encourage students to defer their application. In extenuating circumstances, we will allow this. Deferment is determined on a case to case basis.

Can I apply for a master’s degree without work experience?

Most master’s degrees around the globe do not expect students to have prior work experience. Over the years, some programmes have become more selective and therefore one-three years of work experience can make a candidate more competitive.

How does The Red Pen assign a lead consultant?

Assignment of a lead consultant is done based on if the consultant has:

  1. Previously worked with a similar profile, which could mean similar company and/or similar industry
  2. Graduated from a business school to which the applicant is interested in applying
  3. Sent previous applicants to the business school to which the applicant is interested in applying
  4. Capacity at the time of signing on
How many applicants are assigned to a lead consultant?

On average, each lead consultant works with an average of five applicants per application round within a given application cycle. The Red Pen believes in a personalised approach and allocates time to each applicant accordingly. We believe in quality over quantity, so that lead consultants are able to give sufficient time to each applicant. We ensure our lead consultants are comfortable with the workload assigned to them.

I am considering an MBA in the next few years. Can The Red Pen help me at this stage?

Of course! It is great that you are planning ahead. We offer a service called the Application Roadmap Meeting, where our team meets with you and evaluates your profile in terms of your academic strength, work experience, post-MBA goals, leadership potential and extracurricular activities. We will also suggest the steps you can take to improve your profile leading up to the time when you will submit your application.

Will you help me decide between an MBA and a postgraduate degree?

Yes, our team will understand your goals, your profile and will help guide your decision.

I have two years of work experience. Should I apply for my MBA now?

Depends! Two years is the bare minimum for many business schools. Although, given the right profile and work experience, this could be taken into consideration. We recommend aspiring applicants come in for the Application Roadmap Meeting with one of our consultants. This allows us to understand your profile, gauge your aspirations and will eventually enable us to provide a customised recommendation.

Will The Red Pen help me select (between) business schools?

Yes. The lead consultant assigned to the applicant will review their academic strength (GMAT and undergraduate performance), work experience, post-MBA goals and leadership potential to suggest best-fit programmes. With a global team across three continents that have graduated from top business schools across the world and have helped applicants to secure admits to the top 25 MBA programmes globally, their experience and advice play a vital role in this process.

Does The Red Pen help reapplicants?

We certainly do! We, in fact, believe that reapplicants have a certain competitive advantage. More often than not, it is a matter of identifying the right-fit programmes, realigning the direction of their story to get them that coveted interview. That is why, we begin the reapplication process with a Ding Analysis, which is an analysis of their previously rejected applications to understand what worked and what needs to be improved before starting the application process again.

How long does the application work with The Red Pen take?

While the time varies with each applicant, we have seen that a typical application takes around four weeks. This time is required as each application involves goal setting, compiling a strong story and finally essay writing and editing. The time per application decreases with subsequent schools to two weeks per business school as stories, resume and letters of recommendation are already in place.




+91 98204 91179


Prasad Chambers #411, Tata Road, No-2, Opera House, Mumbai – 400004.