The Red Pen : Providing Holistic Guidance and Empowering Applicants to Make Informed Choices about Studying Abroad

The Red Pen

Education consultants play an important role in contextualizing and helping bridge cultural gaps in both directions between applicants and international institutions. There will be a greater emphasis on helping high schools develop their university counselling infrastructure and training school staff. As online education gains in popularity, education consultants will help applicants in reviewing and assessing best-fit courses and programs. In this sphere, technology will play a critical role as cloud-based, Internet-based, artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies will augment or change the way services are delivered.
In an interview with Insights Success, Kavita Mehta, Founder of The Red Pen gave some insightful answers highlighting the influences made by his company to take education consulting to a new level.
Kindly tell us about The Red Pen.

The Red Pen is an independent education consulting company. We advise applicants who seek to better understand their best-fit education options at the school, university or postgraduate level. Additionally, we assist high schools in developing student-focused, scalable university counselling infrastructure that addresses the academic needs of varied communities.

Kimberly Wright Dixit and I co-founded the company in 2011. Namita Mehta joined the firm as a partner in 2015 and the three of us today lead a 70+ member global team. Consultants, who possess a wealth of education, experience and knowledge of life in India and abroad, assist applicants in developing admissions strategy, preparation of application components and navigating the complex admissions process to institutions worldwide.

  1. Briefly, tell us about the CEO/Founder of The Red Pen

Kavita Mehta brings her cross-cultural experiences and business acumen from the US, UK and Singapore to her role as CEO and Co-Founder of The Red Pen. As an enthusiastic mentor, Kavita has advised parents and students on undergraduate admissions as well as applicants to MBA programs for over a decade. Prior to founding The Red Pen, Kavita earned a bachelor’s degree in business from Wake Forest University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, both in the United States. She completed the Leadership Development Program at GE Capital and worked as an investment banker for PaineWebber on Wall Street. She held various leadership roles at Yahoo! in Silicon Valley and GroupM (a division of WPP) in Singapore.

  1. What kind of educational consulting services and solutions does your company provide that makes you stand out from the competitors?

We provide a range of end-to-end and standalone services for families, students, college graduates and young professionals. We leverage technology to support applicants based in India and remotely, streamline and automate processes and develop offerings that can help them optimise their choices and application package.
Our early advising service is ideal for families with young children who want to better understand education systems and have questions on how to select schools, which board is better, enrichment programs, the value of studying in international education institutions, what is a good time to start planning and the costs associated with higher education in different destinations. Our profile development services are ideal for students in grades 8-10 who want to start exploring higher education destinations and programs, and require assistance with strategy and groundwork for university applications in the future.

The Red Pen helps students in grades 11 and 12 develop an undergraduate admissions strategy, select destination(s) and programs, understand institutional requirements, costs, financial aid and conditions of offer and then assist them with the preparation of application components and interviews.
We help applicants who want to pursue a master’s degree with strategizing programs that align with their career objectives, develop their statement of purpose and prepare and submit application components.

  1. Kindly brief us about the unique strategies that you use in The Red Pen.

There are 5 strategies that distinguish The Red Pen
Knowledge of process and continuous learning
Our educational backgrounds, industry and life experiences and professional affiliations help us develop a deep understanding of international admissions processes, gather school specific insights as well as broader education developments.
International, diverse team
We recruit employees who represent diversity across many facets – faith, gender, citizenship, cultural identity, geographic origin, educational background, age, industry background and more.
Customised counsel
We recognize that every applicant is different and work hard to understand each person’s unique profile, goals and strengths. We help applicants identify options, discover their potential and express their individuality with confidence.
Team based approach
Our clients work with a dedicated consultant, but they have the support of a larger team that might include specialists.
Embrace technology
We use technology to gather data, derive insights and help clients make more informed decisions. Technology helps us streamline processes and work seamlessly with applicants, no matter where they are located.

  1. Kindly brief us about the most satisfactory experience with a client. What kind of game-changing services have you provided them?

Every client is different, so each engagement is also different. Here are a couple of examples that illustrate the nature of our customized approach and in-depth relationship that we build over time.

  1. How do you work on your long-term relationship with your clients?

Every client is important to The Red Pen. With some, our engagement is brief while with others our engagement could be over a period of 1-2 years, based on when they consult with us and what their goals are. During this time we get to understand their personality, interests, family background and academic accomplishments.
While we help our clients in navigating complex admissions processes, we add to our knowledge from them – once they are admitted they provide us with their unique perspectives on programs, faculty, campus life and career placements.
Clients who have worked with us on undergraduate admissions seek our help when they are ready to pursue graduate studies. One such applicant is Akshay – we helped him several years ago and he enrolled at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Then, when he wanted to apply to a masters program, he enlisted our help and will now be attending graduate school in London.

  1. What are the values and factors that you attribute your success to? Also, suggest the one quote which adorns The Red Pen very well.

Our commitment to helping each applicant find their best fit is at the heart of The Red Pen. We believe that education is a source of empowerment and that going to the best school, college or professional program means going to the one that is best for you.
We believe that recruiting and training diverse talent, building an international team of highly qualified consultants and creating an environment where they are empowered to take initiative, results in greater professional and client satisfaction.

  1. Kindly brief us about the educational consulting trends?

Over the last 5-10 years access to enrichment activities and education opportunities (in India and abroad) across all levels of education has exploded and will continue to grow and evolve to help people build the technical know-how and skills required by careers of the future. The value of learning beyond academics (art, drama, music, sports debate, dance) is being recognized in schools across India. Moreover, many schools are offering international curricula, which have projects related to non-academic learning embedded in their curriculum. Education consultants play a pivotal role in helping parents make sense of these changes and students explore and develop their interests in a meaningful way.
Because their frame of reference is so different, an applicant’s interaction with the international admissions process often results in anxiety and mistakes whether in the interpretation of academic environment, timing of tests, transcripts, subject and school selection or visas.

  1. What are the future advancements of The Red Pen and how well-equipped are you?

The organization has helped applicants secure over more than 40 crores in scholarships and financial aid in the last application cycle alone. Assisted students gain valuable leadership and technical experiences through our affiliations with enrichment providers.
Our track record speaks of our successful approach.
Helped more than 2400 applicants secure admissions to programs across disciplines such as STEM, business, humanities, social sciences, film and medicine at a wide range of “best fit” global institutions.

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