Potential CGA students taking an evaluation test at the CGA Open Day

Cracking the Code to Top Universities in the U.S. and U.K.

Getting accepted to top universities – the game is getting harder

Demands from local and ex-pat students based in Vietnam to go to U.S. and U.K. colleges are higher than ever. For this reason, the need to prepare an outstanding application is a “hot” topic among high school families now. Universities in the U.S. and the U.K. have distinct approaches to evaluating prospective students. U.S. universities often prioritize “well-rounded” students, while U.K. universities seek applicants with a strong academic profile. Regardless of the difference, both institutions require students to effectively demonstrate their passion and personal drive. Therefore, the question is, how can a Vietnam-based student thrive in such a competitive game?

How can your child stand out?

Across all institutions, academic qualifications are of paramount importance if you’re hoping to catch an admissions officer’s attention. Notably, academics contribute to 40% of the evaluation criteria in U.S. applications, while the weightage escalates significantly to 75% in U.K. applications.

“Admissions officers only have five to seven minutes to scan through a student’s application profile,” shared a former Harvard and Stanford Admissions Officer in a recent Crimson Seminar in Ho Chi Minh City.

So how does one strive beyond academic success and become an outstanding applicant in the eyes of admissions officers?

Top global universities look beyond your perfect grades

Elite universities are renowned for their holistic admissions process, which focuses on a comprehensive evaluation of an applicant’s academic and extracurricular achievements alongside their personal essay. Academically, having a high-Grade Point Average (GPA) is a strong winning factor. Alternatively, students can pick a curriculum of choice that is internationally recognized, namely IB, A-Levels, or AP, to give their profile a boost.

Academics aside, extracurricular activities and personal experiences are what set an application apart from thousands of others. Well-rounded students showcase a mix of intellect and self-discipline through their unique choice of extracurricular activities. A strong applicant has two to three main activities that show a cohesive theme in relation to what the student is passionate about. Above all, evidence of leadership characteristics is always a huge appeal for admissions officers.

U.K. universities prioritize academic achievement and intellectual potential as key indicators of a student’s suitability for their programs. For this reason, leading universities like Oxford or Cambridge put emphasis on academic excellence with “super-curricular” activities – things the students do to show that they’ve gone out of their way to explore subjects and develop their academic skills beyond their school studies – can be highly beneficial to one’s application. The activities can range from taking additional online courses, doing additional research, working on projects, and other additional activities revolving around your academic interests.

How CGA’s students performed through this process

At Crimson Global Academy (CGA) – a rising online high school with 1000+ students around the world, students have the flexibility to choose their preferred curriculum out of 50 different subjects. With eight to ten students per class, CGA’s students receive undivided attention from their teachers. Hence, their results are a direct reflection of the school’s student-first approach: 44% of CGA students achieved the maximum score of 5 in AP exams (in 2021) compared to the global average of 12%.

Additionally, CGA teachers with more than 20 years of experience always guide our students to continue their research beyond the classroom borders. CGA graduates have been admitted to top U.K. universities, namely Oxford, Cambridge and King’s College London.

Summer Camp 2022

A Word of Advice from CGA: Start Early, Choose Wisely.

All in all, top institutions look for students who are passionate and driven in their academic pursuits. This is why the leading education consultancy Crimson Education and online school CGA always advise parents to start thinking ahead and to choose a suitable learning environment that allows their kids to tap into their full potential.

With international curriculums accredited by Pearson, Cambridge and College Board, CGA is one of the ONLY online schools in Vietnam that offers both IGCSE/A-Levels and APs/ US Diploma pathway. The school’s alumni were accepted to elite colleges such as: Oxford, Cambridge, Stanford, NYU, Columbia, and more – a strong evidence of our education quality!

This strong track record comes from the expertise of the school’s founding company – Crimson Education. Crimson has been advising students for ten years, resulting in leading results every year, with 709 offers to Ivy Leagues, 233 to Oxford and Cambridge, and 4,500 to other top 50 universities in the US. This year, Vietnam-based students who attended Crimson and CGA have gotten into well-known universities like: Yale, Stanford, NYU, UCLA, Oxford, Cambridge, LSE, UCL, and more. [C]

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Tim Burrill
Membership Manager & Executive Assistant
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