These days, a college degree is a prerequisite for students who are looking to enter the workforce and launch their careers. Yet, not all of us know how to find the best-fit college. When the stakes are so high, setting the right direction and knowing what to do is key for a student’s future. With the average high-school student receiving just 38 minutes of pre-college advising, how does one find the guidance necessary to navigate the complex admissions process?
Veronica Ng is the founder and CEO of Path Beacon, a New York-based education technology startup which helps its students with applying to US and UK universities with a web platform that connects them with academic consultants. Having graduated from Columbia University with her bachelor’s degree and Harvard Business School with her MBA, Ng had successfully navigated the competitive admissions process herself. Now, she’s on a mission to shake up the college admissions counseling and private education industry.
Path Beacon helps students navigate the winding paths of searching for their best-fit colleges, crafting college application essays, improving standardized test scores for SAT and ACT, and more. Ng’s company runs workshops to help people prepare for their college applications and then succeed once they reach the school of their dreams. The application process for top schools can be very complicated and time consuming, and devising a strong strategy is the key to handling multiple processes at once. The tutoring and application consulting company targets top 200 universities in the US and UK.
Veronica, can you tell me about how your company Path Beacon came about?
I’ve always been passionate about identifying new growth opportunities where unmet user needs, strategic opportunities, and technological capabilities intersect. The inspiration for Path Beacon came after I met a parent at a dinner event, and her eldest son was a high school senior in the process of applying to U.S. colleges. Even though she studied and graduated from a top U.S. college herself, I noticed that when it came time to helping her own son through the process it was completely frustrating, given the changes in the application process and the increased competitiveness. That’s when I noticed there’s a real opportunity in private education.
What makes Path Beacon a pioneer in the education consulting and academic tutoring industry?
Path Beacon was founded with one core mission in mind – to help students achieve their potential. With competition for university admissions getting fiercer with each passing year, the one-size-fits-all approach is no longer viable; rather, students need personalized roadmaps to success.
First, we take a holistic approach towards education consulting because we offer everything a parent and student needs to make informed decisions about higher education. And we continue to ensure that each of our divisions, Academic Tutoring, Test Preparation, and Academic Consulting are leading innovators within their own fields.
Next, Path Beacon provides an on-demand web platform based service, after we match students with the right experienced college consultant. This allows us to provide the high quality of private consultants at affordable program pricing, while matching the schedule demands and needs of international students.
That’s very interesting- How does technology enhance Path Beacon’s academic tutoring and admissions consulting services?
We have a web platform that students log into online and receive access to sessions with their tutors and academic consultants. Typically, geography restricts the type of tutors and mentors a student can access, and that really impacts the quality of counseling that students can get. Path Beacon is removing that barrier and offering the best quality student resources at the time they need it. Our platform allows students to connect with the world’s finest minds without restriction.
Instead of working with your neighborhood’s best tutor, you work with the world’s best tutor with Path Beacon. So, I really see technology removing the obstacles that limit all Path Beacon students’ potential and helping to elevate their profiles to new levels.
What do you think the most common mistakes people make with their applications is?
Every year, we see students fail to achieve their academic ambition because of a lack of strategy. Discovering their interests, understanding the implications on the future career path, and matching that with the type of colleges and programs that are a best-fit require sufficient planning. An application strategy is essential to improving student chances of success.
So do you mostly work to get students admitted to top-tier schools?
We work with all different student profiles, and seek to provide the best academic counseling that meets their unique academic goals. To date, we’ve gotten great results with students receiving acceptances to universities with amazing academic programs such as New York University, Carnegie Mellon, University of Pennsylvania, and University of California Berkeley. Path Beacon’s specialty is in targeting the top 200 schools in the US and UK.
How is the college application process different for international students?
International students often underestimate the amount of time required to apply for admission to a college or university in the United States or United Kingdom. Especially for schools with competitive admissions, the application process requires a significant amount of time and effort. International students have to be reminded that they will need to write personal statements and request recommendations from teachers or others who know you well. Even if applying via the Common Application and UCAS, you will want to get started early. University websites can provide quick and convenient access to application requirements, but you still need time to research your options, contact teachers to provide recommendations, secure your transcripts, and sign up for required standardized entrance exams (such as SAT or ACT) in time to meet application deadlines.
Path Beacon’s academic consultants develop personalized roadmaps for each of our students, which keeps them one-step ahead of what they need to do and when. We approach these roadmaps as a means to maximize student strengths and build them the strongest profile possible. This allows students to reach for universities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.
What advice would you give to an overseas student who wants to study abroad?
Find out your why. At Path Beacon, we work with many overseas students including those from Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia. And it’s getting to be a lot more diverse. For an overseas student who wants to study abroad, it’s important to ask yourself why you want to study abroad and what do you want to accomplish at the end of studying. Determining your ultimate study abroad goals can not only help you decide if the experience will be right for you, but it can also help you to focus on what university best supports you in achieving your academic and personal goals.
Thank you Veronica for your time!
You can follow up with Veronica Ng at https://pathbeacon.com if you are interested in getting help with applications to top US or UK universities. Veronica helps high school students from all over the world to apply for the university of their dreams. Top universities often require lots of information and several rounds throughout applications, and you need to find a way to stand out from the crowd. Path Beacon can help you to navigate your way through the complex and sometimes confusing process as efficiently as possible to present yourself in the best way.