Tags: Best Practices


When I was a high school student in India, studying abroad was an exciting dream, yet daunting prospect. With no relatives who had studied abroad or a dedicated college counselor in school, I ended up navigating the arduous process on my own.

Later on, I found myself constantly assisting my sister and her friends with the process that I had once found so confusing. Soon it dawned on me that my experience was far from rare; it was a global problem. I reached out to my co-founder Stanley, and after thorough market research the seeds of Cialfo were sown. In a few months, we launched our venture in Singapore with one goal: to help one million students conquer the college process and get into their dream universities by 2020.

What a ride it has been! Five office upgrades and over 1000 students later, we have helped each of our students apply to great schools, including 97% into top 50 US colleges and 91% into top 30 UK universities. We didn’t stop there. We went beyond college applications and strove to understand our students better than they understood themselves. We worked with them to articulate and appreciate their quirks, joys, fears, ambitions, and strengths, which often went unrecognized. Through the use of this knowledge, we helped develop their character and leadership in earnest, with tangible results. We built a mentorship program we were proud of and developed long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with our families and students. This experience allowed us to grow and better understand the potential that existed within the industry - an opportunity bigger than just us, which could push our mission further - and it involves you!

You see, the Cialfo story probably sounds a lot like yours. Most college counselors and independent consultants are people who have gone through the gauntlet and started advising students for the same reasons we did. Like us, you know the pains of managing difficult students (or parents), keeping tabs on changing requirements, and grasping for clarity when available information is limited or conflicting. Like us, you’ve been hungry for ways to grow as a college advisor - and like us, you have felt the  frustration when necessary resources you find fall short, seem overpriced, or only exist halfway around the globe.

In other words, unless you are a big conglomerate or elite high school, chances are that our problems are yours, and what helps our mentors would help you too. Recognizing that, we made a conscious choice in 2016 to start doing what empowers not just our team, but all counsellors. The logic is simple: when we focus on improving the ecosystem as a whole- making hard-won lessons publicly available, connecting the insights of counselors and consultants, and harnessing data and technology for everyone’s use - we can impact exponentially more students. So that’s what we’re starting to do.

Our team is comprised of extremely passionate individuals who want to transform lives. As we share our tools and knowledge through webinars, blogs, events and more, we invite you - like-minded members of the community - to join us in empowering the ecosystem to change the world! Share your expertise so our collective wisdom can make higher education work better for everyone. Let's do this for the students. Let's do this for the world!

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