If you are contemplating the prospect of enrolling your children in renowned educational institutions in the U.S. and U.K., or if you are a student with ambitions of gaining admission to your dream school but lack a clear plan, look no further, InGenius Prep is dedicated to supporting you in reaching your educational aspirations.
InGenius Prep is an educational consulting company that originated at Yale University and now operates globally. Their primary objective is to empower students in grades 8 to 12 by offering them a unique opportunity to collaborate with Former College Admissions Officers, Graduate Students, and Research Professors from prestigious American institutions like Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, among others. They are dedicated to helping students navigate the increasingly competitive landscape of college admissions and securing acceptance into their dream schools.
Joel Butterly and Yosepha Greenfield, both Yale University graduates, are the visionary Founders behind InGenius Prep. The foundation of InGenius Prep is based on one simple observation: the most direct source of admissions knowledge comes from people who worked in the admissions office and that is Former Admissions Officers. Presently, InGenius boasts a robust team comprising over 150 Former Admissions Officers, who have successfully guided numerous students in realising their true potential and securing admissions into their desired educational institutions.
We speak to Joel Butterly and Yosepha Greenfield to gain further insight into InGenius Prep. They provided us with valuable information regarding common mistakes students make in their college application, the significance of college admissions counseling, offered advice to students aspiring to study abroad and why InGenius Prep is the choice company for college admissions counseling. Keep reading to discover the wealth of knowledge they shared with us.
Interview with Joel Butterly and Yosepha Greenfield, Founders of InGenius Prep
1) Can you share with us what inspired you to start a business in College Admissions Counselling, your experiences in this area and how long InGenius Prep has been operational?
Joel: I come from a fairly traditional American-Jewish household, where education is considered the most important goal. Growing up, the youngest of three children, I got to see my siblings (and myself) go through the incredibly complex and opaque admissions process, hoping we had done the right things, or said the right things. Fortunately, we all ended up in great programs, but the uncertainty of the process stayed with me.
While in Yale Law School, I learned about the admissions counseling industry, and did some research. What I found was that this was a highly fragmented and un-professionalized industry, where families were receiving very inconsistent and low-quality services.
I believed that through rigorous curriculum development, superior hiring, and the development of invaluable after-school resources, that we would be able to provide a much higher quality, and much more consistent service.
Thus, InGenius Prep was born, and in its ten years we have gone from two co-founders in an apartment to nearly two hundred employees worldwide.
2) In your opinion, what are the reasons why securing admission to Ivy League and other prestigious universities in the United States or the United Kingdom holds considerable importance for students in terms of their future career paths?
The significance of attending top universities, relative to your career, can be broken down into two major points:
First, employers care a great deal about name brand. For employers, it is often easier to look at the school you graduated from and take that as a proxy for your abilities. The assumption is that if you went to a great school, you are likely “good enough” for the role. Furthermore, the clients who employers serve care about your credentials. If I hire an elite law firm to assist me on a bet-the-firm case, I want associates and partners who have elite credentials. Thus, law firms will tend to hire associates and partners with excellent credentials.
Your university name will be on your resume for the rest of your life. If you attend a prestigious university, doors will open more easily. Whether it’s sending emails to raise money from your alumni email address or trying to get that first job interview, you will have automatically have a leg up.
Second, these schools provide some of the most valuable professional networks on earth. The graduates of these schools tend to be disproportionately successful, and being able to network with them, ask them for assistance, and get preferential treatment by them is an enormous boon to any career.
3) How do you connect with Singaporean students, and in your perspective, what are the primary areas of College Admissions Counselling that you believe are of utmost importance to Singaporean students?
Singapore has some of the world’s strongest students. Generally speaking, the common area of weakness has to do with their extracurricular engagement, and leadership experience. This is something we emphasize with our students from an early age. In general, being able to figure out what you’re passionate about early in high school, and then develop that passion into a true expertise, is the key to unlocking admission to the top schools.
4) What advice would you give to Singaporean students who aspire to pursue their studies in colleges in the United States?
Coming to the US to study is going to be a life-changing journey, one that opens up a new world for you. To get to the top schools, you need to make sure that you are 1) academically qualified for the schools you’re applying to, and 2) have identified a passion/interest early on in high school and developed it as much as possible to become a true expert. It’s not going to be an easy journey, but it will be worth it – not only for college admissions success, but for personal and intellectual development.
5) At what stage do you recommend parents to begin their engagement with InGenius Prep? Is it preferable to initiate the process after their child has received their GCE “A” Level/IB results, or is it advisable to start much earlier?
Generally speaking, earlier is better. Our advice and resources are more valuable the longer they are able to be invested. If possible, the best time to start is at the beginning of high school. The programs are extremely valuable no matter the start time, but for the best results, earlier is better.
6) How would you assess the admission success of top students from Singapore to elite universities in comparison to their counterparts from other countries?
Every year, Singapore produced about 18,000 students graduate from A Level and IB from local Junior College as well as International Schools. There are about 30-40% of the cohort pursue their post-secondary education overseas like in the U.S, U.K, Australia and other countries. Many of the top students go on scholarships offered by Singapore government agencies and companies. Singapore is also home to over 1,500 Oxford alumni, around 1,500 Harvard graduates and over 400 Stanford Graduate School Alumni. As shown statistically, top students from Singapore do stand high admissions rate into elite universities in the world.
7) How challenging is the admission process for Ivy League and other top schools in the United States?
In short, the admissions process is extremely selective. These schools are looking for students in the top 5% of their graduating class, with top scores/grades, and who have established themselves as a significant leader in a particular area of focus. There aren’t many students who have taken the right steps to satisfy these requirements.
Every year, we are seeing acceptance rates drop. With more applicants and static class sizes, more students are competing for the same number of spots. To get into these top schools, students be at the top of the game in terms of academic excellence (GPA, course rigor, SAT/ACT, mastery of a particular subject, etc), extracurricular performance (national level), leadership (tangible, large scale impact), and personal context (compelling backgrounds and personality traits). You need to excel in all four areas to succeed.
8) What are the common mistakes made by students and parents during the college application process?
From what I’ve seen, the most common mistake students and parents make is trying to be great at everything. They look at what other students (who have gotten into great schools) have done, and they try to do all of it. The reality is that getting into competitive schools is about choosing 1-2 things and being the best at that/those.
For international students who grow up in countries with different college admissions processes, this most often results in an intense focus on academics — GPA and test scores, in particular. For US colleges, your numbers will get your foot in the door, but it is everything else — being an expert in a unique field or interest — that will actually get you accepted.
InGenius Prep – Leadership Team
9) Given the acknowledged difficulties in gaining admission to Ivy League and other renowned universities in the United States and the United Kingdom, how does InGenius Prep contribute to improving students’ admission chances, even when they possess outstanding academic records?
On the academic side, we have a host of invaluable soft skill classes such as our writing program or academic skills program, which helps students maintain extremely high academic standards in their classes. For students who are struggling with a particular class, we also offer subject tutoring on-demand, as well as online high school courses through one of our partners.
On the extra-curricular side, we help students identify their passions/interest through a rigorous interest exploration process. Afterwards, we have access to thousands of programs where a student can dive more deeply into their interests. We also have unique capstone experiences where students can solidify their expertise: an academic research program with over 200 professors, an internship program with over 100 companies and non-profits, and a startup incubator where students can launch and build their own organizations.
When it comes time to work on applications, our application counseling program helps students craft unique narratives and essays through rigorous and strategic brainstorming and editing.
10) What are the five most sought-after courses among elite Singaporean students at top universities today?
One of the strengths of US colleges is the range of courses, especially the options for double majors and major/minor, so it’s hard to narrow it down to five specific courses. That said, there are some clear trends for popular subject areas. Economics is certainly a favourite, a number of our recent Singapore alumni going on to UChicago to study Economics. However, it’s a broad subject and some students choose to combine it with public policy whereas others take a business and finance perspective. Engineering is also very popular, with recent students interested in robotics and computer science progressing to colleges such as Cornell, CMU and Imperial College London. The final popular area is Biomedical Sciences, in particular aspects related to neuroscience, from which students can progress to clinical, research, policy or business careers. In this area, UCLA has proven popular with our Singaporean students, while others have also progressed to Johns Hopkins, Rice, Cambridge, UCL and UChicago.
Looking to graduate school applications, Law remains a firm favourite, especially the most competitive law schools such as Stanford, Harvard and Columbia. Business courses also remain popular – not just MBA, but increasingly specialised Masters courses that do not require extensive work experience, such as Finance and Business Analytics.
11) What recommendations or guidance would you offer parents of secondary school students who are considering preparing their children for overseas education at Ivy League and other top schools in the United States and the United Kingdom?
The most important pieces of advice I can give you is firstly, help your students explore their interests early on – the earlier the better. Before high school if possible. Second, help them develop that interest further, whether through extracurricular activities or online classes. Finally, help them focus on being an expert at 1-2 things, and avoid forcing them into a handful of disparate extracurricular programs that will dilute their time and render them a “master of none.”
When thinking about what to focus on, here is a helpful tip: if students are working towards being an expert in an academic field, you can think about taking an interdisciplinary or a hyper-focused approach. Let’s say a student is interested in business. With the interdisciplinary approach, we want that student to develop a secondary interest – like computer. Rather than just pursuing business at a high level, the student can explore the intersection of these two interests to develop a more unique background in business and tech. With the hyper-focused approach, rather than just studying business generally, we want the student to zoom in on a more specific area of business, like social entrepreneurship or real estate, for examples. There are many ways for students to truly stand out and develop an edge, of course, but hopefully this gets you thinking!
12) Can you provide an overview of the strategies and initiatives undertaken by InGenius Prep to assist students in securing admission to Ivy League and Top Schools?
We apply the philosophy outlined above through a combination of long-term one-on-one mentoring by our Former Admissions Officers and targeted intensive modules for building key skills and experiences. The planning by our Former Admission Officers is vital to ensuring students use their time in an efficient and coherent way – exploring and developing their academic interests, engaging in unique and meaningful extracurricular activities and strengthening their personal qualities and leadership skills. This is pair with modules such as our Academic Mentorship, which sees students paired with US university scholars to undertake original research, and our Leadership and Innovation Lab, which guides students through establishing their own entrepreneurial platforms or organisations for impactful leadership experience. Supplementing these are modules teaching core skills such as reflective and academic writing, debating and time management. The ultimate aim is not only to help students develop the credentials and materials for a strong application, but to ensure they can succeed as an undergraduate student at a top university.
InGenius Prep Statistics
13) Lastly, if parents and students are considering engaging a consultant or a similar college admission counselling company, what sets InGenius Prep apart from other options and makes it the preferred choice?
In terms of numbers, InGenius is in a category of its own. We have hundreds of ivy league and Oxbridge admits per year. But more than that, students who work in our program are more than 7x as likely to be admitted to a top-30 university, and over 5x as likely to be admitted to an ivy league university. So, our outcomes are one-of-a-kind.
How we achieve these outcomes is also unique. First, we have the world’s largest team of former admissions officers – more than 150 total – allowing us to provide every student with direct advice from someone who themselves sat in the admissions office making decisions.
Second, we have a one-of-a-kind curriculum that numbers tens of thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of recorded video. The curriculum includes insights from our entire team of former admissions officers and is used by our students and counselors to ensure every student has an incredible experience.
Third, our resources allow us to help students delve into their interests more deeply than ever before. Our Academic Research Program with 200+ Professors allows students to conduct original academic research, produce a paper, publish in peer-reviewed journals, and even get letters of recommendation from professors (if they are earned). Our internship program allows students to join companies and non-profits and work directly with the senior leadership. Finally, our Leadership and Innovation Lab allows our students to come up with original ideas for a company or non-profit organization, and actually launch that company through mentorship with our entrepreneur-in-residence.
If you are a student with aspirations of gaining admission to your dream school or a parent seeking support in navigating the competitive landscape of college admissions, check out InGenius Prep. With their team of Former Admissions Officers, Graduate Students, and Research Professors from prestigious education institutions, InGenius Prep offers a unique opportunity to collaborate with experts who possess firsthand knowledge and insights into the admissions process. Their dedication to empowering students, comprehensive approach to counseling, and track record of success make them the ideal choice for college admissions guidance. By signing up for InGenius Prep, you gain access to invaluable expertise, personalised guidance, and a clear plan to maximise your chances of acceptance.
Don’t miss the chance to unlock your potential and secure admission to your desired educational institution with the help of InGenius Prep.
Find out more and contact InGenius Prep as follows:
Email: [email protected]
SG: +65 80585592