Apply. Compete. Succeed.  Blog

Category: For Parents

Jason Lum interviewed on KSDK, St. Louis, Missouri

March 27, 2019

My thoughts on the ongoing debate about college admissions from Channel 5, KSDK, in St. Louis, Missouri. It's a great piece that gives an overview of the increasing complexity of college admissions. As always, contact me at 651-765-7485 if you'd like a free consultation about how I can help your family in this process. Link below:

KSDK St. Louis



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ScholarEdge Shares the Outrage over Bribery in College Admissions

March 23, 2019

With all the media attention (rightfully so) about alleged payoffs to coaches and alleged fraud in taking the SAT and ACT, I wanted to keep things in perspective. Keep in mind I have been a private college consultant for nearly 20 years, so I know what I am talking about here.

1. I have never heard of anything REMOTELY similar to this controversy. You can rest assured that based on my experience, this does NOT happen with any level of frequency in the college admissions process. Even some of the universities in question, like USC, were unaware that their coaches were allegedly being bribed!

2. ScholarEdge, to repeat, fully condemns these practices if true. We have never paid anyone at a college to help get our students admitted. Period. And that is not going to change. 

3. Our students do perfectly fine and our services, rates, and professionalism are among the best in private college consulting,

Call me directly at 651-765-7485 if you have any concerns whatsoever. Remember, as in any profession - law, medicine, accounting, etc. - a few so-called "bad apples" do not represent the overwhelming number of professionals who adhere to superior ethical principles.

All the best,


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ScholarEdge Endorses IECA Ethics News Release

March 12, 2019

IECA Stresses Ethics and Personal Fit to Guide Students in Choosing a College

The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) and its members are committed to helping families find the most appropriate college for their students, and assist families in navigating the application process. [NOTE: Jason Lum is an IECA Professional Member] Following a comprehensive code of ethics, IECA members are professionals who understand and adhere to high ethical standards in all their interactions with clients and institutions and are compensated by and work exclusively on behalf of their client families.

In response to the breaking news of an FBI probe and Justice Department charges for 50 people—college officials from elite institutions, wealthy parents, coaches, and others—in a long-running admissions bribery scheme, IECA CEO Mark Sklarow said, “The charges presented today exemplify the intense anxiety that even some wealthy parents feel about their children being admitted to their preferred colleges.”

Parents and students should keep the following advice in mind as they begin their college search.

The college search and application process should be a fun and exciting time for students and their families. If anyone in any setting is exerting pressure or causing undue anxiety and pressure, be cautious. If you are told someone has “inside” information, can pull strings, provide shortcuts to admission, or give you a special advantage (for a fee or otherwise), you are being misled.
There are many great postsecondary options for every student, and no student should be made to feel that they must become something they are not to get accepted. The “best” school is the school that fits a student academically, socially, and financially. Being and presenting one’s authentic self and demonstrating one’s own talents and abilities is a way of ensuring the right college fit. This is central to what an ethical independent educational consultant does.
The vast majority of admissions officers, school counselors, and IECs are ethical and compassionate professionals who dedicate their careers to advising students and families.

If you decide to seek help with the college search and application process outside of the school setting, ensure that you hire someone who is a member of a professional organization, such as IECA or NACAC, that requires them to abide by the highest ethical standards. A fully vetted independent educational consultant (IEC) will be solely concerned about an individual student’s well-being and helping to gain admission to a school where they will thrive and succeed on their own merits.

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ScholarEdge and Integrity

March 12, 2019

You may have read today about an elaborate "pay to play" college admissions scam, where - allegedly - some very high net worth celebrities and business people paid individuals to bribe coaches to increase their kids' chances of college admission. Even worse, there are allegations of cheating on the SAT and ACT promoted by individuals who allegedly used expert test-takers to pose as students.

Rest assured that ScholarEdge has never and will never pay anyone in the college admissions process to give one of our students an advantage. The simple truth is that we don't need to - our students do just fine in the college application process and thrive at the colleges or universities they attend.

Jason Lum is a professional member of IECA and a member of NACAC. Both organizations have firm rules of ethics that prohibit independent college advisors from engaging in this type of unethical and allegedly criminal behavior.

Just FYI, some useful links to give you peace of mind that when you work with ScholarEdge, you work with America's top college application professionals who adhere to the highest standards of ethics:

• Why Choose a Member of the IECA? 

• 10 Important Ways IECA Members Are Unlike Other IECs:

• Principles of Good Practice:

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College Summer Programs – Are They Worth It?

April 21, 2017

Summer College Programs - Are they worth itMany high school students wonder what college life will be like.  They wonder about the social aspects and the academic challenges that will await them.  Thanks to college summer programs that are offered by many top-ranking colleges and universities across the U.S., students no longer have to wonder what college life will be like; instead, they can experience it for themselves in the form of college summer programs.

Top colleges across the nation offer summer programs to high school students. Frequently known as college discovery or college enrichment programs, students can spend a few weeks to a few months participating in programs that focus on an array of subjects from mathematics to the arts.  Some schools even offer athletic programs for interested students.  

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Class Planning for Senior Year: What to Take and Why

February 20, 2017

Class Planning for Senior Year What to Take and WhyIt’s your senior year and you're probably feeling just as excited as you are exhausted. You don’t know what the future holds, but you’re hoping that college is your next big step.  After all, you’ve paid your dues: you’ve taken the standardized tests, made good grades, volunteered when needed, and also took on extracurricular activities from sports to band – all to impress a panel of strangers who hold the key to your future in their hands.

Clearly, the college admissions process can be an emotional rollercoaster.  And at this point in the process, most students will decide that they’ve done all that they can do to convince admissions to select them over another candidate.

Blaming senioritis, seniors everywhere will convince themselves that their last year of high school doesn’t really matter to colleges.  Many students will be tempted to slack off and will make the mistake of cruising through their senior year, hoping to avoid taking anything that could be considered academically rigorous.  

But before you write-off your senior year as nothing more than a waiting period until your “real” life starts, consider using your senior year instead as a way to prepare for the academic rigor of college.  Furthermore, enrolling in certain types of courses can help you earn credit in high school that you can use later in college.

Below are a few ideas of what courses to take during your senior year and why...

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The summer after junior year: Things to do to bolster your college application

February 13, 2017

The summer after junior year: Things to do to bolster your college applicationThe summer after your junior year does not have to be filled with stress and anxiety. You don’t have to sit around worrying and wondering if you’ve done everything you need to do to be noticed and hopefully selected by the college of your choice.  In fact, if planned ahead of time, the summer after your junior year can be the perfect opportunity to participate in a few activities that will not only make your summer memorable, but also help add substance to your college application. 

While your peers worry about making a last ditch, herculean effort to impress the college admissions office by prepping for yet another standardized test, consider using your summer vacation to invest your personal time in activities that not only interest you, but will serve to impress an admissions officer or two.

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Reaction to the New Wall Street Journal College Rankings

November 1, 2016

Let’s say that you’re a top ranking student.  You’re in the top 5% of your class due to your high GPA.  Your SAT, ACT and AP scores are enviable.  You also are well-rounded and your extra-curricular activities are just as important to you as your academic pursuits.  You excel in high school.  In fact, your guidance counselor frequently tells you that you’re one of the best prepared students in your graduating class.  And as a result, you’re going to be recognized with an award for outstanding achievement the following day.

But then you go to school the next morning and you find out that you’re not in the top 5% of your class any more.  Confused, you try to find out why.  And you’re given a conflicting and arguably ridiculous excuse that the formula used to determine high-achieving students has changed.  The school no longer cares that you have a high GPA, your test scores aren’t important, and your extra-curricular activities are just seen as well, extra, but not really necessary.  And because of the school’s new ranking system, you go from being in the top 5% of your class, to barely ranking at all.

You’re confused, upset, and outraged.  And rightfully so.  You worked hard for what you achieved and now a random new way of ranking has made you seem less competitive with your peers.   

You’re probably saying to yourself, this won’t happen to me, right? Well, probably not, but for many colleges and universities that were once seen as top colleges, this is exactly what happened, virtually overnight.

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