Apply. Compete. Succeed.  Blog

Category: For Students

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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Why a Paying Summer Job May Not Add Much Value to Your College Application

June 8, 2017

Does a Summer Job Help your college applicationIt’s the summer before your senior year and you’re probably evaluating your options.  Among those options, you might be considering getting a paying summer job.  After all, maybe many of your friends are doing it or your parents are encouraging you to get a summer job with the hope that doing so will improve your chances of getting into the college of your choice. However, a summer paying job may not add as much value to your college application as you, your parents, or peers might think.

First of all, the strength of your admissions application doesn’t increase just because you add more stuff to it.  Colleges aren’t looking for an applicant that has done a million things, but rather colleges are looking for an applicant that has had meaningful experiences.  Hence, adding a paying job to your college application, as part of the list of one of a dozen things you’ve done over the summer, isn’t a guarantee that you’ll make your application stronger.  It’s the quality of your application that will get you into the school of your choice.  The number of jobs you’ve held will not play a great role in a positive admissions outcome whether you’ve held only one paying job or 50.

Now, there are exceptions, of course.  There are summer paying jobs that can actually add value to your college application. Thus, before taking a paying job in the summer just because you think it’ll give you a competitive advantage, consider these questions:

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Rising Seniors: How to Make the Best Use of Your Summer Before All Hell Breaks Loose

May 22, 2017

Summer College Planning for Rising Seniors

It’s coming and there’s nothing you can do about it.  The idea of it probably makes you nervous and excited at the same time.  After all, the unknown can be exciting, but it can also be frightening.  And what exactly is that unknown? Your senior year in high school.

For most rising seniors, there’s nothing more pressing on your brain than what your senior year may hold.  Senior year means prom, senior class trip, maybe even a senior prank or two. It also possibly means saying goodbye to friends and loved ones.  All that to say, you probably look towards your senior year with bittersweet and conflicted emotions. 

But you can worry about all that in the fall, right? It’s the summer before your senior year and the stress and responsibilities that await you might seem far away.  You have an entire summer before you have to make huge decisions about your future and you’re probably wondering what’s the best way to make use of your summer before all hell breaks loose.

Below are a few ways you can use your summer break to your advantage:

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Waitlist Torture: What to Expect and What to Do If You’re Waitlisted by Your Favorite College(s)

May 5, 2017

What to Expect and What to Do If You’re Waitlisted by Your Favorite College(s)Your SAT and ACT scores were impressive.  You’re sure that the recommendations from your teachers were stellar.  Your grades were good…even great in some areas.  You always volunteered outside of school or participated in an extracurricular activity or two.  Overall, you feel that you’re a very strong, well-rounded applicant and admission to your favorite college is a guarantee.  So, you pick up your iPhone to check your email and you see that your favorite college has contacted you.  Excitedly, you open the email with a knowing smile on your face.

As you read the first line and then the second, your smile starts to fade.  Your brows furrow in confusion.  This can’t be happening.  You see the words waitlisted and you cease to continue reading as the unexpected admissions decision sinks into your brain. 

You’re thinking to yourself: What do I do now? And what exactly should you expect after being waitlisted?

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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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