Client Affairs

Comment: Why To Start Preparing Kids Early For Top-Tier Universities

Jason Ma, Three EQ, Founder, 24 April 2012


Few parents realize how important it is to start grooming their kids earlier for university, holistically as well as academically, says Jason Ma, founder and CEO of ThreeEQ.

Private bankers and wealth managers constantly seek ways in
which to manage and enhance existing HNW client relationships, as well as to bring
in new clients. But the reality in Asia is that few have differentiated
themselves from the usual stable of wealth accumulation and protection tactics
for their clients. One way to touch clients' hearts - and by proxy
their wallets - is to more effectively help take care of their children.

Asian parents are known to prioritise high-quality education for their kids, at the top universities. But not many realize just how important for their kids to start the
process earlier holistically as well as academically, Jason Ma, founder and CEO
of ThreeEQ,
tells WealthBriefingAsia exclusively. Ma is an international education industry
counsellor and works with some private banks. The following article has been adapted from one previously published in FORBES.

In today’s competitive college admissions
process, preparation cannot begin too early: “Start preparing for college at
grade six [age 11],” says UC San Diego Director
of Admissions Mae Brown.

High-achieving teenagers and young adults need significant time to maximize their chances for admission to
top universities or graduate schools and prepare for meaningful careers.
Starting early is necessary for optimally boosting both IQ and EQ (emotional,
social and leadership intelligence).

Parents should start guiding students, if possible, far
before they approach the supremely demanding and intense top-tier college
applications season in their senior year of high school or in the second year
of junior college. This time of the year is the “college app pre-season.” Getting
kids to work more smartly and effectively actually helps reduce their stress

"But isn't it too early and bad for kids to
start so early?" I get asked occasionally by a few well-intentioned
parents. It’s never too early.

In May 2010, I interviewed ten high school
graduating seniors who had gone through our college planning and/or
applications guidance programs and had been admitted to Ivies, Stanford, MIT, Duke,
UChicago, Northwestern, UC Berkeley, UCLA and other top universities or liberal
arts colleges.

“What would you advise rising seniors and
younger students?” I asked as part of the interview. Nine of ten students
responded said if they could have started earlier, they would have.

Building up true interests and strong extra-curriculars and leadership positions can help students thrive during the brutal top-tier college app season.
Book-smart kids with high test scores and high grades, especially East and
South Asians in Asia, are common, and strong academic performance is simply
expected at top universities. Highly developed extra-curriculars that reflect a
standout character and strong communication and leadership skills significantly
increase chances for admission.

One thing that young
adults can start doing more earnestly is reading diversely, especially young
adult books and articles. Some driven ones even begin reading about different colleges and discovering options
out there, early on. This can
actually help motivate and shape a big picture with higher goals.

days, applications and admissions to top-tier US universities or graduate
schools are increasingly fiercely competitive, and the multi-year planning and
execution process is complex and highly demanding. Money cannot buy everything.
Once again, children must truly stand out
holistically, in addition to performing academically.

By starting earlier in working with advisors and
mentors, students and families can significantly reduce stress, save time and
money and experience greater success and higher ROI during the increasingly
brutal top-tier university applications season and in the long run. In addition to the right school curriculum mix and rigor, preparation for relevant
standardized tests and, if suitable, academic competitions, high achievers
should choose appropriate extracurricular,
community, work and/or internship activities.

have often seen good kids and/or parents make bad decisions prior to using
expert guidance. They make decisions that seem rational in a narrower context
but actually impede their goals and cause eventual pain and competitive
disadvantage. And when they finally realize that time, energy and money have been wasted, it is too late. 


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