Increase Your Chances of Getting into Top Universities

14/06/20249 minute read
Increase Your Chances of Getting into Top Universities

Drawing from the experts in their field, Dr Jamie Beaton, CGA’s Co-founder, and Bob Fan, CGA’s Director of Admissions and Career Support, tell all on the way to top universities.

Learning the competitive landscape of university admissions, understanding the latest trends, and effective strategies are important for students aiming to get into the world's best universities. And in this blog, we’ll guide you on how to do it.

Learn From the University Admissions Experts

CGA is an internationally accredited online private school that helps ambitious high school students get into some of the world’s best universities. But how do we do it? Offering a rigorous curriculum to students worldwide, with the guidance of experts in university admissions, students online are prepared by the best in their fields.

"We are an internationally accredited online private school. We have the ability to provide this amazing curriculum to our students around the world,” says Dr. Jamie Beaton, founder of CGA.

Dr. Jamie Beaton's path from Auckland to global education highlights his personal achievements and wide-reaching impact. At 17, in his final year of high school at King’s College in Auckland, New Zealand, Jamie applied to 25 top universities and was accepted by all, including Harvard, Stanford, Wharton (Huntsman), Yale, Princeton, and Cambridge. He believes quality education should be accessible to everyone and continues to guide CGA’s direction, ensuring students worldwide have access to excellent opportunities. In 2019, at the age of 24, Jamie became the youngest graduate in decades from Stanford Graduate School of Business, finishing his degree with the highest academic honour.

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CGA's achievements, including a top-three ranking for best online school in the USA and a finalist spot for the World’s Best School Prizes in Innovation, show its commitment to excellence. "As an online private school, we can find the best teachers from around the world. We're not limited by geography," says Dr Beaton.

Part of this student support includes Bob Fan, CGA’s Director of Admissions and Career Support, has over 12 years of experience in university admissions counselling. He went from a small town in Canada to helping students gain admission to top universities worldwide.

After graduating from the University of Michigan, Bob was unsure of his next steps. A visit to his parents in China led him to his first job in admissions consulting, a career he soon began to love. For six years, Bob worked for two different companies in China before feeling the pull to return to the US. While studying for his GMAT, a former colleague mentioned that Crimson Education was hiring strategy consultants. This was the opportunity Bob had been waiting for, and he has been with Crimson for over seven years now.

Bob has helped students gain admission to their best-fit universities around the world, including elite institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Columbia, Oxford, and the University of Toronto.

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Key Trends in University Admissions

Expanding Global Applications

One significant trend is the increasing number of students applying to multiple countries. Jamie notes, "We're definitely seeing growth in applicants to the US and UK, but also to countries like Canada, Singapore, and the Middle East. Students are applying to a lot more schools across more countries with a lot of aspiration."

Bob Fan, Director of Admissions and Career Support, adds that students consider post-graduation employment prospects when choosing universities. "Students strongly consider post-graduation employment prospects and therefore they are also studying majors with a strong professional connection.” This practical approach helps students make informed decisions about their education and future careers way before applying to universities. By focusing on fields with clear career pathways, such as engineering, business, and healthcare, students can align their academic pursuits with their long-term professional goals.

Universities are also responding to this trend by offering more specialised programs and industry partnerships that enhance employability. Internships, co-op programs, and hands-on projects are increasingly integrated into the curriculum, providing students with valuable real-world experience. This combination of academic learning and practical application not only equips students with the necessary skills but also gives them an advantage in the job market upon graduation.

Rising Interest in STEM and AI Fields

With the labour market increasingly valuing skills in artificial intelligence, and tech, there is a notable rise in students pursuing these fields. "We're seeing a rise in interest in applicants applying for subjects like computer science, artificial intelligence, and maths,” says Dr Beaton.

As Brad McMahon, the SVP of Business and Product Development at +U, puts it: “The sooner students can leverage employment opportunities related to their field of study, the more likely they are to complete their degree and find a relevant career opportunity post-graduation.”

The Importance of Flexible Learning

CGA’s approach allows students to study based on ability rather than age, providing a customised and accelerated learning experience. "I took 10 A levels and there were certain subjects where I was told I had to spend two years learning this, which I thought was crazy,” shares Dr Beaton. Through his own experiences, Dr Jamie Beaton wanted to create a school that allowed students to accelerate based on their own level and performance.

This flexibility extends to extracurricular activities as well, enabling students to pursue their passions without compromising their academic goals. "Our flexible schedule has really allowed them to spend so much more time improving their overall profile, not just for the purposes of college admissions, but generally just exploring more things and being a teenager in general,” shares Bob. Extracurriculars not only impress Admissions Officers on student portfolios they also demonstrate a students willingness to take on project management, try new things and balance their academics.


Another key trend is the growing emphasis on diversity in university applications. Many universities are actively seeking to create more inclusive campuses by encouraging applications from students of varied backgrounds. They are looking for students who bring unique perspectives and experiences.

This trend means that students from different socioeconomic, cultural, and educational backgrounds have more opportunities to access higher education. Universities are implementing initiatives such as scholarships, outreach programs, and partnerships with schools to support underrepresented groups.

Preparing for University Early

Jade, a CGA student from rural New Zealand, secured admissions to seven top universities across the US, including Princeton and Columbia. Her profile is an example of how a well-rounded university application can help students gain that competitive edge when it comes to applying for these universities.

Jade’s mother, Linda, supported her through this process and shares her advice on the university admissions landscape. “You don't realise how early you need to start planning and thinking about preparation to put your best foot forward to secure that top university admission." For Jade and her family, early planning was significant along with leveraging CGA’s resources to achieve her university outcomes.

"Jade is a fantastic example of someone that leveraged the flexibility of the environment and achieved some brilliant results on the world stage." - Dr Jamie Beaton.

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Actionable Steps for Students and Parents

For families considering an online high school like CGA, in assisting them with their child's university goals, it’s important to start planning early and think strategically.

"Planning in advance and having this kind of supportive environment, a school filled with students who have similar aspirations, but also teachers, mentors, staff, that are speaking to students about these things and emphasising the importance of this planning." - Bob Fan

Engaging with CGA’s academic advisors and taking advantage of the school’s vast network can provide invaluable guidance and support. Jamie encourages students to "come in here with a lot of ambition, roaring to go, set your ambitions really high," and to take full advantage of the opportunities available through online high school.

Ready to learn more from Dr Jamie Beaton and Bob Fan? Watch our on-demand webinar for complete insight into the current university trends. By understanding the latest trends in university admissions students can maximise their potential and achieve their university goals.