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How Canadians Can Master the US College Application Process!

12 APR 2022

The US university application process isn’t as easy as it used to be, and it’s more complicated than ever! Their extensive to-do lists make managing tasks and deadlines overwhelming and scary. Canadians looking at top universities like Harvard, Stanford, or Princeton may be wondering what activities or extracurriculars will help them stand out from the rest of the talented pool of students. What do the admissions teams look for in the application?


As US university admissions become more competitive, Canadian high school students look for innovative ways to prepare for university. They want to know what looks good on college applications and what extracurriculars and activities will give them the best chance of getting into their dream US universities.

Overview Of The US University Application Process

  • Academics: Your grades are one of the most important parts of your US university application. The grades you have already achieved should be entered for the university to see. Predicted grades for this session may also be entered, or the university will ask for grade reports and transcripts from your school.
  • Test Scores: As well as your grades, US schools will also look at your standardized test scores to understand your ability. Although most universities have gone temporarily test-optional, this is expected to change as we move away from COVID-19. Likewise, Canadians will be able to take the SATs digitally starting in 2023. Learn more about what makes a good SAT/ACT score.
  • Essays: Your essays allow US universities to learn more about you and gain a sample of your writing. Canadians are required to submit one personal statement essay, shared with all of the universities you apply to, and supplemental essays.
  • Extracurriculars: Your US university application should also include details of any extracurricular activities that you partake in – from part-time jobs, sports clubs or anything you are involved in outside of the classroom. It is important to discuss these and what you have gained from them within your college application.
  • Recommendations: Recommendation letters are written by your teachers or coaches, and their purpose is to give the universities that you are applying for further insight into your character and if you would be a suitable candidate for their institution.

How Can Canadians Get Started on Their US Application?

What if there was a way to take the overwhelming stress out of the US university application process? Or maybe a tool that would simplify the application process, tell students exactly what they need to include, and break down the deadlines in easy-to-manage steps?

That tool is finally here! Crimson Education just released Pathfinder - a comprehensive in-app tool that not only helps students stay on track but helps them quantify the value of activities they do in preparation to apply to competitive US schools.

As more Canadian students face limitations in their local high school, finding a strong set of extracurricular activities to add to your application will no longer be a challenge with Pathfinder!

Master the US University Application Process With Crimson Pathfinder

Pathfinder is an exclusive tool created by the Crimson Product team in collaboration with current and former admissions officers from eight top universities, including Dartmouth, Stanford, and Oxford, to help applicants quantify the value of their activities in preparation to apply to competitive US schools.

Introduction to Crimson Pathfinder

Here is a breakdown of what the admissions officers valued the most:

  1. Academics, 35% (e.g., grades, class rank, course difficulty)
  2. Extracurriculars, 20% (e.g., activities, competitions, arts, sports)
  3. Personal development, 20% (e.g., maturity and thoughtfulness, reading habits, writing skills, personal relationships)
  4. Standardized tests, 15% (SAT/ACT, TOEFL/IELTS if applicable)
  5. Majors, careers, and schools, 10% (including major preparation, school research, and networking)

After aggregating the input of these admissions officers, Crimson’s team used applications from thousands of past Crimson students to calibrate the tool.

Contained within the Crimson app, Pathfinder is a master list of everything students can do during high school to increase their chances of admission to top US universities. Pathfinder includes over 280 goals, each with an assigned point value based on how much admissions officers will value that achievement.

As students complete goals and accrue points, they move up through ‘levels’ in Pathfinder, which correlate with increasingly competitive universities. These levels include Scout, Seeker, Venturer, Voyager, and Globetrotter. The higher they score on Pathfinder, the more competitive an applicant they’ll be.

Gamify the Value of Your High School Activities

Crimson has created a first-of-its-kind tool that quantifies the value of high school activities in the context of college admissions success. This tool doesn’t factor in application essays or financial aid needs, but Pathfinder has been tested against data from numerous Crimson students of all qualifications. Its levels correlate clearly with specific admissions outcomes.

Prepare for US University Applications with Crimson Pathfinder

Every student’s Pathfinder looks different because it’s customized to their interests, needs, and objectives. It ensures they stay on track between now and when they apply to university. The more students use Pathfinder, the smarter the tool becomes. Pathfinder accurately predicts a student’s admission results (based on their achievements) with unbelievable accuracy. Combined with guidance from their personalized Strategist, students become masters of their university applications.

Final Thoughts

Crimson conducts ongoing calibration, using the hundreds of data points gained in each application cycle. It’s also updated annually as admissions processes, weighting, and desired traits grow and change.

Pathfinder is a groundbreaking tool designed exclusively for Crimson Education’s students. Check out the Crimson Pathfinder introduction video to learn more about this innovative and exciting new tool.

If you have further questions, contact one of our Crimson advisors.

Ready To Start The US University Application Process?

Crimson Education takes US and UK admissions consulting to a new level of personalization and success, increasing students' chances of admission to the Ivy League, Oxbridge, and other top universities by up to 700%.