Congratulations to our 2022-2023 CAO cohort!

For receiving 40+ Ivy League & Top 20 US university offers, 150+ US university offers, and over 23 million USD in financial support!
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Crimson Access Opportunity

CAO provides high achieving students who need financial support with expert admissions consulting services for FREE! Applications are currently closed. Please check back in 2024.

Who should apply for CAO?


How and when to apply for CAO?

What is CAO?

In 2020, Crimson Education, one of the world’s most successful US university admissions support consultancies, created the Crimson Access Opportunity (CAO) program. CAO aims to provide high-achieving students who need financial support with free access to Crimson’s renowned US admissions support.

In a mission to equalize the global college admissions playing field, we provide CAO students with teams of top US university admissions experts who support students in perfecting every element of their US applications. Our aim is to help these students stand out above an increasingly competitive application crowd — making sure they have every chance of achieving the success they deserve.

CAO has seen great success, with students accepted to top universities like Princeton, Stanford, Columbia, Brown, University of Chicago, University of California - Berkeley, Duke, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory, Northeastern, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, Franklin & Marshall, DePaul, Loyola Chicago, Sarah Lawrence, Fordham, Marymount Manhattan, UNC-Charlotte, Howard, Elon, Case Western, and more!

The 2021-2022 cohort of 56 CAO students received over 8 million USD in financial support. Also, the 2022-2023 cohort of 101 CAO students has received over 20 million USD in financial support this year from the universities they were accepted to.

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Top 3 Reasons to Apply to CAO

Hear from Crimson CEO & Co-founder, Jamie Beaton, and meet some of our CAO Strategists
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Where have CAO students been accepted?

Our CAO students have gained admission to a wide range of colleges including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, UPenn, Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Duke, UChicago, NYU, Northwestern, Carnegie Mellon, Tufts, Bowdoin, UC Berkeley, and many, many more!

Class of 2026 CAO students received $8M+ USD in financial support

The 2022-2023 cohort of CAO students have already received more than 4 million USD in financial support just in the early round!

Read about previous CAO student journeys

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What kind of support do CAO students receive?

Students selected for the CAO Program receive expert strategy and application mentoring services from Crimson completely free of charge, delivered by our incredible Strategists and Application Mentors who support students in crafting a compelling application narrative that maximizes their admissions chances at their dream universities. In addition, CAO students receive:

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Who should apply for CAO?

We are looking for students who:

  • Demonstrate strong extracurricular involvement, leadership skills, and academic honors
  • Demonstrate financial need — specifically students whose families can contribute less than 30,000 USD towards their education per year
  • Demonstrate strong English proficiency
  • Are ambitious, driven, and enthusiastic about reaching their dreams at a US university

We are looking for high school students who will be in their final year of high school by fall 2023 and plan to start university in the fall term of 2024. We also welcome students on a gap year who intend to start university in the fall term of 2024. We do not support transfer students.


We welcome students from all around the world! CAO supports students from every country and nationality. We encourage you to apply no matter where you are located.

Attention Brazilian Students!

Brazilian students should apply for the Crimson Brazil scholarship. Please follow the link below.

Apply here

How & When to Apply

Applications are currently closed.

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Learn how these students got into top universities with the help of CAO

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Will this program cover my fees to apply to and attend college?

No, this program will only provide students with Crimson’s admissions support services for free. Applicants are expected to find means to cover their own application fees (including standardized tests). Although the program will be supporting CAO students with applying for financial aid, the CAO scholarship and services included do not imply a guarantee of admission to any colleges or the availability of financial or merit scholarships upon admission. Crimson Education services will only cover college admission support and cannot be held liable for the admission outcomes.

Is the deadline extendable due to extenuating circumstances?

The deadline for submitting the fully completed CAO application is April 7, 2023. We strongly suggest that you factor in the time required to complete the CAO application (including the longer essay prompt) and plan accordingly ahead of time. If, however, you are unable to meet the deadline because you are facing serious extenuating circumstances such as illness or bereavement, please write to us at with the subject line “CAO Query” and we will consider your request.

What does the application entail?

Our application is like a mini-version of the Common Application. As a part of the application, we will ask about your grades, any standardized test scores, your activities, your financial circumstances, and we will also ask you to submit two essay prompts and a video/audio response. The application is rigorous, but we promise that it'll be worth it! You'll also be able to use lots of your work as a part of your college applications, which will ask you similar questions.

Is there a minimum grade level required to be accepted to the program?

No, there is no minimum grade requirement. However, we look for applicants who have continuously excelled and challenged themselves academically.

How do I know if my extracurricular activities are competitive enough for the program?

We look for students who demonstrate leadership and initiative in their communities, both in and out of school.

What should you focus on in the essay prompts?

The essay prompts are meant to give us a better idea about your interests, personality, motivations, and life experiences. We are looking for independent, original thinkers with the ability to engage critically with the world around them. Your essay does not have to be written at a high level of sophistication or polish; what we are looking for is students who can express their thoughts and experiences honestly and coherently.

When will admissions results for the CAO Program be released?

All results will be released by May, 2023.

How much time do I get to decide whether to accept or decline my offer?

Students will be notified of their admissions decision by May 2023. Selected candidates will be required to respond with a confirmation of their acceptance of our offer by a given date which will be specified in their letter of acceptance. If a selected candidate fails to respond by this stipulated time, their spot will be given to a candidate on the waiting list.

If my application is unsuccessful, will I be provided with reasons or feedback on my application?

Due to the high volume of applications globally, we are unfortunately unable to provide individualized feedback on unsuccessful applications.

When will the program begin?

Students selected for CAO will be formally onboarded through an orientation program which will take place in May (specific dates to be confirmed soon). During the onboarding process, students will also be introduced to each of the experts helping them in their application process and guided on accessing Crimson’s extensive array of resources and important points of contact for their queries and feedback.

Who will be supporting me through the CAO Program?

Your CAO team will consist of an experienced Strategy Consultant, Application Mentor, and Financial Aid Advisor.

How do I contact Crimson if I have further questions or need to report any problem?

Please email us at with the subject line “CAO Query” and we will respond to your email within 5 working days.