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Crimson Access Opportunity

Applications for the Crimson Access Opportunity program are currently closed. Reopening Spring 2022.

What is CAO?

In 2020, Crimson Education created the Crimson Access Opportunity (CAO) Program in order to provide ambitious, economically disadvantaged students with free access to Crimson’s admissions experts, who will support you as you craft a stand-out college application. 

This year, we are excited to offer this opportunity to 50 students across the world. Students selected for the CAO Program receive the following services from Crimson, valued at around $4,000 USD, completely free of charge.

crimson education students

What kind of support will CAO students receive?

This past application cycle, our Crimson Access Opportunity students have gained admission to a wide range of awesome colleges including, but not limited to: DePaul University, Loyola Chicago, Sarah Lawrence, Fordham, Marymount Manhattan, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Chapel Hill, Howard, Elon, Emory, Harvard, UPenn, University of Virginia, Case Western, and more!

The main support for our CAO students will be in the form of strategy and application mentoring, delivered by our incredible Strategists and Application Mentors. In addition, students will receive:

application mentoring
Essay brainstorming & editing on 4 applications

essay review
2 Essay reviews from Crimson's Essay Review Team (ERT)

financial aid
3 hours of 1:1 time with a financial aid advisor

Access to hundreds of webinars, resources, timelines, etc!

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Who should apply for CAO?

We are looking for high school seniors (students who are applying to college this year) who have consistently excelled in their academics and extracurriculars. To be selected, students must demonstrate financial need, as CAO is intended to support students who would otherwise be unable to purchase admissions support. We welcome qualified minorities, BIPOC students, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and students with disabilities, among others to apply.

How & When to Apply

Applications will re-open in the Spring of 2022.

Disclaimer: Please note that CAO scholarship and services included do not imply a guarantee of admission to any colleges as well as 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.

crimson app


Is the deadline extendable due to extenuating circumstances?

The deadline for submitting the fully completed CAO application is April 25, 2021. We strongly suggest that you factor in the time required to complete the CAO application (including the longer essay prompts) 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 reconsider your request.

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 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.

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 3-4 working days.

When will selected candidates be notified by Crimson?

Successful applicants will be contacted by May 25, 2021.

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.

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

Selected candidates will be required to respond with a confirmation of their acceptance of our offer by June 1, 2021. If a selected candidate fails to respond by this stipulated time, their spot will be given to a candidate on the waiting list.

When will the program begin?

Students selected for CAO will be formally onboarded by the first week of June 2021. This will involve the matching and allocation of an Education Coordinator, Strategist, and Application Mentor to the student. During the onboarding process, students will also be introduced to each of the experts helping them in their application process, and guided on how to access Crimson’s extensive array of resources and important points of contact for their queries and feedback.