After facing difficulty applying to 25 different colleges in the U.S. and U.K., New Zealander Jamie Beaton launched his own company, Crimson Education, to provide consulting services for international students applying to elite American universities.
Beaton, who started the company at age 17 in 2013, hires tutors who help students craft college essays and mentor them through ACT and SAT tests. Six years after founding his company, Beaton touts it as a success worth $260 million.
However, critics question the validity of Crimson Education, citing multiple half-truths throughout its business practices.
According to USA Today, Crimson’s “qualified consultants” were often still college students themselves and the company’s assertion that nearly 100% of its clients are accepted into their top school of choice relies on whether those clients are accepted into at least one of the multiple schools they applied to.
In addition, though Crimson’s website lists offices located around the globe, reporters found no one available at the New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles or London offices. In one case, reporters found zero evidence that Crimson had ever occupied an office in that particular area.
Currently neither Beaton nor his company have been accused of illegal activities, but the findings have increased speculation surrounding the unregulated world of college counseling and admission services.