Swagath Saraogi (Georgia Institute of Technology)
I really could not have asked for a better person to guide me through my college applications. I started my college applications during the last couple days of September of Class 12. With your help, I started working on my essays and my Common Application. My dream college was Georgia Tech and its early action deadline was 15th October. Judging by the quality of my essays, I had almost given up hope that I would be able to turn in my application within 2 weeks but then you assured me that if we work together then it would be possible. As it turns out, I am now attending Georgia Tech and am also a member of a great living learning community called Grand Challenges. Apart from just my essays and applications, working with you taught me how to write. It taught me how to express myself. It taught me how to manage my time and prioritise my activities. Till date, if anyone asks me for suggestions regarding college counselling or anything of the sort, I always narrate the great experience I had with you and I am very grateful to the whole team who made the admission process as comfortable as possible.
Vedika Agarwal (University of California, Berkeley)
Thinking about where I should pursue my college education was one of the first major decisions I made as a teenager. There was a mind-numbing plethora of options out there, and each had its own pros and cons. To top it all, the application process itself seemed like such an ordeal. I had a few major questions and a million little ones to answer. You walked me through every step of the process with phenomenal patience. You helped me understand what kind of an environment I would flourish in, or in other words, what would be the right match college for me. You guided me meticulously through the applications itself, and helped me introspect and come up with great ideas for my essays even when I thought I had reached dead ends. Thank you for being extremely approachable, even when I was frantically trying to meet deadlines after midnight. Most importantly, you worked together with me to find what would be best for me instead of enforcing a formulaic general opinion. After two years at UC Berkeley, I could not be happier, and I owe this to you!
Gayatri Choudhury (New York University)
I was the quintessential Indian student – trying to wrestle with sumo-wrestler sized IIT-JEE prep books with the faint hope of getting into an institution most called Paradise. And just like Eve, I was excessively anxious to get out of it.
Then one fine summer afternoon, just as Dorian Gray met Lord Henry, I met you. Walking up the stairs to your office I felt like the everyday organic chemistry student – I knew too little to even hope to get started. Exactly a year has passed since then and I feel like I know a little too much about every minute detail of the admissions process for my own comfort.
You have become the Jeeves to my Bertram Wooster – always armed with solutions to all my problems, always keeping a tab on the lazy soul that I was to make sure that I was on track and motivating me at 3-second intervals.
Subsequently you went on to become Dumbledore. You bestowed upon me ACT prep books much like Harry was given the Sword of Gryffindor, helped me slay that old basilisk (the civilised crowd call it the CommonApp), let me make my own decisions but always made sure that it was an informed one; and every time I completed our conversation, I felt the same calm satisfaction as Harry – the hope that things just might work out.
Just like Harry and Dumbledore slew Horcruxes together, we slew essays. You were to my vast essays what the 4 siblings were to Narnia – only you could salvage my 2500 word essays and turn them into 650 worded wonders without losing the essence of it.Just like Harry and Dumbledore slew Horcruxes together, we slew essays. You were to my vast essays what the 4 siblings were to Narnia – only you could salvage my 2500 word essays and turn them into 650 worded wonders without losing the essence of it.
I’ve made it to my dream college but I still feel like I’m dreaming. So I’ll just say thank you for being Mr. Peabody to my Sherman (or to put it simply, the Devil to my Prada).
Malvika Jain (Bard College; University of Virginia)
When you take your first step towards college, you realize that it is much more than just applying to Ivy League schools. It was through your guidance that I could make a cohesive list of colleges that I should apply to and look beyond the ‘Need to go to an Ivy school Myth’. It was your rigorous brainstorming methods, positive approach, patience, kindness, and support that I could figure out what I wanted to do in the future. You have not only been a great mentor but also a great friend who has understood me easily and helped me at any given time of the day.
It was pleasure to work under your guidance and given another chance I’d work with you all over again. My experience with you has been an enlightening one and I hope you can help other students like me. I’m extremely happy in college and I’m sure without you this wouldn’t have been possible.
Karthikeyan Sundaram (UIUC)
It was definitely a great privilege and support to prepare for a reasonably strenuous process under your guidance You made complex things quite simple. You were always there for the support whenever I needed. It’s really rare to come across an individual who has the breadth and depth of information and at the same time, quite down-to-earth on interactions. I definitely enjoyed this experience. Thank you so much for your immense support, without which I would not have reached where I am today.
Mr Kalimani Venkatesan (father or Sriranjani, Worcester Polytechnic Institute)
Thank you. A few days ago, we both were discussing that in you we have not just found a great counselor, but someone who has understood our family as a whole (not just Sriranjani…) for whatever we are, and guiding us. And in the times such as what we are going through now, it is of unspeakable comfort that this association gives us. Many thanks to you again.
Tanushri Shah (Cornell University)
Nirmal Sir and his team simplified the overwhelming process of my college applications into one soothing Excel spreadsheet and a rather useful email (His). I’d like to call it college therapy if you may – where you have someone to talk to and guide you but at the end, the choice and journey is yours!
Divya Somani (Carleton University, Ashoka University)
I liked how approachable and easily accessible you all were at all times and also how fast I got replies for everything. A large part of the assistance which I needed was small and scattered questions and doubts from here and there while working on something.
You respected my decisions throughout and rather than trying to impose an idea, you always tried to help me realize my own ideas. On a more specific note I was beyond happy with the amount of care given to make sure that every word and idea on my essay was personal rather than edited or introduced. I was projected as I am without any glazing or any lies.
In recommending you to others, I would firstly highlight the accessibility that you have shown me throughout the past few months. I have known the methods of many other guidance counselors personally and through my friends and I don’t think I have heard of anyone who is available and reciprocates at all times.
Secondly, I would highlight the importance that both of you have attached to originality and to being honest and frank in the College Application.
I would also speak about the fact that the help given is wholesome rather than just being essay and research oriented. There are is a lot of technical information which was readily provided to me such as how to go about with my LOR’s and how to set up a Common App page which I know for a fact many others had to figure out on their own.
Lastly, I would highlight the inhuman amount of patience all of you have since you never seem to get angry. Honestly, I could not have asked for anything more.
Akshat Agarwal (Denison University)
I would surely recommend your services to everyone. I am very happy and satisfied. A very professional firm who know their work and are effective with their work. Extremely approachable and effective. Professional work ethics. Pushes the student to bring out their best work. Always available whenever needed and I always felt well informed about any application work that I had to undertake.
My essay and other work came out very well because of your creativity and that helped me get into my first choice college with the financial aid that my family needed.
This whole process made me realise who I really am as a person! Until now, I had never bothered looking back at my qualities/achievements or character traits. But the college related work given by you made me realise who I truly am and what I am capable of.
I just want to take this opportunity to thank you again for each and everything and for all the efforts taken. It wouldn’t at all be possible without you all. I am ever grateful.
Sahil Agarwal (Indiana University – Kelley)
I think the best part about working with Cognix is that everyone truly wishes to bring out the best in you with every essay, SOP, LOR you submit to college. Never have I felt that I have submitted an essay that I feel I could have written better or could have been edited in a better way. There were times when I have been made to write 7 drafts for a 150-200 word essay. Which just shows that everyone at Cognix does focus a lot on quality. Thank you so much for the help! I couldn’t have possible made it so far without your help!
Anupam and Sharmita Dutta (Parents of Rhea, Cornell University)
As Rhea’s parents, we never considered American universities for her undergraduate degree. It wasn’t a calculated decision, just one made within the scope of our understanding of what was best for our daughter at the time. This was until we met Mr. Nirmal Agarwal at a talk he gave at Rhea’s school in 2016. I distinctly remember recognizing Mr. Agarwal’s expertise in the international education system, which was reinforced by his own educational background (he is an alumnus of Stanford University and La Martiniere, Calcutta). His perspectives on selecting the right university and his deep knowledge of the international education system, especially of the U.S., encouraged us to broaden our understanding of what constitutes a holistic, fulfilling education. At this time, we ventured to consider universities in the U.S. for our daughter’s undergraduate degree.
As we began engaging with Nirmal, we realized that what could have been an extremely stressful process of preparing college applications, tracking deadlines, and producing essays had been made simple, navigable, and most importantly, educational. Every step of the two-year long process had been meticulously planned – from preparing for and taking the required standardized tests to writing focused, effective essays, from our weekly calls with Nirmal to track progress to preparing college lists and setting deadlines, Nirmal and his team worked like clockwork to guide us through one of the most challenging and trying times of our lives.
We knew we were in good hands when we realized how incredibly detail oriented Nirmal is. He provided critical feedback on every essay that Rhea wrote and made sure that even minor errors or inadequacies were corrected and improved upon. Nothing was missed – not even a misplaced comma in an essay. This gave us immense confidence and clarity on the way forward. He never left anything unsaid, lest we set unrealistic expectations. Ultimately, he made sure that Rhea presented her case to the admission committees to the best of her capability.
One of our most crucial learnings from this journey was, as Nirmal explained to us, that your child maybe right for some of the best colleges in the U.S., but those colleges might not be the best fit for your child. On his advice, we applied to Cornell University for Early Decision, as he believed that Cornell would be the right fit for our daughter. As of May 2018, she has completed her first year at the College of Engineering at Cornell and is on the Dean’s List there. Thanks to Nirmal’s theory of finding the best fit college, and not just the best college, Rhea couldn’t be happier!
Thank you so very much to Nirmal and his team! We shall always be grateful to you.
Mr Rangarajan (father of Nikhil, Carnegie Mellon University)
As we reach the business end of the application process, I am fully convinced that we have made the right decision in not trying to do it ourselves but to take your help in navigating the complicated process of US admissions.
During the last 10 months, you have been a mentor and guide to Nikhil, and an advisor and a friend to us. We have used your services in several ways, as a sounding board, as an extension of our own capabilities and resources and as a team member. We have taken your help in all possible areas – exams to take and preparations for the exams, short listing of universities, writing of essays, application for financial assistance, etc.
Our experience has been great and I have nothing but the best words for what you and you team have been able to do to aid and assist us in this arduous process.
Aayush Verma (Columbia University)
I believe that I made the perfect choice to go with Cognix Education Consultancy services for my application towards MS admissions. I am a Computer Science aspirant and had been preparing for GRE since my 2nd year of college. Fully aware of the competition for the MSCS Program, I had initially approached another Consultancy from where I had taken my GRE coaching. However, the end result turned out to be bad as I received rejections from 9/10 Universities that I had applied to.
Turning to Cognix for reapplying the next year, initially they guided me throughout the process of making my profile competitive through publications, projects, certificate courses & and extra-curricular courses through platforms like Coursera and EdX. Following this, we worked on the SoP and LoRs and after the completion of this phase, I could see clearly what was lacking in my previous year’s application.
Personally, I feel that apart from my SoP, another deal-breaker was the LoR. Usually working professionals of 1-2 years of experience prefer to take LoRs from 2 professors and 1 colleague/manager. However, Mr. Sanjay advised me to go with 2 colleagues/managers and 1 professor as they would reflect the current person that I am and my ambitions.
I would also like to thank you for making my SoP concise and as personalized as possible without too many deviations which helped in providing as much information as possible. Secondly, I would also like to thank you for the moral support you provided me during the last few months when application decisions were getting delayed due to the COVID pandemic and there were a lot of uncertainties.
Going to Columbia University is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I hope to make the best of it. For this, I thank Mr. Sanjay, Mr. Nirmal, and the entire team who have worked very hard to make my MSCS dream come true and that too in one of the Ivies.
Lakshana Kolur (New York University)
The realization that I wanted to pursue my masters studies abroad just dawned on me one morning in mid-April. I knew what I wanted to do next, but that is never enough, going through the entire process of applying to colleges was still left and that is where Cognix and Nirmal and Sanjay sir came into the picture. They literally swooped in like the heroes in superhero movies and helped me land on my feet.
Sanjay sir and Nirmal sir have been a constant support from the beginning. I still vividly remember calling them right from when I wrote my GRE and frantically asking them what to do next up until one day before my final college interviews. Statements of Purpose are an ordeal in themselves, and Sanjay and Nirmal sirs’ inputs were an absolute boon here. The fact that they both were involved and read everything I wrote was almost like a two-layered dissection from two different perspectives and I think that made the difference in my applications. While choosing which colleges to apply to, they didn’t just give me a bunch of general recommendations but discussed and helped me choose what would be right for me.
In addition to helping me with every individual component, their help towards finally submitting applications by the deadline was immeasurable. The night of 15th December still comes rushing back to my mind which was the deadline for almost 8 colleges and Sanjay sir patiently read and corrected each and every one of my applications late into the night until I had submitted all of them.
The attention to fine details, the personalised experience, making everyone feel welcome and part of a family and the uncountable pieces of advice and wisdom helped me not just in my college applications but were also learnings I will take away for the rest of my life. Never did I imagine that I would have offers from 4 of the top colleges for pursuing my Masters in Computer Science. So it’s not even the slightest bit of exaggeration when I say that I could not have done it without you!
Aryamaan Lakhotia (Harvard University)
One of the most distinct features that struck me about Nirmal Uncle was his comforting nature. Moreover, he is always available to have conversations about topics beyond the realm of college admissions in general. At the same time, he’s extremely professional in his guidance and customises plans for students based on their academic and non-academic interests, abilities, and potential college fit. I liked how he included games and activities in seminars and even arranged meetings/interviews with officials from top universities to transform the entire process into a fun, intuitive, and engaging experience.
As a student requiring significant financial aid, I was motivated by Nirmal Uncle and his amazing team to conduct extensive research on colleges and employ certain strategies to boost my profile. In general, they set practical, realistic goals for me, right from the college list to draft essay deadlines. He was incredibly supportive throughout the entire period, even when I decided to change my CommonApp essay in the later stage.
Their support stayed strong even in March (just before college decisions came out). I distinctly remember receiving calls from them, providing me with a sense of hope and comfort. Overall, I really enjoyed working with the Cognix team, and am grateful for their help and guidance throughout the college admission process (and even today)!