In the UAE, a significant number of students are eager to pursue their education in Western countries, especially in the UK, Canada, and the US, with many dreaming of attending Ivy League institutions. Parents of these students begin preparing for their admissions long before their children reach their sophomore year, not only setting aside funds but also seeking professional guidance. It is reported that some students are investing up to Dh250,000 to enhance their profiles by engaging with professional education consultants for mentorship programs. However, the college application process often starts unevenly, with students having varying levels of financial, social, and cultural resources.

Aanya Rajput, who contacted a consulting firm towards the end of her Grade 10, was considered by her mother, Poonam Chhotelal, to be somewhat late in seeking such assistance. Poonam emphasized the benefits of early engagement, stating, "These institutes assist with the college application process and help students understand their subject choices for later years. It's beneficial to start focusing on this from Grade 9." Hale, for instance, matches students with counselors based on their chosen subjects and conducts psychometric tests to identify suitable courses based on the students' strengths.

Aanya attends classes twice a week at the consultancy, alternating between in-person and Zoom sessions, each lasting 45 to 50 minutes. Poonam highlighted the cost-effectiveness of starting early, noting that planning for 12 US universities could cost around Dh40,000 in Grade 9, increasing slightly each subsequent year. She also mentioned the importance of extracurricular activities, internships, summer programs, and university visits in enhancing a student's profile.

Jacob George, an Indian-Turkmenistan expat studying Aerospace Engineering at UC Berkeley, found personalized advice crucial for his US applications. He appreciated the categorization of universities into 'reach', 'target', and 'safety' categories, which helped him balance his application list and increase his chances of acceptance. Even non-UAE residents are utilizing education services in the UAE, as demonstrated by a Syrian student who benefited from a non-profit organization's assistance in applying to Brown University.

Education consultants advise that discussions about the significant financial investment and planning should start early. Chafic Mekkaoui, an Education Consultant at Hale Education Group, noted that the cost of profile building can range from Dh50,000 to Dh250,000, depending on the student's proactive involvement and the opportunities pursued. This process is highly individualized, and the value of different experiences varies.