7 Huge Mistakes Parents Make in BS/MD Admissions

“Going it alone” in this vast arena of BS/MD admissions can result in mistakes, as applicants are easily blindsided by obstacles and pitfalls that they don’t even know exist. When parents call our office to provide initial information, as I listen to their children’s BS/MD program profile I can almost predict (using trends, predictive analysis and real-time insider perspective of the BS/MD programs) that their child will be REJECTED based on the sameness of their profile.  Yet when I explain to parents that their children sound exactly like other applicants they are in total disbelief.  I have concluded that the children are merely following the advice of their parents and the parents are making costly mistakes. Try to avoid these common errors:

  1. Parental Hubris:  Many parents assume that their skill sets, professional title or socio-economic status and connections can help their children get accepted in the coveted BS/MD spots.  This is a huge mistake!  Their professional skills sets are helpful in finance, medicine, business, technology or research, but when it comes to BS/MD admissions they should leave it to experts who are involved and understand the ever-changing BS/MD admissions process.  The inability to admit that they don’t know what they don’t know could result in REJECTION!
  2. Group Think:  Many parents read the same websites, same books, and talk with the same people in their respective communities, personal and professional circles.  Most or all of the members of the in-group share an illusion of invulnerability that provides for them some degree of reassurance despite obvious dangers and leads them to become overly-optimistic.  Thinking in a group discourages creativity and non-conformity, resulting in everyone appearing the same on paper.  It causes them to fail to respond to obvious and clear admissions mine fields.  As a group, faulty (and sometime irrational decisions and admissions strategies) are reinforced. The result:  increased probability as a group of REJECTION.
  3. Not understanding or accepting demographics:  Many of my clients are of Asian descent (Chinese, Indian, Korean, Filipino and Japanese).  This population, as a group, has been responsible for an increase in applicants by 30% to BS/MD program.  Many parents may not be aware of the increased numbers.  Colleges and their BS/MD programs desire classes that are diverse and demographically reflective of the general population.  No matter which admissions method is used (team approach, character assessment or holistic approach), schools will not accept more of one demographic just because of an increase in the number of applications.  The competition becomes hyper-competitive within a particular demographic.
  4. Procrastination: The BS/MD admissions journey begins in high school freshman year, not during the fall of a student’s senior year.  (See: BSMD Programs – Getting In!)  From time to time parents will call us regarding a high school senior in September or October of their senior year requesting help for BS/MD programs.  It may be difficult to undue mistakes that will result in rejection, although not impossible.  But generally, these parents assume that they have done everything right and are calling to see if they can obtain free advice.  Unfortunately, as they discuss their child’s achievements I can almost predict their student profile.  By procrastinating, they have inadvertently increased the probability of REJECTION.
  5. Misunderstanding Investment vs. Cost:  What’s your child’s future worth?  According to the US Department of Agriculture, the cost of raising a child for a middle-income family born in 2001-2003 through the age of 18, not including college costs is $224,000 to $227,000 for middle income families and $327,000 to $330,000 for higher incomes.  This does not include private school tuition, summer athletic or music camps, or specialized college summer camps.  When a parent calls us to ask “the price” of our BS/MD admissions advisory services for the purpose of negotiating for the cheapest rate, we can already predict the probability of REJECTION.  Consider the worthy investment in your child’s future.
  6. Seeking Advice from the Wrong Advisor: (a) Guidance counselors – public school guidance counselors only spend 26% of their time on college admissions and the average counselor-to-student ratio is 1:250.  Guidance counselors don’t have the expertise in BS/MD program admissions.  (b) Advisors who are journalist or writers who never attended medical school nor understand the highly selective process – no expertise in BS/MD program admissions.  (c) Advisors who advise part-time – self explanatory. There is a major difference between useful knowledge and information.  Parents should hire an advisor who is a full-time admissions advisor who actually visits colleges, BS/MD programs and medical schools, understands BS/MD programs of the various schools, and has insightful knowledge of each program.  “If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll end up somewhere else” – Yogi Berra
  7. Parents want the best for their children.  They read as much as possible, network with others in schools and educational programs, provide extensive extracurricular educational opportunities for their children, research on the web about BS/MD programs…..but somehow when they are just along the last stretch to the finish line they make egregious, irrevocable and calculated mistakes that cause their children to be rejected.  Don’t make these mistakes!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, BS/MD Admissions Advisors, help high school students get accepted to BS/MD programs.

6 Mistakes to Avoid on the Private School Parent Statement

Your child has great SSAT scores and excellent grades.  You have talked with teachers who will write stellar letters of recommendations.  You believe that you understand character assessments and assume your child has the right character attributes.  You are confident that your interview and your child’s interview went well.  You also assume that your “connections” will give your child that edge to be accepted to top private schools.

Admissions committees want to learn more about applicants through their parents’ eyes. The purpose of the parent’s statement is to add dimension to the candidate’s statement and to help the admissions committee better understand the applicant from the parent’s perspective.   The parent statement is one of the few steps in the admission process that parents control, but where I see parents make egregious mistakes. These are some of the more common mistakes:

  1. Assume your parent statement is unique. What parents often fail to realize is that admissions committees have seen thousands of applications and parent essays. They are looking for unique students who have a view or passion that sets them apart from the other hundreds of applicants who apply. When my team and I first review our client’s parent statement/essays, they sound like a typical statement.  Parents actually assume that the statements are unique but they are, in fact quite predictable and commonplace.
  2. Procrastinate.  Don’t wait until the last moment to draft your parent essay. Many parents, while getting everything else in order for the application, wait to start to write their parent statement essays.  They may write a draft or two have it reviewed by a friend and submit it.  We meet with our clients and brainstorm ideas that are appropriate for each essay early in the process.  Parents submit drafts and we revise as many as 10 drafts so that the essays are grammatically correct as well as have flow, rhythm and color.
  3. Attempts to impress.  Writing a parent statement that portrays your child as a leader and overemphasis childlike abilities will certainly cause rejections.  I often see adjectives like immensely caring, forward thinking, brilliant, philanthropic and sometimes statements such as “my son or daughter will improve your school”.  I often hear from admissions officers how parents in their attempt to impress schools often show condescension.
  4. Incompatible essays. Many parents write essays that don’t match teacher’s recommendation or the characteristics of their child.  Admissions officers have different methods of truly discovering the real applicant.  The student essay, letters of recommendations and the student and parent interview should harmoniously and rhythmically match.  I often hear from admissions officers how the parent statement they read is not the same as the applicant presented and sounds out of step with the rest of the application.
  5. Using sample essays.  If you are using sample essays the probability is that many other parents are also doing the same.  This means that your essay will sound exactly the same as parents who are using sample essays. Plus, it’s not honest.  I have had parents ask me if I use sample essays or send me past clients essay responses.  We do not use sample essays, nor do we use past clients essays; I would advise all parents not to do this.
  6. Not hiring a professional private school admissions advisor.  Lots of parents use the “do it yourself route”, hire essay writers or inexperienced educational consultants. To really write a stunning, awesome and meaningful essay that will help your child stand out you need to hire an admissions advisor who understands the entire application process, the mission and admissions policies of each school, and how a well written and descriptive parent statement will fit in the applicant’s profile.  After all, the applicants profile is really a conversation amongst admissions committee members, one component out of sync will raise red flags that will cause rejection. The right advisor will work with you to discover MISTAKES and omissions, as well as help you through the process in completing the task of applying to private schools. Consider a professional private school admissions advisor as a great investment in your child’s future.



Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s Private School Admissions Advisors.   Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and day schools.  Dr. Lowe also helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into their top choice private schools after they have been wait-listed and rejected.


Does It Matter Where You Attend College? Absolutely!

Does it matter where you attend college

I often hear from parents, students, high school guidance counselors and even fellow educational consultants that it doesn’t matter where you attend college, as long as where you attend is a “good fit”.  Actually studies show it does matter where you attend college! My recommendation to my U.S. as well as international clients is that one should attend the “best” school possible where you will happy and have a great and memorable college experience.

Obviously, there are many people who are happy, quite successful and have had wonderful college experiences without attending Ivy League or highly competitive colleges.  However, in this tight job market, recent college graduates increasingly find that higher paying jobs are very selective.  While attending an Ivy League or selective college may not guarantee financial success or happiness, to buyers of talent (HR professionals, employers, personnel departments) it certainly does matter.  One of the first questions they consider while perusing a job applicant’s resume: where did you attend school?

  1. A study in the journal, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, confirms parental suspicions that the best route to a top job is to attend an Ivy League school. According to Dr. Lauren Rivera, the author of the study, “Elite professional service employers rely more on academic pedigree more than any other factor.  Where you went to school rather than what you did there makes the difference”.
  2. PayScale Inc., an online provider of global compensation data, in a survey demonstrated that an Ivy League diploma is still worth its price of admission and tuition. “An Ivy League education makes a job candidate stand out, even before a recruiter talks to them!  The median starting salary for Ivy Leaguers is 32% higher than that of liberal-arts college graduates and at 10 or more years into graduates’ working lives, the spread is 34%.”
  3. Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, stated: “Because of the bitter competition for premium salaries, elite educational credentials are often a precondition for even landing a job interview.  Degrees from elite schools clearly open doors.”
  4. In The Economist that there is a direct correlation between education, the inheritance of privilege and class. According to an extensive report in The Economist: “For those at the top of the pile, moving straight from the best universities into the best jobs. the potential rewards are greater.”
  5. Top 20 universities producing billionaires is dominated by blue-chip, elite U.S. institutions.  Billionaires are likely to have attended some of the traditionally most prestigious universities.  Top universities have become the place where “global players gather”.  Educational insights from an annual profile of the uber-rich – Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census.

Let’s face it.  We live in a competitive, meritocratic and global society where brand, image, prestige and reputation certainly matter.  The answer to the question: does it matter where you attend school, then, is rhetorical.  Still believe it doesn’t matter? Just ask the record number of students (an estimated 30,000) who apply every year to each Ivy League school where the rejection rates can exceed 90% for these colleges.


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, Ivy League Admissions Advisors help students gain admissions to Ivy League and high selective colleges and universities. 

10 Top College Application Essay Mistakes You Must Avoid

College essay mistakes to avoid by Dr Paul Lowe Admissions Expert

The thought of beginning your senior year with the attendant pressures of maintaining good grades, playing sports, filling out college applications, re-taking SATs and squeezing in college visits is stressful enough without worrying about writing one of the most important essays of your life – The College Application Essay.

Here are some mistakes you MUST avoid:

  • Mistake #10:  Using the same essay for all of the college you apply to.  All colleges have their own identity and mission statement.  Pay attention to what their ideology is and think about what you can do to cater to it.
  • Mistake #9:  Plagiarizing other students’ work.  Do not copy from other people or download essays!  Many students assume that if they copy directly from other people’s work and sources that no one will find out.  This assumption is definitely wrong!  Often, the essays they copy are littered with errors, and they don’t take time to check.  Most importantly, plagiarism violates Common Application rules and it’s dishonest.
  • Mistake #8:  Using a thesaurus for too many words.  This mistake can lead to a big awkward tangle of an essay.  Many times if you use a thesaurus and extract overly verbose words, they stick out like sore thumbs in your essay, producing an unnatural flow in your essay.
  • Mistake #7:  Not streamlining the essay with the application.  Many applicants do not pay attention to the unity of their essay and their actual application.  It is jarring to readers (See: Team-based Approach to Read Applications) to portray a different picture of the student than the application.  This can also happen when you plagiarize; things do not match, and the reader will quickly discredit you.
  • Mistake #6:  Trying to impress the essay readers.  Do not try to impress admissions officers or the admissions committee.  They will be able to sense a pretentious, patronizing or even condescending voice beneath descriptions of seemingly philanthropic contributions, grand earth-shaking events and ontological musings.  Write about what you know and about yourself in a meaningful way.
  • Mistake #5:  Picking an inappropriate topic.  In an attempt to be clever many applicants resort to self-deprecation and end up painting a less flattering image of themselves.  You may think it would be witty to write an essay about your less than perfect grades in high school, but this can be interpreted as not taking responsibility for your actions.
  • Mistake #4:  Making an essay into a resume.  Many times applicants want to impress readers so much that they completely ignore the essay prompt and make the essay into a list of their accomplishments.  Unless this is what they specifically what they asked for, just don’t do it.
  • Mistake #3:  Brownnosing.  If you are sending a school an application, they will simply assume that you want to attend.  You don’t have to “lay it on thick” by lauding their campus and faculty.
  • Mistake #2:  Proofread!  You can not edit your essay too much.  Write several drafts and edit each draft thoroughly for syntax, grammar, spelling, general structure, flow, rhythm, color and voice.   Admissions officers will immediately discredit you for making petty errors that would be easily fixable.
  • Mistake #1:  Not answering the question.  The admissions committee uses certain essay prompts for a specific reason:  They want you to answer it!  So beware of steering away from the point and running off on tangents and irrelevant topics.

Your college essay is the only part of the college application process you have complete control of.  (See:  College Application Essay Tips)  The essay or essays (short answers included) can capture an admissions committee’s imagination and make it want you on its campus.  Missing the opportunity to make this piece of your student profile outstanding is a HUGE mistake.


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors through its admissions affiliate: College Essay Tune Up, review, objectively critique, proofread, and constructively edit college application essays.

BS/MD Programs: Getting In!

Top BS/MD Programs

As an admissions advisor, I have been successfully helping high school students get accepted to BS/MD programs for over 20 years.  Year after year, nervous parents call or e-mail us wanting to know what’s needed for their children to be accepted.  The parents have planned ahead since as far back as middle school (and sometimes even elementary school), reading books, visiting websites, and even e-mailing multiple consultants (including yours truly) to see if they can obtain an ounce of free advice to help their children.

Getting in is not just about:

  • Having a high GPA.
  • Loading up on many AP classes.
  • Getting high SAT or ACT scores.
  • Taking advice from your high school or college counselor.
  • Reading “How To” books or guides on BS MD programs.
  • Shadowing doctors.
  • Starting a philanthropic club or foundation.

There is much more involved in this competitive process.

Firstly, schools want to know, through your essay and recommendations, that you truly desire to be a doctor.  After all, these are very competitive programs and coveted spots.  From my discussions with admissions officers at several of these programs, they can decipher within the first paragraph of the “Why doctor?” essay who does not belong in their program – REJECTION!

Secondly, they certainly will not accept students who sound just like everyone else.  They accept students who stand out and who are unique.  That’s easier said than done when the students and their parents are reading the same material and making the same assumptions to “game” the admissions process.  If parents are all reading the same material, Goggling the same sites, relying on the same resources, they will certainly all sound the same.  When they call our office, parents ( and their children’s profile sound exactly the  same.  As “contrarian admissions specialist”, through hours of talking with my client, I discover and identify some unusual characteristic that will set my client apart from that sameness and get them accepted into BS/MD programs.

Thirdly, BS/MD program admissions officers read between the lines.  After all, they are experts in selectivity!  And in many instances, they may use the team-based approach in reviewing applications.  Ninety-five percent of the applicants are academically qualified.  So the real questions become:  Who is the applicant? What makes them different?  What’s the applicant’s character?  How do they think?   How will they contribute to our college and our program? When my team and I work with our clients, we spend hours reviewing their character and answering the above questions so that they are accepted!

So if your child has great SAT/ACT scores, high GPA, lot’s of AP classes, plays violin, piano, flute; was a member of the local and regional youth orchestra, member of the school marching band or jazz band, received science awards, has an art portfolio, plays tennis, lacrosse, soccer, badminton and was on the swim team, volunteers to help the poor, has an EMT certification, shadowed doctor, authored a paper and started a non-profit, they sound just like every other applicant who is applying to BS/MD programs.

What I do is help our BS/MD program clients find and express their unique qualities in a positive light to insure that they stand out and get ACCEPTED!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, BS/MD Admissions Advisors, help high school students get accepted to BS/MD programs.

What College Athletic Coaches Are Looking For When Recruiting (Part 1)

You’ve been playing your sport for 5-10 years and you want to be recruited or at best recruited and receive that four year athletic scholarship from your top choice college. Don’t sell yourself short. My advice after over 20 years in the college admission business and constantly talking college coaches and Athletic Directors are these points college coaches are looking for:

  1. Ability: Coaches are interested in your abilities and performance in tournaments. A coach has a program in which they have developed an elite team; they want someone willing to fit into that mix. But this is only one part of it. There are great athletes who don’t get recruited.  Many of the best colleges recruit athletes with modest skills.  Sometimes it’s not just having skills but the fact that you are performing your personal best that matters.
  2. Academic Record: In admissions, its admissions officers who have the final word. Grades matter. As a part of the recruitment process coaches will review your transcript like admissions and seek the rigor of your curriculum and your GPA and standardized test scores. Every coach understands the academic statistics that their college’s admission office expects from his or her players individually and as a whole team.  When they decide who to recruit, they are always trying to balance the quality of players with the quality of their academic records. What this means is that after the coach determines your skill level, the better your academic record, the more likely you are to be recruited.  Remember it’s admission departments, not coaches, who admit students.
  3. Passion For the Game and College: No matter what your skill level is, Coaches want to recruit students who have a real passion for playing their game. Coaches work closely with the admissions office and they know that the athletes they recruit hardest are very likely to be admitted. They want to recruit students who are serious about playing on the team and not just using their ability as a “hook” to get in to their school.  Similarly, coaches do not like when they recruit players that choose to go elsewhere.  This also makes them look bad if they pushed hard to get you in and then you don’t come. When coaches interview you, they will always want to know why you want to come to their college rather than another that recruits players with a similar skill level and academic record.

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, Student Athlete Advisors, help student athletes develop a winning game plan to be recruited.

College Application Essay Tips

College admission officers read thousands of essays.  They try to discover the applicant behind the standardized test scores, GPA and letters of recommendations. As experienced readers and judges of character they spend about three to five minutes actually reading.   You, therefore, want your essay to make leap from ‘average’ to “accepted”.

Here is a comment I heard from an admissions officer:  “I read hundreds of college application essays each season.  I know the difference between ‘ho-hum’ and Wow!  We want this student!”

 Here are some times for tips for Writing the College Application Essay 

  1. Don’t Panic. In this part of the college admissions process, but do be prepared with a good topic and concise writing.
  2. Answer the question. Sounds obvious, however, admissions officers we’ve talk with stated that many students don’t answer the questions, especially the short answers. Read the question carefully and answer what they are asking for.
  3. Be Honest. Don’t embellish! This is self explanatory. Admissions officers look for inconsistencies.
  4. Be You. You don’t want to sound “amazingly unique” like everyone else. Write about your passions and achievements and show the admissions officers that you mean it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

When written well, an essay is marketing tool that can help you STAND OUT and give you that added advantage in the competitive college admissions process.


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network. He and his team of admissions advisors through its admissions affiliate: College Essay Tune Up, review, objectively critique, proofread, and constructively edit college application essays.

2017 Best Boarding High Schools in America for College Acceptance

Parents believe that there is no real difference between boarding schools.  Some actually believe that they are all “basically” the same.  That, is however, a myth when it comes to college acceptance to elite colleges.

According to John G. Palfrey (Phillips Exeter ’90), (Harvard College ’94), (Harvard Law ’01) and a former Harvard Law School professor who now serves as the Phillips Andover’s head of school, selective high schools attract potential Harvard students away from their home high schools.

Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools released its latest ranking of the best boarding schools in the US, specifically highlighting the best schools that prepare students for elite colleges.  By elite colleges, I am referring to colleges parents already know about: Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, UPenn,  Cornell, Dartmouth, Stanford, MIT, Duke, and Johns Hopkins.

Here are the best 25 US boarding high schools by rank:

  1. Phillips Academy – Andover, MA
  2. Phillips Exeter Academy – Exeter, NH
  3. St. Paul’s School – Concord, NH
  4. Lawrenceville School – Lawrenceville, NJ
  5. Choate Rosemary Hall – Wallingford, CT
  6. Deerfield Academy – Deerfield, MA
  7. Groton School – Groton, MA
  8. Noble & Greenough School – Dedham, MA
  9. Cranbrook School – Bloomfield Hills, MI
  10. Hotchkiss School – Lakeville, CT
  11. Hockaday School – Dallas, TX
  12. Cate School – Carpinteria, CA
  13. Middlesex School – Concord, MA
  14. Thacher School – Ojai, CA
  15. Milton Academy – Milton, MA
  16. Lake Forest Academy – Lake Forest, IL
  17. St. Albans School – Washington, DC
  18. St. Stephen’s Episcopal School – Austin, TX
  19. Hackley School – Tarrytown, NY
  20. Peddie School – Hightstown, NJ
  21. Kent School – Kent, CT
  22. Emma Willard School – Troy, NY
  23. Taft School – Watertown, CT
  24. Concord Academy – Concord, MA
  25. Madeira School – Mclean, VA

A comprehensive list isn’t publicly available, however, based on our research, Phillips Andover, Phillips Exeter, St. Paul’s, Lawrenceville, Choate and Deerfield all send 25-30 students each year to Ivy League schools over the past five years.

U.S and especially international families prefer their children enroll in schools that provide the best return on investment on (average tuition, room and board is $55,000 per year) — college placement.   “Affluent international parents consider the education of their children as their premier investment.  To international parents, a superior education and a pedigree degree for their child, is worth more than real estate or luxury items.  Education has become the new global currency and path to wealth.  –  Dr. Lowe’s blog:  Intellectual Wealth and Education

Now that you aware of the ranking, the only problem is how to get your child accepted this admissions season!  And that’s where we come in!  The first part of the your admissions plan: avoid common parental mistakes when applying with the help of a professional who knows where the “rejection” land mines are in the application process….and there are many!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s Private School Admissions Advisors.   Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and day schools.  Dr. Lowe also helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into their top choice private schools after they have been wait-listed and rejected.

Common Mistakes Parents Make When Applying to Private Schools


My team and I personally work with U.S. as well as international families (who reside in the U.S. or are abroad) during the private school application admissions process.  We have worked with families from over 130 different countries and on all seven continents. My firm works with families who are interested in top day and boarding schools primarily on the east and west coast.

Year after year, I hear about the number of mistakes that parents make during the admissions process.  I hear about these mistakes from parents whose children were rejected and waitlisted from schools and wish to engage our services. I thought I would share what I believe to be five frequent, significant mistakes.

  1. Assuming that it’s all about your connections. Many parents assume that admissions into competitive schools are about connections.  Parents often ask me if they should have their friends, neighbors and/or colleagues who have a relationship with a private school write a recommendation letter for their child. As I always state to parents: everyone has connections.  Schools are also aware that parents try to leverage their perceived connections.  But the truth of this matter is those connections do not always result in connecting your child to receive an acceptance letter.  The letters of recommendation should be meaningful and demonstrate that the recommender knows your child well.  In my experience, I have read letters of recommendations that parents perceive to be excellent when in fact they contain damaging information that will certainly cause rejections.
  2. Not preparing for the parental and student interviews. Being thorough and picky about a private school choice is extremely important.  But one thing is certain; top private schools will be equally as picky when choosing your child to be a member of their prestigious community.  Is your child ready to answer any and all of the private school interview questions?  In addition, admissions officers are proficient in observing non-verbal cues and evaluating character attributes that communicate true student feelings and whether parents complement a school’s educational philosophy. Though the private school exam results are very important in the admission’s process, the interview is another hurdle, set to be more selective. The admissions committee is going to judge your child (and parents) based on the way they answer their questions. I personally conduct in-depth, multiple interview-preparation sessions with my clients.
  3. ProcrastinationIdeally parents should start researching and visiting schools at least a year before they plan to apply. The private school admissions process is competitive and it takes time to research schools and determine which schools are appropriate for your child. I often see my clients’ peers beginning the process late in the game. These families usually do not have a good admissions outcome – the child is rejected.  I work with many international families who are quite accustomed to competitive private school placement. Together, we start to plan admissions strategies a year in advance.  The result of this strategy: this year, all of my clients (both international and U.S.) were accepted into their top choice schools.
  4. Parental Hubris. Many parents may assume that their skill sets, professional title or socio-economic status will be the ticket for their child to be accepted to the school of their choice.  Simply put, schools are accepting the entire family. They carefully take into consideration parental behavior at interviews and throughout the admissions process when considering a child as a part of their community.  Parents, if you think that only your child needs to prepare for the admissions process, THINK AGAIN.  You have just as much homework as your child does. Top private schools take the whole family into consideration when they are making their decisions.  Schools interview parents because of the crucial role they play in their child’s experience at school.  They also want to know that you are applying for the right reasons, share their educational philosophy and will carry it over at home. 
  5. Not Seeking Professional Advice:  Private school admissions and placement is no longer about just developing a spreadsheet, visiting schools, filling out applications and hoping for the best.  Professional admissions advisors regularly visit schools to gain first hand knowledge, insight and experience of each school’s unique perspective, workings and admissions policies.  Once settled on a school or school list, an admissions advisor can aid families in building an admissions plan to follow so that no piece of the admission process suffers from short shrift or omission. Professional admissions advisors can also help a family manage the application process and prepare for school interviews.  With regard to the competitive admissions process to top private schools, like a professional Olympic coach, a professional admissions advisor provides that competitive edge.

It’s better to avoid mistakes early and during the admissions process than end up having multiple rejections and huge disappointments later!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s Private School Admissions Advisors.   Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and day schools.  Dr. Lowe also helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into their top choice private schools after they have been wait-listed and rejected.


Colleges Use a Team-based Approach to Read Applications

As more and more top students apply for coveted spots at Ivy League and highly competitive schools, several of these schools have developed a new team-based approach to efficiently analyze and evaluate each applicant. Rather than work alone, each to a recruitment territory, admissions officers are now reading in pairs.  They discuss and rate each applicant according to specific criteria, mission of the college and recommend a decision (reject or accept) and type notes into a system as they simultaneously discuss the applicant simultaneously reviewing each application on separate screens.  The new approach, initially developed by University of Pennsylvania.

In this new model, one reader assesses the applicant’s academic credentials, reviewing transcripts, test scores, recommendations and course load and the other reader focuses on the student’s voice: essays, interviews and talents. This new evaluative approach allows the admissions officer pairs to have an in depth conversation about each applicant and render efficient decisions and allows the admissions offices to review thousands of applications efficiently.

I have always emphasized to my clients that admissions officers review everything.  Now, they are having a conversation about applicants as they read their applications!


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs.  Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been deferred, wait-listed and rejected.

As an experienced and trusted admissions advisor for over 20 years, Dr. Paul R. Lowe is an active member of the following organizations that uphold the ethical and professional standards and principles of good admission practices in college and independent school counseling: Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) and International Association for College Admissions Counseling (IACAC).