Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Ranking 2017

College Ranking

The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Ranking 2017 was just released.  The rankings emphasize how well a college will prepare students for life after graduation.  The overall ranking is based on 15 factors across four areas:  Outcomes, Resources, Engagement and Environment.   Each school’s overall score is determined by student outcomes (including a measure of graduate salaries), the school’s academic resources, how well it engages students and from the diversity of the students and staff.

THE TOP TEN:  Schools that achieved the highest overall scores in the ranking:

1.  Harvard

2.  Columbia University

3.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Stanford University

5.  Duke University

6.  Yale University

7.  California Institute of Technology

8.  University of Pennsylvania

9.  Princeton University

10  Cornell University


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. 

College Admissions: The Need to Read

You may ask yourself, why is a college admissions advisor writing about reading?  What does reading have to do with college admissions?  Everything!  One of the first things I ask my clients is what do you like to read outside the required reading at school.  Even the best students have difficulty answering this question.  Why is the need to reed important in the college admissions planning process?  I just provided an example!  There are several other reasons, a few of which are described below.

  1. Common Application supplements, especially ones for the more competitive institutions, ask what types of books have you read or what books influence you. Types of books also demonstrate another character dimension of applicants by which the admissions committee might judge you.  It tells the committee your interests, your passions and most importantly that you are doing something other than the norm, for example, not reading.  Remember, admissions officers read your applications.
  2. Reading helps you to improve your written communication and speech skills. This, of course, will be helpful during college interviews. Remember to use the word “like” as a verb or in a simile, and not as a filler in a spoken sentence.  One admissions officer told me that excessive use of “like” in a conversation is “Valley speak” and sounds cartoonish.   Reading helps you to master the English language, obviating the need to use unnecessary fillers.
  3. Studies show that there is a strong correlation between reading and a student’s ability to grasp math, science and abstract concepts, apply logic in various scenarios, recognize cause and effect, and utilize good judgment. This may translate to better academic performance and even higher standardized test scores.  Most importantly, reading contributes to the possibility of one’s success in all endeavors.
  4. Research has found that when students read extensively they become better writers. Reading a variety of genres helps students learn text structures, language usage and vocabulary that they can then incorporate to their own communication styles.   How does this relate to college admissions?  As you master the English language, you will have less difficulty completing the personal statement and supplemental essays on the Common Application.  You will also express your ideas succinctly, accurately, and convincingly to admissions committees.  When we review our clients’ Common Applications and supplemental essays, we can tell who are the avid bibliophiles.

So as you sea, there is a need to rede. Buy the way, “rede” and “reed” were spelled properly.  They are homonyms of read (four those of ewe who use “spell check” for proofreading yore essays).  Rising seniors, who are filling out their Common Applications, bee careful.

“Reading is to the mind as exercise is to the body.   It is wholesome and bracing for the mind to have its faculties kept on the stretch”…Sir Richard Steele


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. 

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.