2018 Summer Checklist for Rising Seniors

college planning checklist

Summer started a week ago.  For rising seniors, this should not really be a summer break.  There is lots to during the college admissions process.

Here is a concise list of my recommendations:

  1. Work, volunteer, attend programs—your choice. What you do matters less than how your activities fit into the bigger picture of who you are.
  2. Continue to explore colleges and to fine-tune your college list.
  3. Review the admissions requirements for each college on your list.
  4. If you are applying to BS/MD programs, you should be planning to visit your target schools for a second time.
  5. Consider seeking interviews at colleges that offer them.
  6. Fill out the Common Application and begin drafting your main Common App essay.
  7. Review your Common App short answer essays.
  8. Decide whom you will ask for letters of recommendation.
  9. Review your social media profile to ensure that it is admission-ready.
  10. Make a list of fall deadlines and refer back to it often.

If you are applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges be aware that “It’s Getting Tougher To Get Into the Ivies” and you need to develop a “Personal WOW-Factor” so that you can stand out amongst the thousands of other qualified and admissible applicants.

Just note as you are preparing for the last rung of your college admissions journey: A recent study showed 26% of high-achieving students used a private college admissions consultant to assist them with their college admissions process.  Additional research has indicated that many international students, who applied to Ivy League and top-tier colleges and who were accepted, hired admissions advisors.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

 

5 Things That Top U.S. Boarding Schools Have in Common

Throughout the years, my team and I continually visit top U.S. boarding schools.  We meet and maintain longstanding relationships with admissions directors, enrollment directors, heads of schools and administrators to gather real-time information, perform research and gain insider-insight and knowledge about the admissions policies and mission of the schools.

Here are 5 things that we find that are common among top U.S. boarding schools:

  • College Admissions placement:  They send lots of students off to the Ivy League  and highly selective colleges!  Let’s just consider Andover: For the past three years, more than 20 Andover students have gotten into each of the following top schools: Brown University, Columbia University, Harvard University, MIT, Princeton University, Stanford University, and Yale University.
  • Facilities:  These schools build, renovate, and maintain facilities that by their very design encourage community, foster collaboration, and facilitate the powerful mentoring—in the dorm and across campus—characteristic of top schools
  • Academics:  These schools possess outstanding traditions of academic supremacy, and are built on educational models of diverse curricula.  The academics are designed to inspire student intellectual development through collaboration.
  • Small Classes:  These schools assign on average about 9.8 students to each teacher, thus guaranteeing the individual attention each child needs to thrive intellectually, socially and emotionally.  Small class sizes encourage meaningful interaction, as well as learning that extends beyond the classrooms in activities and sports.
  • Culture:  Each school has its own distinctive and unique culture, however, in general, all of the cultures are scholarly, resourceful and develop student character  student knowledge, confidence, and resilience in meaningful ways.  The students at these schools are encouraged to express themselves and to strive for their personal excellence intellectually, artistically, and athletically.  It’s no wonder many of these students are accepted into Ivy League and highly competitive colleges and some become future business, political, art, science, technology and entrepreneurial leaders who participate in a global network of top boarding school alumni.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe.

Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s  Boarding School Admissions Consultants.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. boarding schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.

Heads Up! The College Admissions Process is Shifting Focus

Recently, we’ve been receiving many calls from very anxious parents about milestone changes in college admissions policies.  Several top colleges have acknowledged changes, including Carnegie Mellon and University of Chicago that will affect rising seniors (Class of 2023)

The University of Chicago dropped an admissions requirement for students to submit either the SAT or ACT test scores becoming SAT/ACT optional.    James G. Nondorf, Dof admissions and vice president of enrollment and student advancement stated,   “We want to remove any policy or program that we have that advantages one group over the other”.

Carnegie Mellon University eliminated so-called “demonstrated interest”.  CMU prominently states, “The mission of Carnegie Mellon University includes the cultivation of a diverse community”  It further states: “…Our undergraduate admission process is shifting to focus more on diversity and inclusion of all populations by reducing or eliminating advantages that have been inherent in certain aspects of the admission process. The goal is to provide a more equitable, level playing field where all segments of our applicant population have the same opportunity in the admission process. We’re eliminating demonstrated interest as a consideration in our admission paradigm. See Carnegie Mellon University’s Statement.

What does this mean for applicants?:

  1. The college admissions landscape is changing.
  2. Colleges admissions officers are considering diversity in admissions – they want a diverse incoming class
  3. Top Colleges Enhance Efforts To Enroll Low-Income Students

What this really means is that top colleges are shifting more to a holistic admissions process, are becoming more inclusive and recognizing that each accepted student brings unique qualities to the university setting.  The college admissions process is shifting more toward evaluating a student’s character (College Admissions: How will Character be Assessed) and what they can meaningfully contribute to university community.  They are spending more time reviewing students under a microscope and appreciating the fact that some applicants are disadvantaged during the application process. As a result the admissions process to the Ivies and highly selective schools is becoming hrpercompetitive and and more non-formulaic!

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

2018 Top U.S. Boarding Schools

Niche, a company that researches and compiles information on schools released its 2018 ranking of the best boarding schools in the U.S., specifically highlighting the best schools that prepare students for elite colleges.

My team and I have had the opportunity to visit these top boarding schools and I must agree.  These schools have not only great facilities but also excellent and engaged faculty and administrators.  Why do we visit schools?  See my blog: Why Dr. Lowe Visits Private Schools.

Here is the list of 2018 top 25 U.S. 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

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe.

Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s  Boarding School Admissions Consultants.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. boarding schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.   

Need a Successful College Admissions Advisor? Go with a Winner!

Go with the Winner Admissions Expert Dr Paul Lowe

Parents create spread sheets, talk with friends, read books, search websites, form groups to share tips and “sure-fire”methods, try to “chat” with admissions industry personnel, obtain letters of support from VIPs, take copious notes during college tours, and try to gather information from my workshops.  For some parents, they discover, when it is too late, that what is really required to help their child with the hyper-competitive college admissions process is to work with an admissions expert with a successful track record.

U.S. parents are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of having a college admissions advisor.  The data for that need is clear.  For international families, securing expert advice is the standard.  A recent study showed 26% of high-achieving students used a private college admissions consultant to assist them with their college admissions process.  Additional research has indicated that many international students, who applied to Ivy League and top-tier colleges and who were accepted, hired admissions advisors.  If you have joined the ranks of those parents who choose to utilize an admissions advisor to help your child with the college admissions process – Go with a winner!

A successful record in college admissions is not achieved by chance or luck.  I treat the college admissions process as a competitive sport so that your child can win.  As a successful college admissions advisor, I apply my special “coaching” skills to help my clients successfully achieve their college admissions goals – ACCEPTANCE LETTERS:

  • Leadership:  The goal of great coaching is to guide, inspire and empower an athlete or team to achieve their full potential.  A great coach, thus, should also be an exceptional leader.  A leader has the ability to unify a group of players and make them committed to a single purpose.
  • Knowledge:  A great coach should have in-depth knowledge of the sport they are coaching.  This does not necessarily have to come from personal experience, but a coach needs to have an understanding of the fundamental skills to advanced tactics and strategies involved in an “admissions game”.
  • Motivation:  As a coach, I convey passion to my “players”, to inspire them to get the most out of their performance.  As a successful coach, I possess a positive attitude and enthusiasm for the admissions game and the “players” that in turn inspires them to excel.
  • Tough and firm:  As a coach, I know when to be firm and tough. This means having the experience to identifying periods during the admissions process when students will under-perform and encouraging them to move forward in a positive manner.  It means sticking to creating and communicating clear expectations, putting the student on an admissions plan and keeping them on task. It means being consistent and lots of follow up.
  • Flexibility/Adjustable:  I adjust our admissions strategies to the personality and behavior of the individual student and the timeline of the admissions process.  I am cognizant of the fact that students will make mistakes, sometimes repeatedly and adjust our strategies accordingly to achieve admissions success.
  • Understanding & Knowing:  A key to successful admissions advising is being aware of the individual differences in your students. There are some coaching tactics that work better on different personality types so it is important to tailor communication and motivation based on specific players’ personalities. To achieve this, I pay special attention to a student’s emotions, strengths and weaknesses throughout the admissions process.
  • Effective communication skills:  Needless to say, a great coach will possess exceptional communication skills.  An effective coach is able to set defined goals, express these goals and ideas clearly to students, give direct feedback, reinforce key messages and acknowledge success.  Listening is also a part of effective communication, so as an admissions advisor I have to be a compassionate listener who welcomes student and parent, comments questions and feedback.

The personal college admissions game is not a game of chance.  It is a competition that you can win with the right advice.   Seek out the right admissions advisor.  It is the best way to help your child WIN in this real-life competition.

Blog:  College Admissions is a Competitive Sport – How to Win Your Personal Admissions Game!.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

College Admissions is a Competitive Sport- – How To Win Your Personal Admissions Game!

Many parents, students, guidance counselors, and even my fellow educational consulting colleagues are under the belief that college admissions is an exercise in determining the “right fit” and that gaining acceptance into the Ivies and highly selective colleges is just a game of chance and luck.  I disagree!

In participating in competitions these days, many students (K-12) are taught that everyone wins.  With regard to the college admissions process, it is acceptable and recommended that students believe they will eventually like whichever college where they end up.  That’s called SETTLING!

This statement may appear callous and insensitive.  But it is a statement that addresses the harsh reality of the competitiveness of college admissions.  The sooner one addresses this reality, the easier the college admissions process will seem.  Indeed, this reality would seem less harsh if students were to stop treating the college admissions process as a structured maze to be followed to a definitive end or as a predetermined algorithm.

I approach college admissions as a non-formulaic, competitive sport.  It’s about WINNING the ultimate trophy – acceptance into your top choice college.  After all, students are not taking all those APs, attempting to get perfect SAT scores, requesting seemingly perfect letters of recommendation, and getting A’s to lose!  By definition, you don’t play a competitive sport to lose!

Highly selective schools certainly have their choice of the cream-of-the-crop students as a result of all the applications they receive.  Therefore, the real part of the competition is to understand and recognize how you can stand out and win, especially in applications to the Ivies.

Because college admissions is a competitive sport, we proceed accordingly with our advisory services and prepare our clients as competitive athletes – to win!  We know that successful athletes must cultivate the positive qualities that are necessary to achieve victory-to win.

  • Persistence:  Endure until the end.  Persistence is simply the quality of always continuing to move forward and to continue regardless of perceived or real setbacks and challenges.  We cultivate our clients’ positive aspirations by encouraging persistent determination.
  • Have a positive mindset:  Being positive is an integral and intrinsic aspect of having the right winning mindset.  We constantly help our clients maintain a positive mindset to win!
  • Self-Confidence:  Really successful athletes are secure in their ability to play their best game.  We believe that qualified students should project themselves as successful athletes with inner confidence through their body language in a positive manner, a sort of positive posture.   We encourage our clients convey energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude in communicating their achievements to key admissions officers and admissions committees.
  • Humility:  Ego (parental and student) is one of the largest reasons why qualified applicants are rejected. I recall and Ivy League officer stating that when reading many students’ applications: “these students think they are all that”.  If you practice humility, you will become an internally motivated person.  You will seek to achieve and improve yourself not for external validation, but to satisfy your own desire to keep growing as an athlete and a person.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice:  Practice deliberately with a purpose. Ultra-successful athletes reach their success by practicing with a deliberate purpose. They understand that in order to perform a skill at the highest level, they must practice it until they master it.  Successful athletes waste no time getting right into their routine and practice with mindfulness.  They don’t zone out or go through the motions.  Instead, successful athletes focus on the mechanics, feel, vibe and repetition of developing new skills in order to become an elite athlete.  We encourage and motivate our clients to constantly practice with a purpose.
  • Rhythm:  Rhythm is defined as the expression of timing, and its practicality in sports is vast.  Linear speed requires a well-timed sequence of (rhythmic) contralateral action.  Any delays or errors in this timing can drastically limit velocity of movement.  Rhythm plays a significant role in an athlete’s ability to successfully change direction fluidly and in time with extraneous factors such as teammates, opponents and apparatus (i.e. ball etc.).  Rhythm is a singular characteristic within the broader scope of coordination.  As a jazz harmonicist and banjoist (and physicist) who applies African Drumming, Blues, R&B, Calypso, Reggae, Funk, Hip Hop, Go-Go Swing, I naturally apply the use of rhythm to the competitive college admissions and application process.  It helps our clients adapt in an improvisational, non-linear and harmonic way to the nuances and changes in their college admissions journey and ultimately gets them accepted into their top choice colleges.

As a successful college admissions advisor, I apply my special “athletic coaching” skills and “rhythmic” musical strategies to help my clients successfully achieve their college admissions goals: ACCEPTANCE LETTERS.  Our strategic vision allows us to create, design and develop a compelling, authentic and distinctive personal brand for each of our clients.  This vision elevates and differentiates our clients in the competitive admissions environment so that they become WINNERS and are accepted into their top-choice schools.

“Admissions is a competitive sport!  Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions AdvisorsSummer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.