Private School Admissions: My Child Was Not Accepted


You were certain that your son would be accepted.  He had excellent grades.  He played on a great sports team. His SSAT scores were off the charts. You made sure that his school principal knew him. The Math and English teacher recommendations were amazing (you even had a parent of a student at your target school write a recommendation). You thought that your top-choice school board member’s recommendation would help. You thought that you wrote excellent parent statements and thought that his student statements were great.  The campus visit and the admissions interview, in your opinion, were also great.

However, when you gazed at your cell phone you discovered, to your surprise, that the school(s) didn’t accept your child.  WHAT HAPPENED? Where did you go wrong? What do you do now?

As a private school admissions advisor, I am now receiving calls and emails from anxious and nervous parents who thought they did everything right.

If your child was REJECTED (or WAIT-LISTED, which means that “we love your child, but we don’t have spot available today, tomorrow or perhaps NEVER”), what can you do at this stage in the process?  SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT!

From my observation, there are six crucial potential missteps during the private school application process: (1) Parents assume that it’s all about connections.  (2) Parents and students don’t prepare enough for the interviews.  (3) Parents start too late in the admissions planning process.  (4) Parents assume that their skill sets and/or titles give them an admissions edge.  (5) Parents and students listen to incorrect advice from chat rooms, online communities and friends.  (6) Parents make the mistake of retaining an inexperienced educational consultant who is not versed in the admissions policies, diplomacy and politics of top boarding school admissions or does not even continually visit schools and know directors of admissions.

What’s my recommendation: You should now hire an expert who understands the off-waitlist process as well as the reapplication process.  It’s important to know, especially for top and elite day and boarding schools, that admissions officers review all the data, appreciate transparency and are experts in their fields.

Many parents also believe that private school admissions officers/committees focus primarily on tangible factors that are measurable and quantifiable.  The reality is that admissions officers’ emotions, feelings and value judgement play a significant role in admissions decisions.

When I work with my clients, I ensure that they are protected from the uncertainties and the unexpected in admissions. I physically visit schools and actively interact with school admissions personnel, senior administrators and therefore help my clients avoid the irrevocable mistakes that cause rejections or being placed on the “permanent” waitlist.


Dr. Lowe’s Private School Visits: Other independent educational consultants may depend on telephonic interviews, group speed meetings in central locations, or simply read literature and review websites and repeat it to families.  As an admissions expert, I physically visit schools and actively interact with school admissions personnel, senior administrators and students. My clients are, therefore, placed in the most appropriate school for their (and their parents’) happiness.  My approach ensures that your child will be placed in the best and most appropriate top-choice school.  By understanding, analyzing and researching a specific school’s atmosphere, vibe, rhythm, tone, color, experience, culture diversity and mission, my team and I can clearly articulate what differentiates one school from another to consumers/families.

“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, an affiliate of Private School Admissions Advisors.  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.