Dr. Paul Lowe was invited to speak at 99 Hudson Sales Gallery on “How to Choose the Right Education for Your Child”. His seminar focused on early childhood education through high school and primarily on top/elite private school and Ivy League and highly selective college admissions. 99 Hudson Street is a premier luxury condominium complex scheduled to be completed in December 2019, developed by the world-renowned investment and development firm China Overseas America, Inc. and designed by the highly acclaimed multi-national architecture firm Perkins Eastman.
Model of 99 Hudson
Located in Jersey City and New Jersey’s soon-to-be-tallest tower, 99 Hudson is just a four-minute PATH train ride away from the World Trade Center and also accessible to Manhattan by light rail and ferry. The China Overseas America-developed condo building will eventually soar to 887 feet with a total of 781 units. Sales for available units range in price from $557,000 to over $3,764,000.
Edwin Blanco, the Sales Manager at 99 Hudson stated, “Being the tallest building in New Jersey, 99 Hudson’s Penthouses offer 180-degree views including One World Trade, Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Remaining Penthouses offer at least 2300 square feet of interior space and up to 1,167 square feet of private outdoor space.”
Dr. Lowe with Edwin Blanco, Sales Manager at 99 Hudson and seminar moderator.
View from one of the penthouses at 99 Hudson
View from one of the penthouses at 99 Hudson
The interaction between Dr. Lowe and the participants at the presentation proved to be very informative. Expect the residents of this new luxury complex to take advantage of all the great educational resources that New Jersey has to offer.
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
Over 20 years being an admissions advisor, I receive calls from parents to retain our services for college admissions. All of their children have guidance counselors and many are from suburban public schools in the NJ, CT NY RI and MA. Students were applying to range of universities and BS/MD programs.
Because of the increasing competition to get into top colleges, many families feel overwhelmed and stressed by the college admissions process. Moreover, the process can seem so complex that families may want the assistance, resources and knowledge of an expert who focuses solely on the college admissions process and who spends more time and individualized attention than guidance counselors can provide. Many parents and students discover too late (their children receive rejection letters) in the college admissions process that they should have hired a college admissions expert.
With the heavy workload of most high school counselors, few know their students well or have the time to provide personalized attention needed in this vital process. Public school systems burden counselors with many duties unrelated to college counseling including but not limited to, testing, scheduling, crisis counseling, social/emotional counseling, occupational counseling/job placement, etc.
Consider the results of studies and sources summarized below:
In a February 2015, in an op-ed piece in USA Today, former First Lady Michelle Obama, wrote eloquently: “There’s the world of the schools most of our kids attend where school counselors are too often under-valued and overstretched, and they simply don’t have what they need to do their jobs. While the American School Counselor Association recommends no more than 250 students per counselor, the national average is one counselor for every 471 students. And often, school counselors are burdened with all kinds of unrelated responsibilities such as proctoring exams, substitute teaching, even monitoring the lunchroom. Many school counselors find themselves doing triage, juggling those duties while trying to help kids in crisis and also keep up with the latest college admissions deadlines and requirements.”
The National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2018 State of College Admissions reported that on average, public high school guidance counselors spend only 21 percent of their time on college admissions counseling. High school guidance counselors spend the majority of their time on school activities unrelated to college admissions.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey indicated that high school guidance counselors have an average caseload of 195 to as high as 708 students making them unable to provide adequate college guidance.
A National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) 2012 annual survey of school counselors also indicated that regardless of staffing, no counselor reported sufficient training in any of the areas related to college counseling.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) compiled a report that indicated that school counselors currently serve an average of 482 students, a caseload nearly twice the recommended maximum of 250.
The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) stated: “An educational consultant brings to the family the knowledge and skills of an experienced professional coupled with a commitment to assuring the [student’s] best interests are met. Educational consultants counsel students and their families in the selection of educational programs based on the student’s individual needs and talents.”
Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization a survey that indicated that most people who graduated from high school in the past dozen years say their counselors provided little meaningful advice about college and nearly half said that their counselors made them fell “like I was just another face in the crowd”.
The Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) stated: “A professional educational consultant works one-on-one with each student, helping to identify colleges and universities that offer the best matches for the student’s unique needs, and keeping the student on track through every phase of the college application process.”
“Top qualified applicants, after all their hard work (and parents’ work) and preparation deserve the best and should not settle for less” – Dr. Paul Lowe
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
High School Seniors are receiving their College Admissions Early Decision/Early Action results. The results are producing a mixture of palpable emotions. While some happy students settle in for the holidays with their acceptance letters in hand, others will be disappointed and distressed in discovering that they have been deferred to theregular decision pool, or worse, rejected by the college or university (after all of their hard work). For those who are deferred, their applications will be re-considered along with the thousands of Regular Decision applicants. In the Regular Decision pool, the selection process becomes even more competitive and selective.
Many students try the strategy of applying to what they perceived to be safety schools because they think the school will likely accept them early, only to discover that they are also deferred or rejected. In either case, whether deferred or rejected, SOMETHING WENT WRONG! The problem is that the application errors that caused the rejection or deferral, if not discovered, will continue without rectification to the regular decision pool and result in multiple rejections. When I mention this to parents who call us and many don’t believe me, I usually hear the horrific stories about their children being rejected from everyone of their top-choice schools and even perceived safety schools!
With only a few weeks left in the application season, I recommend that students scrupulously reevaluate their deferred or rejected early decision/early action application and carefully plan a workable strategy in this crunch-time. You may need to hire an educational consultant who is an expert in post-decision admissions advising.
For parents who engage our services after the disheartening news of deferral or rejection, I use our post-decision strategies. I discover what the student did to be rejected or deferred, build upon their current student profile and accomplishments and re-energize their application so that they are removed from the deferred list and placed on the accepted list.
Additionally, I assess the student’s Regular Decision applications (due by January 1) to identify mistakes on their Early Decision/Action application so that their mistakes do not become viral and affect the student’s Regular Decision applications. The worst thing a student can do is nothing. The worst thing parents can do is to try this post-decision process on their own.
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
This time of the year, my firm is receiving calls from parents and students regarding college transfers. Students who have completed their first semester freshman year (or some who are now sophomores) and have decided that for several reasons, they need to transfer!
Why do students choose to transfer?
Did not do very well in high school and did not have many options when they applied to colleges.
Unhappy at their current college.
Unsuccessful at their current college.
Socially not connected to their current college.
Interested in an upgrade to a more prestigious college.
College Transfer Applications Requirements
The 2018-2019 Common App essay prompt for the Transfer application: “Please provide a statement that addresses your reasons for transferring and the objectives you hope to achieve.”
Common Application (transfer) has changed: With the new Common App for Transfer, the essay has moved from the “common” portion of the Common App. In order to allow each college to choose whether or not to ask the essay question, the essay is now located in the Program Materials section for that college. As a result, some colleges choose to not ask the Common App personal essay question, so it may not be available for those colleges. Also, colleges may choose to ask other essay questions in addition to, or in lieu of, the personal essay. This makes it somewhat more difficult to navigate the college transfer application.
School requirements: high school transcripts, college transcripts and college reports (filled out by a college official to verify that you are in good academic standing and social standing – have not gotten into trouble or have been placed on academic probation).
Supporting documents: include letters of recommendations, resumes, mid-year reports and or secondary school final reports and standardized testing results
We have worked with a range of students who have desired to transfer:
Students who were rejected from Ivy Leagues and highly competitive colleges and choose to reapply in their freshman year to Ivy League schools and highly competitive colleges.
Students who were unhappy with their currents colleges because of the location.
Students who were placed on academic probation and wish to transfer.
International students who wish to transfer from their current foreign college to Ivy League and highly selective colleges.
Students who were rejected when they applied to freshman year, were rejected again when they attempted to transfer while in college and who were attempting to reapply to transfer for the third time.
In all cases, developing a meaningful student profile, with supportive documents, and convincing essays was important for our success in student transfers. It’s important that parents understand that transfer admissions (especially to the Ivies and top-tier colleges) is even more competitive and involves even more diplomacy and strategies than traditional college admissions!
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe.
It’s the 2018-2019 Early Decision and Early Action season! Applicants have already submitted their applications! Some applicants are having their alumni interviews! Competition to Ivy League and highly selective college remain high. Therefore, expect many applicants with high SAT/ACT scores, high grades and seemly perfect applications and personal statements to be rejected or deferred to the regular decision pool. Several of our clients who are student-athletes have already received their acceptances!
Here are some early decision and early action notification dates for Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities:
I have been an admissions advisor with specializing in BS/MD admissions for over 20 years. Many parents call my firm often shopping for free advice in the attempt to see if they can garner information. The parents who retain us know that valuable advice is not free! They also are aware that by hiring our personalized services their children will have a competitive advantage in the BS/MD admissions process. When our clients are accepted into BS/MD programs and their classmates are not, it speaks volumes to our firms collective knowledge insight and understanding of the “landmines” in the application process. Our client-parents are happy and overjoyed when they know that after years of hard work their children can be called “Dr.” as high school seniors!
There are actually 4 reasons why our clients have a competitive edge and we have a very high acceptance rate.
When we are finished with counseling our clients they stand out and don’t sound like the typical BS/MD applicant: high GPA’s, high SAT scores, scientific ad medical research, shadowed doctors, seemingly great letter of recommendations, expensive summer programs, “voluntouring” and boring. We develop our clients’ unique rhythm, vibe and voice.
Many parents wait and call us when the student is a high school senior. I guess it’s their attempt to bargain hunt? By then, the student already sounds just like every one else and have made all the irrevocable mistakes. There is nothing we can do for them at that point. It’s just too late. The damage has already been done. By then, we can not change the imperfections that will appear on their Common Applications. Our clients retain us between their child’s freshman and junior year.
Many parents retain educational consultants who are part-timers in BS/MD admissions (doctors-in-training) or who never continually visit colleges and universities BS/MD programs. My team and I continually visit colleges and universities.
We know how to avoid the application mistakes that can cause a BS/MD applicant to be instantly rejected. Trust me, there are hundreds of opportunities to make mistakes!
Over the last 2 years, I have had a 55% increase in Chinese clients who have hired our services specifically for Ivy League admissions. Each year, we place on average 20 Chinese clients in Ivy League and highly selective U.S. colleges and universities. Last year, we placed 45 Chinese students into Ivy League and highly selective U.S. colleges and universities.
Chinese students are attending U.S. colleges and universities in record numbers. Demand for Ivy League and highly selective universities such as Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Chicago, Duke, University of Michigan, Tufts, Swarthmore, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, Georgetown, Barnard, Villanova, etc., is increasing exponentially.
By Chinese, I mean students from mainland China who attend high schools in China, private boarding and day schools in the U.S., Canada, UK, Italy, Singapore, Australia, all parts of the world and those who attend public schools in the U.S. Even when attending elite U.S. boarding schools where they have college counselors, the parents (or students) call us to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the college admission process to achieve the dream of an Ivy League education.
Parents all over China have the same dream. They want their children to have the best education for a better future. For Chinese parents, the benefits and the biggest advantages of an Ivy League education are undoubted and obvious – better employment opportunities, easier access to high-profile jobs, networking benefits and connections needed to start a global business. Most importantly, an Ivy League education adds transferable financial value to be utilized over their children’s lifetime on a global scale.
For Chinese parents, the choice of an Ivy League education for their child (almost always their only child) is considered a worthy financial investment, a shrewd political maneuver, and a satisfying personal sacrifice. They are appreciative of the chance for a greater opportunity for their children to study abroad in the U.S. Four years of an elite U.S. private college/university education can cost around $250,000, a considerable sum for American families, and even more so for a family from China, where average wealth is about one fifth that in the U.S. It is interesting and understandable that they are willing to make sacrifices for this pedigree degree that opens doors!
We work with many wealthy Chinese families who feel that sending a child to an elite Western university is a way of signaling status and prestige – yet “another luxury brand purchase”. For wealthy families seeking a safe haven for their assets – by one estimate more than $1 trillion in capital left China in 2015 – a U.S. college education for a child can serve as a first step towards addressing capital flight, foreign investment and even eventual emigration.
A HSBC (Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation) survey indicated that 80% of affluent families in China plan to send their children to study overseas. From 2009 to 2011, the number of Asian students studying in the US has increased by 40%. President Trump and former President Obama may have different political and economic views but they both agree that the U.S. has the best universities in the world! The U.S. is now the primary destination for Asian students. China is the number one source of international students. Many of the children of the Chinese economic and political elite desire Ivy League degrees. President Xi Jinping’s daughter is a Harvard grad.
Since 1999, China was the second leading place of origin for international students at Harvard, trailing only Canada. Its student numbers steadily increased to lead Harvard’s international enrollment since the last academic year, with 686 students currently enrolled (nearly 16% of the international student body). China similarly dominates international enrollment at other Ivy League schools, including Yale and Princeton. According to the Hurun Report (a research, media and investments business best known for its “Hurun China Rich List” a ranking of the wealthiest individuals in China), Harvard, Yale and Princeton are the biggest attractions for Chinese millionaires.
In March 2018, research from Hurun found China minted 206 billionaires in the last year, taking the country’s total to 819 billionaires, 40% more billionaires than in the US. Chinese billionaires are pulling away from the US for the third year running on the “Hurun Global Rich List 2018”. There are 819 Chinese billionaires in 2018 compared with 571 in the US. Just two years ago, they were neck and neck at 534 and 535. A recent Hurun annual survey of China’s elite has confirmed that 80% of the country’s wealthy families plan to send their children abroad for education.
It would seem that as long as Ivy League colleges and universities exist, wealthy and middle-class Chinese families will want their children to obtain the rare luxury brand of the unique experience of a valuable education. My team and I are here to help!
The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Ranking 2019 was just released. Harvard is number one again. Of the top ten schools, six are Ivy League universities. The only ones missing in the top ten are Dartmouth College and Cornell University. Brown University is the only newcomer to the list. With their rarefied, global social alumni networks, door-opening reputations, and superior academics, it isn’t surprising that the schools mentioned are all brand-name institutions.
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 U.S. College ranking is also partly based on the results of the Times Higher Education US Student Survey, which gathered the views of about 200,000 current university students in 2017 and 2018 to find out about their engagement with their studies, their interaction with their teachers and their satisfaction with their experience.
My team and I personally visit top colleges three times annually to understand each of their ever changing and unique admissions policies as well as the campus environment. As a result, we garner insider-knowledge to help our clients achieve admissions success. (Why Dr. Paul Lowe Visits College Campuses). This ranking is very accurate!
THE TOP TEN: Schools that achieved the highest overall scores in the ranking:
Year after year, my team and I spend at least 25 percent of our time visiting 100 or more colleges and universities throughout the US. As a result, we get to meet admissions personnel, administrators, faculty, college athletic coaches and directors, students and get to know what’s happening on campuses — real time.
During our visits, we also get a chance to talk with admissions officers and directors to see what’s really happening on campuses as it relates to admissions, enrollment, locally, internationally and geopolitically.
We see and experience the actual rather than the theoretical. Our knowledge of schools is not based on virtual tours, books, videos, general information found on the internet or secondary sources, but on these continual visits and knowledge-networks, professional relationships and connections that we have developed through our visits.
By visiting colleges, we understand their individual missions, philosophies, admissions policies and essentially what they are seeking in applicants for admissions. These visits provide me with knowledge beyond the scope of what parents are attempting to understand in the “admissions game”, and data that overwhelmed public school guidance counselors and even elite private school college counselors give to their students.
A campus visit allows me to personally experience the trip involved to get to the school, the people who are there, and the actual learning environment on campus. Seeing the dorms and dorm rooms, tasting the food, walking the campus—all these elements are critical to understanding if a client will actually be happy once he/she is a student there.
Our college visits keep us abreast of the constant changes in each college and provides us with insider-knowledge and understanding to develop individualized admissions strategies for clients.
The Common Application 2018-2019 was launched 10 days ago and we are now receiving calls from very anxious and stressed parents because their children (rising seniors) just started the preliminary portions of the Common Application.
The Common App is more than just the main essay! Every section is devised so that the admissions officers get to know (or find ways to reject) a student. Statistically, it takes top colleges approximately 8 minutes to review an entire application!
We spend countless hours reviewing our clients’ entire Common Application to help them successfully navigate and avoid the unnecessary and devastating landmines that cause rejections!
Biographical Section (Profile, Family, Educational & Testing): The admissions committees or your regional admissions officers assess who you are. It’s important to answer the questions honestly and with precision!
Personal Statement: We ensure that our clients’ Common App 650-word main essay accurately reflects the information that they want to convey to the majority of colleges to which they are applying. See Our blog: College Application Essay Prompts 2018-2019
College-Specific Questions: Academic interest, program(s) applying to. Some colleges may also ask additional questions about your family, state of residence, activities, and general interests. Admissions officers/committees use this as a way further understand a student’s past and their academic goals and objectives and how they are all interrelated and interconnected.
Short Answers: Then there are the school-specific (short answer essays)! Although short, these little essays (50-250 words) can play a meaningful role in your application. They provides a small window into your passions and personality, and because of this, they are important “decision-breakers”, especially with selective colleges that use the holistic admissions approach. We spend just as much time brainstorming and helping our clients to revise these, seemingly simple essays, as we do with their personal statements because we know how admissions committees use them to determine acceptance or rejections. Types of supplemental short essays include but are not limited to:
The ‘why us’ essay
Tell us more about an extracurricular
Design a class/a major
Tell us about your major
Specialty small essays (list, words or one sentence or a phrase)
Activities Section: Whereas the personal statement will show college admissions committees who your child is, the Common Application Activities section will allow colleges to understand what your child hasdone and is doing outside of the classroom, offering one of the best opportunities to stand out among other applicants. The activities section has a limit of ten extracurricular activities. The restrictions mean you will need to be selective in reporting your activities, limiting you to the most important ones or those that are most meaningful to you. In our experience, students can make costly mistakes in this section!
Without college essays and extracurricular activities lists, colleges would be limited to grades, class rank, and ACT and SAT scores to make their admissions decisions. Given that so many students with strong numbers apply to college each year, it’s important for your child to use the Activities section to develop an application theme, that is, their “WOW FACTOR” and specialties. We leave no stone unturned in this section!
Courses & Grades (Self-Reporting Transcripts). In this section, you have an opportunity to self-report your grades. In reviewing our clients’ answers, we find errors. It’s important to review this section. A discrepancy with what you report and your transcript raises a red flag! These flags translate into a rejection letter.
The Common Application is not just an application. It’s a puzzle filled with landmines that if not reviewed, interpreted and completed correctly will result in students being rejected from schools. When assisting our clients with the completion of their Common applications, we take into consideration their student admissions profile and character as well as the specific admissions policies and missions of their target schools that we gather from our research by visiting schools and professional relationships. Our wealth of insider-knowledge helps our clients to WIN (not lose) in the college competitive admissions game!