Hiring An Educational Consultant: What’s Your Price?

From time to time, parents who inquire about our services first ask:  “What’s your price?” before even asking what we do and our success rate.

It’s obvious from this question that they are shopping for the cheapest price, not the best service.  I imagine that these parents would ask the same question, considering the cheapest price and not quality service, to a pediatric surgeon, a tax attorney, a financial advisor or perhaps a vendor in an open market place.

Fees_value

Hiring an independent private admissions advisor is an academic investment in a child’s future, not an expense – It’s priceless.

If a parent is willing to make the choice to shop for the cheapest price then they should be willing to accept that this choice is the reason why their child was REJECTED from their top choice private/boarding school or college.  Remember the adage: “You get what you pay for”.

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

“We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – 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 College Admissions Landscape Has Changed Again: Adversity Score

The College Board, the New York based nonprofit that oversees the SAT, plans to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT to try to capture their social and economic backgrounds.  This fall, 100 colleges and universities will join the 50 colleges (which include Harvard, Yale, Cornell and University of Michigan) already utilizing this new metric designed to place students’ SAT scores in the context of their socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages.

SAT_test_taking_adversity_score_Dr_Paul_lowe

This adversity score is calculated using 15 environmental factors that influence a student’s home and school life – including the neighborhood’s crime rate and poverty levels, the community’s average educational attainment, housing values, and vacancies. While students won’t see, know or be told their scores, colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications.

What does this mean for rising seniors?  The college admissions landscape has changed again.  Colleges will have an objective tool that will not just consider a student’s race, but their socio-economic class in making admissions decisions.  To be clear, colleges and universities have considered socioeconomic factors previously; but the pilot study of this method using the adversity score has accelerated the inclusion of lower income and minority students.  Admissions will be even more competitive!

Competition_1

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

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!– 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 Advisors.

Dr. Paul Lowe Visits Barnard College

Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors visit Ivy League, prestigious and elite colleges several times annually, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel. 

In May, I visited Barnard College on a beautiful spring day.  Barnard is a small liberal arts college located in the Upper west side, in New York City. It is directly across the street from Columbia University.  I spoke with several students and the  consensus was that Barnard is a tight knit community where most people know others in their class, or at least know who you are.

Dr_Paul_Lowe_Barnard_College_on_Broadway
Dr. Lowe at Barnard College – Broadway main gates.

Barnard is the best of both worlds; it has a small college feeling, but is also within a large university.

Dr_Lowe_Barnard_College_Greek_Games_Statue
Dr. Lowe within Barnard College campus – Barnard Greek Games statue

I consider Barnard the ninth Ivy League.  Barnard College graduates receive Columbia University degrees!  Year after year, we have clients who have been accepted to Barnard.  I met 3 of my clients who are currently students at Barnard.  They just love it!

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 Advisors.

10 Best Colleges in New Jersey in 2018

I visit several New Jersey colleges and universities annually.  There is a perfect college or university in New Jersey for all those seeking to further their academic careers.  I find that they are diverse in nature based on academic rigor, campus size and admissions policies.

Each year, Money magazine ranks college and universities.  Money ranked 727 of the best colleges based on quality of education, affordability and outcomes. And while the usual elite, highly selective institutions topped the list, 21 New Jersey colleges made the cut. Only Drew University was left off the list.

Here are the top ten best colleges in New Jersey along with their overall Money magazine ranks.

  1. Princeton University (#1)
  2. The College of New Jersey (#35)
  3. Rutgers University-New Brunswick (#65)
  4. Ramapo College of New Jersey (#113)
  5. Stevens Institute of Technology (#153)
  6. Montclair State University (#164)
  7. Rowan University, Glassboro (#182)
  8. College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown (#193)
  9. New Jersey Institute of Technology, Newark (#199)
  10. Stockton University, Galloway (#218)

As an “elite/veteran” member of New Jersey Association for College Admissions Counseling, I continually visit New Jersey colleges and universities to ensure that our clients are aware of the changing campus environment and admissions policies at each individual institution.

Dr_Lowe_Larry_Alterman_NJACAC_Atlantic_City_resize_600
Dr. Lowe and Larry Alterman, 2019 NJACAC President at the NJACAC Annual Conference in Atlantic City, May 20, 2019

 

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 Advisors.

Dr. Lowe Visits Harvard College

Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors visit Ivy League, prestigious and elite colleges several times annually, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel. 

In May, I visited Harvard College.  This is my third visit to Harvard College this year.  Each visit, I have the opportunity to meet professors and admissions personnel and talk about the college.  I met several students on the Harvard Yard and they were friendly and modest.  I sensed that they knew that they would be the future world leaders.

Dr_Lowe_Harvard_College_2a_Reduce

This year, Harvard’s acceptance rate was a record-low 4.5 percent.  For the Class of 2023 with 1,950 of the 43,330 applicants.  This year marks the fifth consecutive application cycle in which the percentage of accepted applicants has decreased.

What does this mean for rising seniors (this year’s juniors)?

If Harvard is your first choice, it’s getting even harder to get accepted.

My recommendation?

Applicants will need an expert college admissions advisor who:

  1. has the experience and expertise in working with applicants who are applying to Ivy League colleges and universities.
  2. continually visits colleges and universities.
  3. understands how to efficiently and appropriately advise applicants.
  4. understands the admissions policies and what admissions officers are looking for.
  5. spends time with applicants brainstorming and implementing admissions strategies.
  6. guides applicants through the minefields of the Common Application, personal statements and supplemental/short answer essays.

 

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 Advisors.

2018 State of College Admissions Trends

 

State_of_College_Admission_2018_2a

The 2018 State of College Admission report was recently released by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).  As an active member of NACAC, I have been reviewing this report that has been published over the last fifteen years.  The report is based on data collected from the U.S. Department of Education and the Higher Education Research Institute.

The State of College Admission Report provides up-to-date information on a number of issues that impact students’ transition from high school to post-secondary education, as well as the admission process for transfer students and international students attending post-secondary institutions in the United States. The report covers the recruitment strategies that colleges use to attract each group of prospective students and the process by which candidates are evaluated. The report also includes a chapter dedicated to school counseling in US secondary schools, given the integral role school counselors play in putting students on the path to post-secondary success.

Here are some interesting trends in college admissions and highlights of report:

College Applications: The increase in the number of colleges to which each student applies continues a near perfectly upward trend, which is reflected in college reports of increased application volume.  Growth in application volume continues: Between the Fall 2016 and Fall 2017 admission cycles, the number of applications from first-time freshmen increased 4 percent; applications from prospective transfer students increased by 3 percent; and international student applications increased by 8 percent, on average.  There is continued hyper-competition to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and BS/MD Programs.

Recruitment and Yield Strategies:  College admission offices use a variety of strategies to recruit prospective students, particularly those who would be likely to attend if admitted.  To recruit students, colleges use the following strategies: Email, institutional websites, hosting campus visits, outreach to parents and high school counselors, high school visits, and college fairs.  These strategies help schools attain their enrollment goals.

Factors in Admissions Decisions: The factors that admission officers use to evaluate student applications from first-time freshmen have remained largely consistent over the past 20 years. Students’ academic achievements—which include High School Curriculum, and Test Scores as Top Factors for First-Time Freshmen: The top factors in the admission decision were: overall high school GPA, grades in college preparatory courses, admission test scores, and strength of curriculum. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, class rank and extracirricular activities. Admission decision factors for first-time international students are similar to those for domestic students, but the transfer admission decision process differs in significant ways.

Guidance Counseling Trends for College Admissions:  Post-secondary admission counseling is one of many functions of school counselors. On average, the time that public high school guidance counselors spend on college admissions: 21 percent, down from 26 percent in 2017. This demonstrates that high school guidance counselors are spending less time with students on college admissions.  See admissions blog: High School Guidance Counselors/College Admissions: Big Caseloads and Little Time

Student-to-Counselor Ratio: The American School Counselor Association recommends a 250-to-1 maximum student-to-counselor ratio.  New Hampshire and Vermont—had ratios below this maximum.  Data regarding the extent to which college advising is part of counselors’ job responsibilities showed the average student-to-college counselor ratio was 297-to-1.  With this ratio, it implies that high school guidance counselors have little time to provide individualized attention to students applying to college.

“Year after year, I hear the horror stories from parents whose kids got in nowhere because they thought the college admissions race was just about grades, SAT scores, their perceived  ‘unique’ applications, generic essays and perfect connections.” – Dr. Paul Lowe

“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

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 Advisors.

It’s A New Admissions Year – 2019

Welcome to Dr.Paul Lowe’s Admissions Expert Blog – 2019

My team and I have been visiting elite private schools, colleges, BS/MD programs, medical, law and graduate schools since late December and January.

Parents and students are constantly in the throes of the journey for:

  • Private School Admissions:  The application deadline for the top and competitive day and boarding schools was January 15th.  Admission decisions will be available online by March 9th for boarding schools.
  • College Admissions:  Early decision and action acceptances, rejection and deferred notices have been sent to students.  It’s time for high school seniors to think about what to do next regarding post-decision strategies.  Final decisions: March -April.  For high school juniors, you’ll be hearing from colleges in 12 months! For 2019, expect an increase in international student applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities.
  • Transfer Admissions:  Most applications are due in March.  Therefore, it’s time to complete applications and most importantly it’s time to complete those personal statements.  The transfer application this year has several changes!
  • BS/MD Admissions:  Competition for coveted spots is heightened based on the increased number of applicants this year.  Expect an increase in the number of rejected applicants.
  • Medical School Admissions: College juniors should begin to draft their personal statements, schedule to take their MCATs no later than May and obtain letters of recommendation.  Also, the new AAMC guidelines may affect the decision-making process considerably!
  • Law School Admissions:  Senior year – If you’re still in college, have your college Registrar submit updated transcript that reflects your Fall semester grades and
  • Graduate School Admissions:  Junior year – Start your search on graduate school programs. Once you have conducted your thorough searches for prospective institutions, make an alphabetical list of between 10 and 20 programs, regardless of what you presently know or have heard about them. Write them all down or put them on a spreadsheet. Graduate school enrollment continues to increase! Overall application volumes to graduate programs are steady and there is an expected increase from the Asia-Pacific, Canada and Europe regions.  

Each year, admissions policies and strategies change, so stay tuned for my upcoming, informative, helpful and thought-provoking admissions blogs!

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

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. 

College Transfer Admissions 2018-2019

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.

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 Advisors.

It’s Getting Tougher To Transfer To Top Colleges!

It’s the aftermath of the 2018 college admission season.  We are now aware of the Ivy League and highly selective college rejection rates.  The Ivy League colleges had a record number of applications and rejection percentages.  The rejection rates ranged from Cornell’s 89.7% to Harvard’s 95.4%.

Because so many “perfect” students were rejected, this will cause a trickle-down effect to second-tier and third tier schools.  In my firm, we are discovering that many families who are devastated by their children’s rejections are calling us regarding transfer.  Here is what students and their parents NEED to know:

  1. Transferring to the Ivies and elite colleges will be more difficult this year.  We have discovered, through our current research, that many students who were accepted are already committing to attend these schools.  Parents and students are aware of the value of an Ivy League degree.
  2. There are fewer spots available for transfer students.  Therefore, it’s even more competitive to transfer!
  3. Transfer applications are not viewed in the same way as regular applications to freshman classes.
  4. You may replicate the same mistakes that were on your Common Application.
  5. Students are on their own during the transfer process:  No college counseling support will be available from their current guidance counselors or private high school college advisors and there is no transfer help from the school which they will be attending in the fall.  Why would a school that accepted a student assist the student to transfer?
  6. The college transfer admissions process starts now!

As many concerned parents call us, stunned by the rejection decisions received by their children, we strongly advise parents that they need an experienced educational advisor to review their children’s Common Application because: something wasn’t right.  Now is the time to plan summer activities and create a “revised” game plan and positive momentum for their upcoming college freshman year to transfer.  See blog: College Transfer Admissions Tips.

It’s important that parents understand that transfer (especially to the Ivies) is even more competitive and involves even more diplomacy than traditional college admissions!

This year, all of our college transfer clients were accepted to their top choice colleges including Harvard, Yale and Columbia and Cornell and UPenn.  We are very proud of our success and extremely happy for these students and their parents!

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

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 Advisors.

 

Disappointed That You’ve Been Rejected From Your Top Choice Colleges? Find Out What Your Next Step Should Be!

Based on my over 20 years experience as a college admissions advisor and admissions strategist, I thought I would share some advice with students who have been receiving disappointing decision results.

Admissions committees give careful, individual attention to each applicant.  They review each applicant with a magnifying glass and compare each applicant to other qualified applicants.  They accept applicants who will inspire those around them during their college years and beyond.

My firm’s strategies involve widening the lens through which our applicant-clients are viewed, recognizing and valuing the different dimensions that shape each student.  We understand, in real-time, how an admissions committee at a particular college may view each dimension separately and collectively in comparison to other students during the selection process by visiting schools and talking with admissions officers.  As an alternative to settling for a rejection decision (which most students do) to a student’s first choice school, I posit this possible solution:

The student may consider reapplying as a transfer student.  It is not too early for a high school senior to consider this.  I call it our Admissions Second Chance Program.  I review and investigate what went wrong, because,  in all cases of rejection decisions, something wasn’t right!  Usually I find innumerable mistakes or homogeneity on the Common Application and/or school-specific supplemental essays.  Many times I have discovered that no matter how “amazing” the student sounds on paper (top grades, high GPA and SATs, volunteerism, extracurricular activities, recommendations, ESE (Expensive Summer Experiences), to me, they were unconvincing to the admissions committee at a specific school for many reasons.  In these cases, we make recommendations to improve the student’s profile and properly connect the dots within their application and beyond.  In unique cases, we have been retained by clients who were initially rejected and after our review and intervention the student’s application was reconsidered and ultimately accepted for admission.

By visiting the Ivies and highly selective schools, understanding the dynamic changes and nuances in individual colleges, and knowing what to do to make a student stand out amongst other applicants, my team and I gain an insightful perspective of each school and develop strategies to help our clients get accepted.

“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 Advisors.