What If You Are Rejected or Deferred Early Action/Decision? 2018

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 the regular 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.

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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

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.

Common Application 2018-2019 Launched

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.

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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
  • Diversity-in-community essay
  • 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 has done 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!

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.

Common Application Essay Prompts 2018-2019

If you’re reading this blog then you’re most likely a rising senior (or parent of a rising senior) and you are in the process of deciding which prompt to choose.

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The Common Application Essay is the most important essay that you will write as a high school student.  With a word limit of 650 words this means that every word, phrase and punctuation point will count, in addition to the tone and flow of your essay.

The 2018-2019 Common Application Essay Prompts are as follows:

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

We spend hours brainstorming and deciding which prompt will best apply to our clients to help them stand out.  We assist our clients in organizing their thoughts.  Then, after our clients submit a draft, we discuss the draft and then spend hours, with up to 10 revisions, for a final version.  Yes, it takes that long for a masterpiece to be created and enhanced!

Most admissions officers tell me that an applicant’s personal statement is absolutely their favorite part of the application and that it’s really a chance for them to get to know who applicants are as well as a major opportunity for students to speak up about themselves.  Essentially, their view is that the rest of the application is about other people talking about the applicant, rather the applicant’s in-depth view of him or herself.

Admissions officers want a well-written essay in your own voice that emphasizes insight into your unique character and personality that is thoughtful and reflective.  Essays written by our clients lets the admissions committee get to know them well as a person and demonstrates how you think and why you think and what really matters to you.

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.

Ivy League Application Boot Camp 2018

Pinnacle Educational Center/Admissions Advisors Group (PECAAG) announces the launch of its 2018 Ivy League Application Boot Camp.  The 2-day comprehensive, intensive and informative application boot camps, held during the summer, are specifically for high school rising seniors (current juniors) who have decided to apply to Ivy League colleges and universities. (see Dr. Lowe’s blog: Why Your Child Should Apply to Ivy League College or University?)

The camp is also for current college students who are interested in transferring and current high school seniors who were rejected the first time around and interested in reapplying to the Ivies.  Camp activities include: Application (including essay) brainstorming, review, editing during the camp, followed by an application consultation prior to submission of application.  The fee is $8,500.

The rejection rate for Ivy League schools is as high as 95%.  On average 35,000 applicants apply to each school.  That means that on average 25,000 to 33,000 students are REJECTED each year from each school. “Schools like Harvard Yale and Princeton could pick everyone with 4.0s, perfect SAT scores (and top violinist and pianist) and they could fill an entire class 10 times over,” said camp coordinator, Dr. Diana Alexandrova, the camp’s coordinator and Pinnacle’s International Student Advisory’s managing director.  “Our camp is also beneficial to international students who attend U.S. boarding schools or schools in their respective countries who want a competitive edge in the Ivy League application process.”

“The numbers are staggering and speak to the value and worth of an Ivy League degree” said Dr. Paul R. Lowe, Pinnacle’s CEO and president and the camp’s director.  “It is enjoyable to help students in this way.  Our camp attendees benefit from our discovery of mistakes they could have made on their applications.”

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.

Top Colleges Speed Read College Applications

Top College Speed Read Applications Dr Paul Lowe

How long do you think it takes a top college to review your application?   24 hours, five hours or one hour?  Try less than 8 minutes!!!

Due to the ease of applying to multiple schools, the number of domestic and international students applying to elite schools, the number of applications to these schools continues to grow.  Additionally, top colleges have also increased recruitment from rural areas in  the U.S.  Last year, the number of applicants using the Common Application was 902,000 and as of Jan 15, 2018, 898,000 used the Common Application.  Expect that number to increase after transfer admissions totals are determined!

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, admissions officers at top colleges do not have the time to read an applicant’s entire file.    As a result, many top colleges are using a team/committee-based approach to review applications .

In this new model, rather than work alone as an individual admissions officer assigned to a recruitment territory, admissions officers are now reading applications in pairs.  One reader is tasked with assessing and presenting the applicant’s academic credentials, reviewing transcripts, test scores, recommendations and course load and the other reader focuses on the “student’s voice”: essays, interviews and talents. The two-member team discusses and rates each applicant according to specific criteria based on the mission of the college and recommends a decision (reject or accept), typing notes into a system as they simultaneously discuss the applicant and concurrently reviewing each application on separate screens.

This new evaluation approach, initially developed by University of Pennsylvania, allows the admissions officer pairs to have an in-depth conversation about the applicant and render efficient decisions. It also allows them to read applications faster.  During team meetings there is a discussion on whether a candidate qualifies or not.

What does this mean for applicants who are applying to top colleges?

  • It’s getting even harder to be admitted to top colleges!
  • Every portion of a student’s application must now be able to highlight the student as well as somehow interconnected and interrelated with all other parts of the application.
  • Applying to top colleges is no longer just simply about top grades, AP courses, SAT scores and “jack-of-trades” and/or “drive by” extracirricular activities, and Expensive Summer Experiences (ESE) helping the poor in foreign countries and Expensive Summer Camps (ESC) – Summer camps/programs at elite colleges.
  • Students must assume and understand admissions etiquette and cultural as well as emotional intelligence, as you never know who will be reading your application.
  • Retain the services of an admissions advisor who visits colleges at least one or even twice annually.
  • Retain the services of an admissions advisor who understands the codes, language, complex metrics, unforeseen challenges and uncertainty in admissions.
  • Retain the services of an admissions advisor who understands and has the experience in preparing students whose applications are evaluated by the team/committee approach.

After four challenging years of college admissions preparation, your college decisions will be determined in 8 minutes or less!  Like competitive sports, getting into top schools is about have a competitive edge!

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.

College Transfer Admissions Tips

The college application season begins to draw to a close (decisions for competitive schools are being released in late March), one would believe that everything is slowing down.  But actually, we are in the throes of the college transfer season!  Many college freshmen and sophomores, after a semester or so,  have already decided that they need to transfer to another college.  Throughout the years, I have encountered many students who wish to transfer.  It is now becoming a growing trend.  In our practice, we are increasingly even seeing students who are making the decision to transfer while in their first semester, freshman year.  Here are some of the main reasons I see why students decide to transfer:

  • They are unhappy:  Why remain in an environment for four years where you will be unhappy and miserable – and pay tuition, room and board that will cost you (or your parents) $200,000 – $250,000.
  • Fresh start:  For time to time, a student may have faced unexpected challenges, disciplinary actions at a college and they need a new college environment
  • Institutional prestige:  You may be attending your safety school and you want a second shot or you were discouraged from applying to your dream school.  In any case, you desire what we call an UPGRADE.
  • Pre-graduate school preparation:  Your current college may not have a strong pre-law,  pre-med or pre-business program needed for graduate school admissions preparation or employment.

Whatever reason you may have for transferring, the bottom line is that you need to develop an effective action plan to transfer.   Here are ten tips for prospective college transfer students:

  1. Obtain your high school transcript:  As a transfer applicant, colleges like to see your official high school and college transcripts.
  2. Obtain college letters of recommendations:  What professors have known you and can write you a meaningful letter of recommendation?
  3. Common App Transfer Application:  Colleges use the Common App.  Take it seriously and be mindful of deadlines and required supporting documents.  Colleges have different policies for transfer students.
  4. Transfer Essays:  College transfer applicants must write meaningful and convincing essays to transfer into their top-choice school.  The main essay: What are your reasons for transferring?  Watch out for the school-specific supplementals!
  5. Provide a current college transcript:  Grades matter!  What are your current academic courses?
  6. Standardized tests:  If you have taken standardized tests make sure that you report them on your Common App.
  7. Extracirricular activities:  In what school organizations are you involved?  Are you involved in activities outside of school?
  8. Disciplinary actions:  If for any reason, no matter how minor, you had a disciplinary action while in college, it’s best (and honest) to report it on your Common App.  under Family Educational Rights and privacy Act (FERPA), your current college can disclose your school records, without your consent to other schools to which you are transferring.
  9. Research and visit your target schools:  It’s important to research as many schools as possible, develop of a short list and visit schools on this list.
  10. Consider seeking professional, expert advice:  Why?  In my professional experience, I find that prospective transfer students need to develop individualized, effective transfer plans and implement them.  As a transfer student, you no longer have the assistance of your public high school guidance or private high school college counselor.  You will need an educational consultant who specializes in college transfer admissions.  You’re basically on your own in a process that is even more competitive than when you applied to college the first time!

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.  He 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 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.

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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.

College Application Essay Tips

College admission officers read thousands of essays.  They try to discover the applicant behind the standardized test scores, GPA and letters of recommendations. As experienced readers and judges of character they spend about three to five minutes actually reading.   You, therefore, want your essay to make leap from ‘average’ to “accepted”.

Here is a comment I heard from an admissions officer:  “I read hundreds of college application essays each season.  I know the difference between ‘ho-hum’ and Wow!  We want this student!”

 Here are some times for tips for Writing the College Application Essay 

  1. Don’t Panic. In this part of the college admissions process, but do be prepared with a good topic and concise writing.
  2. Answer the question. Sounds obvious, however, admissions officers we’ve talk with stated that many students don’t answer the questions, especially the short answers. Read the question carefully and answer what they are asking for.
  3. Be Honest. Don’t embellish! This is self explanatory. Admissions officers look for inconsistencies.
  4. Be You. You don’t want to sound “amazingly unique” like everyone else. Write about your passions and achievements and show the admissions officers that you mean it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.

When written well, an essay is marketing tool that can help you STAND OUT and give you that added advantage in the competitive college admissions process.

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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.

Colleges Use a Team-based Approach to Read Applications

As more and more top students apply for coveted spots at Ivy League and highly competitive schools, several of these schools have developed a new team-based approach to efficiently analyze and evaluate each applicant. Rather than work alone, each to a recruitment territory, admissions officers are now reading in pairs.  They discuss and rate each applicant according to specific criteria, mission of the college and recommend a decision (reject or accept) and type notes into a system as they simultaneously discuss the applicant simultaneously reviewing each application on separate screens.  The new approach, initially developed by University of Pennsylvania.

In this new model, one reader assesses the applicant’s academic credentials, reviewing transcripts, test scores, recommendations and course load and the other reader focuses on the student’s voice: essays, interviews and talents. This new evaluative approach allows the admissions officer pairs to have an in depth conversation about each applicant and render efficient decisions and allows the admissions offices to review thousands of applications efficiently.

I have always emphasized to my clients that admissions officers review everything.  Now, they are having a conversation about applicants as they read their applications!

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Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group.  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 Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs.  Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been deferred, wait-listed and rejected.

As an experienced and trusted admissions advisor for over 20 years, Dr. Paul R. Lowe is an active member of the following organizations that uphold the ethical and professional standards and principles of good admission practices in college and independent school counseling: Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) and International Association for College Admissions Counseling (IACAC).

 

 

College Admissions: How Will Your Character Be Assessed?

The work of selecting students for admissions into colleges and universities is becoming more complex. Each year college admissions officers and their committees review thousands of applications and seek to predict the likelihood of those applicants to meaningfully contribute socially, culturally and personally to their specific college communities.  Ivy League and highly selective colleges use a team review process to holistically evaluate each applicant when creating a particular class during the admissions process.  That means acceptance to these colleges is not based on a simple formula of cognitive measures (grades and test scores).  Instead, admissions officers consider a variety of factors, including the student’s academic record, extracurricular interests, intellectual achievements and personal background, to decide who will be rejected or accepted.

Many college admissions offices are now looking to rely less on cognitive-based measures (standardized tests and grades) and more on character attributes when choosing applicants. They are turning to research showing that a student’s potential for long-term success is predicted less by test scores and more by traits such as optimism, curiosity, resilience, metacognition and adaptability.

College admissions professionals have spent several years determining other character traits that are most important to their respective institutions. When admissions officers have chosen the applicants they plan to present to their admissions committee, the applicants have been determined to have traits such as honesty, resilience, curiosity, perseverance, leadership and the capacity for teamwork.  Traditionally, these character traits are discovered by admissions officers using personal essays, interviews, lists of extracurricular activities, and letters of recommendation to get a holistic view of applicants.  Admissions officers now have other tools for character assessment at their disposal.

For college admissions, character traits tied to an interview, essay answers and letters of recommendation, are just as important and impressive, if not more so as, academic credentials.

I have always advised my clients to consider their character attributes and the holistic approach as they prepare for college admissions. It should now be clear that character assessment is the premier focus for college admissions.

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Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group.  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 Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs.  Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been deferred, wait-listed and rejected.

As an experienced and trusted admissions advisor for over 20 years, Dr. Paul R. Lowe is an active member of the following organizations that uphold the ethical and professional standards and principles of good admission practices in college and independent school counseling: Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) and International Association for College Admissions Counseling (IACAC).