College Admissions is not a Crapshoot

From time to time, I hear parents state that college acceptance to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities is a “crapshoot”.  Our clients enjoy a different experience with positive outcomes!

My team and I know that our knowledge, insight, experience, forward-thinking and our ability to understand our clients, as well as the intricate expectations of each school and their admissions committees in real-time and forward-time contribute to “beating the odds”.

Students (and their parents) who attempt to formulaically systematize the admissions process based on generic or ill advice generally end up among the 90% or more of applicants who are REJECTED. 

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Dr. Paul Lowe demonstrating that college admissions is not about rolling dice.

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.

College Admissions: How will You Differentiate Yourself from the Crowd

I am often asked the question by parents during my seminars how can my child differentiate themselves in the competitive admissions process to get admitted to their dream school.

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There are 7 factors that you can control to this end:

  1. Common Application
  2. Personal Statement
  3. Supplemental Essays
  4. Letters of Recommendations
  5. Extracurricular Activities
  6. WOW Factor
  7. Hire a college admissions expert who knows the changing policies, politics and diplomacy in admissions.

If you don’t differentiate yourself from the crowd, you will be among 41,350 students who were rejected from Harvard (43,330 applied, 1950 accepted), or, the 36, 123 students rejected from Brown (38,674  applied, 2,551 accepted) or rejected (34,665 rejected from Yale (36,843 applied, 2,178 accepted.

It’s actually that simple!

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You need to hire a high-end college admissions expert who understands the holistic approach and review process and the committee-based review process when evaluating applicants for admissions. And an expert who knows the changing policies, politics and diplomacy in admissions.

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. 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

New Report Indicates That Many Public High School Students Lack Quality College Counseling

In my blog. “High School Guidance/Counselors/College Admissions: Big Caseloads and Little Time“,  I discussed the challenging demands of high school guidance and college admissions.  Since then, a new report has indicated that public high school students lack quality college counseling.

The Hechinger Report states that  “many public high schools are scrambling to provide students with even basic information about college after years of belt tightening have drained them of counselors. As a result, “support is scant” for most students: “Counselors are overwhelmed and college guidance often doesn’t begin until late in junior year.”

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The American School Counselor Association recommends a student-to-school counselor ratio of 250-to-1.  The most recent data available from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates that most states are significantly higher ratio. The only states with lower rates are Wyoming (225), New Hampshire (220) and Vermont (225).  These ratios demonstrate that guidance counselors are overwhelmed and do not have the time to provide adequate college counseling in an increasingly competitive college admissions environment.

Year after year, my team and I discover that even in public high schools in “affluent” suburban areas, their guidance departments are overwhelmed.  They not only spend the majority of their time on school activities unrelated to college admissions, but also are unable to provide personalized, one-to-one college admissions counseling to each student.  In the Northeast, we have seen this trend in such counties as Fairfield (CT), Westchester (NY), Northern New Jersey, and Nassau (Long Island).

“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.

Class of 2023 College Admissions Rates

It’s April and all the Ivies and highly competitive colleges and universities a have reported their admissions rates.  This year, has been the lowest acceptance rates for the Ivies and highly selective colleges and universities.

As more students apply to more colleges, expect the percentages to be even lower and a trickle down effect: colleges and universities which were once thought of as not competitive to be even more competitive.

Here are some of the admissions rates for Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities:

  • Boston College:  10.8%
  • Brown University:  6.6%
  • Cal Tech:  Mid-December
  • Carnegie Mellon University:  December 15
  • Columbia University:  5.1%
  • Cornell University:  10.6%
  • Dartmouth College:  7.9%
  • Duke University:  7.4%
  • Harvard University:  4.5%
  • Johns Hopkins University:  9.1%
  • MIT:  6.6%
  • New York University:  16%
  • Princeton University:  5.8%
  • Swarthmore College:  8.7%
  • University of Chicago:  5.9%
  • University of Pennsylvania:  7.4%
  • University of Virginia:  24%
  • Yale University:  5.9%

 

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Dr. Paul Lowe 

“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.

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. 

High School Guidance Counselors/College Admissions: Big Caseloads and Little Time

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.

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Consider the results of studies and sources summarized below:

  1. 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.”
  7. 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”.
  8. 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

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.

4 Reasons Why Dr Lowe’s Clients are Accepted to BSMD Programs

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

 

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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 is the managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.  He and his team of admissions advisors, through the admissions affiliate, BS/MD Admissions Advisors, help high school students get accepted to BS/MD programs.  Summer Camps:  BS/MD Application Boot Camp and Ivy League Application Boot Camp.

From China to the Ivy Leagues

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!

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The Yueng family with Dr. Paul Lowe Pinnacle Educational Center/Admissions Advisors Group headquarters.

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

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“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.