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
obtain confirmation letters/e-mails that your applications are complete from any remaining law schools. The number of people applying to law school for the upcoming academic year shot up 8 percent—the only significant annual increase since 2010 as reported by The Law School Admission Council (LSAC). Additionally, the fall 2019 JD Regular Admissions Deadlines for top ABA-Approved Law School will be due starting February 1.
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
Over 20 years being an admissions advisor, I receive calls from parents to retain our services for college admissions. All of their children have guidance counselors and many are from suburban public schools in the NJ, CT NY RI and MA. Students were applying to range of universities and BS/MD programs.
Because of the increasing competition to get into top colleges, many families feel overwhelmed and stressed by the college admissions process. Moreover, the process can seem so complex that families may want the assistance, resources and knowledge of an expert who focuses solely on the college admissions process and who spends more time and individualized attention than guidance counselors can provide. Many parents and students discover too late (their children receive rejection letters) in the college admissions process that they should have hired a college admissions expert.
With the heavy workload of most high school counselors, few know their students well or have the time to provide personalized attention needed in this vital process. Public school systems burden counselors with many duties unrelated to college counseling including but not limited to, testing, scheduling, crisis counseling, social/emotional counseling, occupational counseling/job placement, etc.
Consider the results of studies and sources summarized below:
In a February 2015, in an op-ed piece in USA Today, former First Lady Michelle Obama, wrote eloquently: “There’s the world of the schools most of our kids attend where school counselors are too often under-valued and overstretched, and they simply don’t have what they need to do their jobs. While the American School Counselor Association recommends no more than 250 students per counselor, the national average is one counselor for every 471 students. And often, school counselors are burdened with all kinds of unrelated responsibilities such as proctoring exams, substitute teaching, even monitoring the lunchroom. Many school counselors find themselves doing triage, juggling those duties while trying to help kids in crisis and also keep up with the latest college admissions deadlines and requirements.”
The National Association for College Admission Counseling’s (NACAC) 2018 State of College Admissions reported that on average, public high school guidance counselors spend only 21 percent of their time on college admissions counseling. High school guidance counselors spend the majority of their time on school activities unrelated to college admissions.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) survey indicated that high school guidance counselors have an average caseload of 195 to as high as 708 students making them unable to provide adequate college guidance.
A National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) 2012 annual survey of school counselors also indicated that regardless of staffing, no counselor reported sufficient training in any of the areas related to college counseling.
The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) compiled a report that indicated that school counselors currently serve an average of 482 students, a caseload nearly twice the recommended maximum of 250.
The Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) stated: “An educational consultant brings to the family the knowledge and skills of an experienced professional coupled with a commitment to assuring the [student’s] best interests are met. Educational consultants counsel students and their families in the selection of educational programs based on the student’s individual needs and talents.”
Public Agenda, a nonprofit research organization a survey that indicated that most people who graduated from high school in the past dozen years say their counselors provided little meaningful advice about college and nearly half said that their counselors made them fell “like I was just another face in the crowd”.
The Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA) stated: “A professional educational consultant works one-on-one with each student, helping to identify colleges and universities that offer the best matches for the student’s unique needs, and keeping the student on track through every phase of the college application process.”
“Top qualified applicants, after all their hard work (and parents’ work) and preparation deserve the best and should not settle for less” – Dr. Paul Lowe
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
I have been an admissions advisor with specializing in BS/MD admissions for over 20 years. Many parents call my firm often shopping for free advice in the attempt to see if they can garner information. The parents who retain us know that valuable advice is not free! They also are aware that by hiring our personalized services their children will have a competitive advantage in the BS/MD admissions process. When our clients are accepted into BS/MD programs and their classmates are not, it speaks volumes to our firms collective knowledge insight and understanding of the “landmines” in the application process. Our client-parents are happy and overjoyed when they know that after years of hard work their children can be called “Dr.” as high school seniors!
There are actually 4 reasons why our clients have a competitive edge and we have a very high acceptance rate.
When we are finished with counseling our clients they stand out and don’t sound like the typical BS/MD applicant: high GPA’s, high SAT scores, scientific ad medical research, shadowed doctors, seemingly great letter of recommendations, expensive summer programs, “voluntouring” and boring. We develop our clients’ unique rhythm, vibe and voice.
Many parents wait and call us when the student is a high school senior. I guess it’s their attempt to bargain hunt? By then, the student already sounds just like every one else and have made all the irrevocable mistakes. There is nothing we can do for them at that point. It’s just too late. The damage has already been done. By then, we can not change the imperfections that will appear on their Common Applications. Our clients retain us between their child’s freshman and junior year.
Many parents retain educational consultants who are part-timers in BS/MD admissions (doctors-in-training) or who never continually visit colleges and universities BS/MD programs. My team and I continually visit colleges and universities.
We know how to avoid the application mistakes that can cause a BS/MD applicant to be instantly rejected. Trust me, there are hundreds of opportunities to make mistakes!
Over the last 2 years, I have had a 55% increase in Chinese clients who have hired our services specifically for Ivy League admissions. Each year, we place on average 20 Chinese clients in Ivy League and highly selective U.S. colleges and universities. Last year, we placed 45 Chinese students into Ivy League and highly selective U.S. colleges and universities.
Chinese students are attending U.S. colleges and universities in record numbers. Demand for Ivy League and highly selective universities such as Carnegie Mellon, MIT, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Northwestern, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), University of Chicago, Duke, University of Michigan, Tufts, Swarthmore, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Los Angeles, Georgetown, Barnard, Villanova, etc., is increasing exponentially.
By Chinese, I mean students from mainland China who attend high schools in China, private boarding and day schools in the U.S., Canada, UK, Italy, Singapore, Australia, all parts of the world and those who attend public schools in the U.S. Even when attending elite U.S. boarding schools where they have college counselors, the parents (or students) call us to ensure that no stone is left unturned in the college admission process to achieve the dream of an Ivy League education.
Parents all over China have the same dream. They want their children to have the best education for a better future. For Chinese parents, the benefits and the biggest advantages of an Ivy League education are undoubted and obvious – better employment opportunities, easier access to high-profile jobs, networking benefits and connections needed to start a global business. Most importantly, an Ivy League education adds transferable financial value to be utilized over their children’s lifetime on a global scale.
For Chinese parents, the choice of an Ivy League education for their child (almost always their only child) is considered a worthy financial investment, a shrewd political maneuver, and a satisfying personal sacrifice. They are appreciative of the chance for a greater opportunity for their children to study abroad in the U.S. Four years of an elite U.S. private college/university education can cost around $250,000, a considerable sum for American families, and even more so for a family from China, where average wealth is about one fifth that in the U.S. It is interesting and understandable that they are willing to make sacrifices for this pedigree degree that opens doors!
We work with many wealthy Chinese families who feel that sending a child to an elite Western university is a way of signaling status and prestige – yet “another luxury brand purchase”. For wealthy families seeking a safe haven for their assets – by one estimate more than $1 trillion in capital left China in 2015 – a U.S. college education for a child can serve as a first step towards addressing capital flight, foreign investment and even eventual emigration.
A HSBC (Hongkong Shanghai Banking Corporation) survey indicated that 80% of affluent families in China plan to send their children to study overseas. From 2009 to 2011, the number of Asian students studying in the US has increased by 40%. President Trump and former President Obama may have different political and economic views but they both agree that the U.S. has the best universities in the world! The U.S. is now the primary destination for Asian students. China is the number one source of international students. Many of the children of the Chinese economic and political elite desire Ivy League degrees. President Xi Jinping’s daughter is a Harvard grad.
Since 1999, China was the second leading place of origin for international students at Harvard, trailing only Canada. Its student numbers steadily increased to lead Harvard’s international enrollment since the last academic year, with 686 students currently enrolled (nearly 16% of the international student body). China similarly dominates international enrollment at other Ivy League schools, including Yale and Princeton. According to the Hurun Report (a research, media and investments business best known for its “Hurun China Rich List” a ranking of the wealthiest individuals in China), Harvard, Yale and Princeton are the biggest attractions for Chinese millionaires.
In March 2018, research from Hurun found China minted 206 billionaires in the last year, taking the country’s total to 819 billionaires, 40% more billionaires than in the US. Chinese billionaires are pulling away from the US for the third year running on the “Hurun Global Rich List 2018”. There are 819 Chinese billionaires in 2018 compared with 571 in the US. Just two years ago, they were neck and neck at 534 and 535. A recent Hurun annual survey of China’s elite has confirmed that 80% of the country’s wealthy families plan to send their children abroad for education.
It would seem that as long as Ivy League colleges and universities exist, wealthy and middle-class Chinese families will want their children to obtain the rare luxury brand of the unique experience of a valuable education. My team and I are here to help!
The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education Ranking 2019 was just released. Harvard is number one again. Of the top ten schools, six are Ivy League universities. The only ones missing in the top ten are Dartmouth College and Cornell University. Brown University is the only newcomer to the list. With their rarefied, global social alumni networks, door-opening reputations, and superior academics, it isn’t surprising that the schools mentioned are all brand-name institutions.
The rankings emphasize how well a college will prepare students for life after graduation. The overall ranking is based on 15 factors across four areas: Outcomes, Resources, Engagement and Environment. Each school’s overall score is determined by student outcomes (including a measure of graduate salaries), the school’s academic resources, how well it engages students and from the diversity of the students and staff. The U.S. College ranking is also partly based on the results of the Times Higher Education US Student Survey, which gathered the views of about 200,000 current university students in 2017 and 2018 to find out about their engagement with their studies, their interaction with their teachers and their satisfaction with their experience.
My team and I personally visit top colleges three times annually to understand each of their ever changing and unique admissions policies as well as the campus environment. As a result, we garner insider-knowledge to help our clients achieve admissions success. (Why Dr. Paul Lowe Visits College Campuses). This ranking is very accurate!
THE TOP TEN: Schools that achieved the highest overall scores in the ranking:
Year after year, my team and I spend at least 25 percent of our time visiting 100 or more colleges and universities throughout the US. As a result, we get to meet admissions personnel, administrators, faculty, college athletic coaches and directors, students and get to know what’s happening on campuses — real time.
During our visits, we also get a chance to talk with admissions officers and directors to see what’s really happening on campuses as it relates to admissions, enrollment, locally, internationally and geopolitically.
We see and experience the actual rather than the theoretical. Our knowledge of schools is not based on virtual tours, books, videos, general information found on the internet or secondary sources, but on these continual visits and knowledge-networks, professional relationships and connections that we have developed through our visits.
By visiting colleges, we understand their individual missions, philosophies, admissions policies and essentially what they are seeking in applicants for admissions. These visits provide me with knowledge beyond the scope of what parents are attempting to understand in the “admissions game”, and data that overwhelmed public school guidance counselors and even elite private school college counselors give to their students.
A campus visit allows me to personally experience the trip involved to get to the school, the people who are there, and the actual learning environment on campus. Seeing the dorms and dorm rooms, tasting the food, walking the campus—all these elements are critical to understanding if a client will actually be happy once he/she is a student there.
Our college visits keep us abreast of the constant changes in each college and provides us with insider-knowledge and understanding to develop individualized admissions strategies for clients.
We have been receiving increased number of phone calls and emails from international anxious students and their parents regarding the combined BS/MD programs that will consider them.
For international students it allows matriculation in both an undergraduate and graduate school and increases the opportunity for medical residency in the U.S. which is in and of it self extremely competitive. International as well as US. applicants to these programs prefer high-paying specialties: cardiology, orthopedic surgery, neurosurgery cardio-thoracic surgery, urology, plastic surgery and otolaryngology.
“International student view BS/MD programs as a way not only to achieve their career goals, but also to become U.S. doctors and practice medicine the U.S. It’s a career, financial and citizenship triple-play and we help them achieve all three simultaneously.”– Dr. Paul Lowe CEO/founder of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group and managing director of BS/MD Admissions Advisors.
“As a result of our success with international students, we are seeing even more interest in our BS/MD services by U.S. high school students and their parents”, said Dr. Nadine Cartwright-Lowe, co-managing director, BS/MD Admissions Advisors and a 1985 graduate of Brown PLME. “We place more students in Brown’s PLME program because it’s the only BS/MD that is an Ivy League and favorably considers international students.
What are the top and therefore most competitive BS/MD Programs for international students:
Northwestern University Honor Program In Medical Education (HPME)
Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars Program (MSP)
Washington University in St. Louis University Scholars Program in Medicine.
When it comes to BS/MD programs, having a high GPA, a top SAT score, science research, shadowing doctors or volunteering to help the disadvantaged isn’t enough. You need a college -BS/MD application with a “WOW FACTOR” if you want to stand out.
College and BS/MD admissions officers read thousands of applications for eight to ten hours a day. After a while, many applications start to look alike. You have to come alive in the application if you want to be noticed. This means telling a riveting and cohesive story that shows you’re a real person, rather than a few sheets of paper that make you sound just like every other high achieving student with top grades, test scores; performs research, shadows doctors and helps the disadvantaged.
BS/MD Admissions Advisors offers access to a unique methodology for creating standout applications for international students applying to BS/MD programs.
Brown University’s 8-year combined BS/MD program is the BEST OF BOTH WORLDS!
Brown’s Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) is the only Ivy League – BS/MD program. On the undergraduate side, through its Open Curriculum, it allows students the academic freedom to enroll in the courses that interest them rather than a “premed curriculum” PLME also does not require its students to take the MCAT and the only academic requirement is that a minimum 3.0 GPA be maintained in biology courses. PLME is also one of the few BS/MD programs that accepts international students.
PLME students may choose any one of the nearly 100 departmental and interdepartmental concentration programs offered at the University. PLME students complete a four-year undergraduate program by receiving a A.B. or Sc.B. degree. Students can then proceed directly to Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.
For the class of 2022, of 2,629 applicants to PLME, only 88 students were admitted to, a 3-percentadmission rate. It goes without saying that the students admitted to this program are among the best and brightest in the world!
What makes Brown University PLME the top and most prestigious BS/MD program?
No MCAT requirement
Accepts international students
At BS/MD Admissions Advisors, we know Brown! Unlike other educational consultants, we constantly visit Brown and understand the nuances and changes in its admission policies. Our BS/MD admissions experts: Dr. Paul Lowe is a Brown graduate and Dr. Nadine Cartwright-Lowe is a Brown PLME graduate, an active alumni and a licensed internist.
One of the main reasons students choose BS/MD programs is to avoid the dreaded and hyper-competitive application process to medical schools. And a part of that process is the MCAT exam. There are schools who require the MCAT and there are schools which don’t.
Here is a list of some BS/MD Programs which don’t require the MCATs:
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/Albany Medical College
Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education
St. Bonaventure University/George Washington School of Medicine
Siena College/Albany Medical College
Texas Tech University
Union College/Albany Medical College
University of California – San Diego
University of Missouri Kansas City
University of Pittsburgh
University of Rochester
University of Sciences in Philadelphia/Commonwealth Medical College
University of Texas Dallas/University of Teas Southwestern
University of Toledo
Many of our clients prefer these schools, however, I encourage them to consider BS/MD programs not just based on their MCAT requirement. As a result of our successful admissions strategies we know that, in the end, our client-parents can call their children “Dr” in their senior year of high school.
Recently, we’ve been receiving many calls from very anxious parents about milestone changes in college admissions policies. Several top colleges have acknowledged changes, including Carnegie Mellon and University of Chicago that will affect rising seniors (Class of 2023)
The University of Chicago dropped an admissions requirement for students to submit either the SAT or ACT test scores becoming SAT/ACT optional. James G. Nondorf, Dof admissions and vice president of enrollment and student advancement stated, “We want to remove any policy or program that we have that advantages one group over the other”.
Carnegie Mellon University eliminated so-called “demonstrated interest”. CMU prominently states, “The mission of Carnegie Mellon University includes the cultivation of a diverse community” It further states: “…Our undergraduate admission process is shifting to focus more on diversity and inclusion of all populations by reducing or eliminating advantages that have been inherent in certain aspects of the admission process. The goal is to provide a more equitable, level playing field where all segments of our applicant population have the same opportunity in the admission process. We’re eliminating demonstrated interest as a consideration in our admission paradigm. See Carnegie Mellon University’s Statement.
What this really means is that top colleges are shifting more to a holistic admissions process, are becoming more inclusive and recognizing that each accepted student brings unique qualities to the university setting. The college admissions process is shifting more toward evaluating a student’s character (College Admissions: How will Character be Assessed) and what they can meaningfully contribute to university community. They are spending more time reviewing students under a microscope and appreciating the fact that some applicants are disadvantaged during the application process. As a result the admissions process to the Ivies and highly selective schools is becoming hrpercompetitive and and more non-formulaic!
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe