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.

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.

10 Best Colleges in New Jersey in 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

Dr. Lowe Visits Harvard College

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

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

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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.

The Value of High-End College Admissions

By now many people are aware of Operation Varsity Blues. Federal prosecutors allege that William “Rick” Singer touted his knowledge of “the secret of getting into college,” becoming “the mastermind of an enormous, elaborate scheme carried out over years, brazenly paying off coaches and test monitors, faking exam scores and fabricating student biographies – all to help wealthy parents cheat their children’s way into desirable colleges.”

Hiring a high-end college admissions advisor is not illegal, unfair or unscrupulous. In the quest for success in various endeavors, parents hire, for example, music teachers to help a child nurture a musical gift. They may hire a tennis pro to help a budding tennis star. They might obtain country club memberships, where their child has access to golf pros. There may be dance lessons or voice coaches. They may hire a ship’s captain to learn the finer points of sailing or racing tall ships. There is absolutely nothing wrong with hiring a college admissions advisor/expert. There is certainly nothing unethical for charging for a service that provides a competitive advantage.

Many parents — wealthy or not — hire college admissions consultants to help their children navigate the college admissions process by assisting with applications, essays, interviews and admissions strategies. When it comes to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities it’s par for the course to engage an expert at some level who is versed in the nuances and changes in college admissions.

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Here are some of the reasons why parents hire high-end college admissions advisors:

  1. Many guidance counselors at public high schools are overwhelmed and sometimes have no expertise or time for college admissions advising. Many counselors may not even visit Ivy League and highly selective schools, not even once. My team and I visit these universities four times annually.
  2. The most elite colleges and universities now accept less than 6% of those who apply. Some schools routinely reject dozens of valedictorians and students with perfect or near-perfect scores on their SAT or ACTs. This is why, year after year, new clients always call: They hear the horror stories of wonderful students who were rejected from all their top choice colleges including what they thought were safety schools.
  3. Ivy League colleges and universities help establish meaningful and long-lasting networks that are important to facilitate future careers and social connections. Parents who call us understand the importance of networking and establishing connections. For international parents, global networking is important for their children’s success. Wealthy, upper middle-class and middle-class parents who call us understand the value of networking. They all share the same thing in common: They are concerned about their children’s future in a competitive and uncertain world.
  4. Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities are luxury educational brands that represent status, prestige, pedigree and a high ROI.
  • A study in the journal, Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, confirms parental suspicions that the best route to a top job is to attend an Ivy League school. According to Dr. Lauren Rivera, the author of the study, “Elite professional service employers rely on academic pedigree more than any other factor. Where you went to school rather than what you did there makes the difference.”
  • PayScale Inc., an online provider of global compensation data, in a survey demonstrated that an Ivy League diploma is still worth its price of admission and tuition. “An Ivy League education makes a job candidate stand out, even before a recruiter talks to them! The median starting salary for Ivy Leaguers is 32% higher than that of liberal-arts college graduates and at 10 or more years into graduates’ working lives, the spread is 34%.” Additionally, according to PayScale, the return on investment for a degree from Stanford or Princeton is about $800,000 after 20 years.
  • Dr. Robert H. Frank, an economics professor at the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, stated: “Because of the bitter competition for premium salaries, elite educational credentials are often a precondition for even landing a job interview.  Degrees from elite schools clearly open doors.”

Reputable consultants are active members of one or all of the following professional organizations: NACAC (National Association of College Admission Counseling), HECA (Higher Education Consultants Association) and/or IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association). Each organization has some form of a Statement of Principles and Good Practice: Code of Ethics and Professional Practice and professional development programs.

I am an active member of NACAC, New York State Association of College Admission Counseling (NYSACAC), New Jersey Association of College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), HECA and International Association of College Admission Counseling (IACAC). I am also a College Community Representative for the HECA Community Representative Program, where I visit colleges to gather information and interview college officials regarding admissions policies at their institutions.

“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.

Regular Decision Notification Dates: 2019

It’s March 2019! That means that school seniors will begin to discovering, after all their hard work, where they will be accepted, wait-listed or rejected

Based on our research and discussions with directors of admissions, many colleges  regular admission decisions ready by March 31 or April 15.

Here are regular decision notification dates (and approximate times) for Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities:

  • Barnard College:  March 22, 2019
  • Bucknell University:  March 28, 2019
  • Brown University:  March 28, 2019
  • Carnegie Mellon University:  No later than April 15
  • Columbia University:  March 28, 2019
  • Cornell University:  March 28, 2019
  • Dartmouth University:  March 28, 2019
  • Duke University:  April 1, 2019
  • Georgetown University:  Late March
  • Georgia Institute of Technology:  March 9, 2019
  • Hamilton College:  March 20, 2019
  • Harvard University:  March 28, 2019
  • Johns Hopkins University:  March 15, 2019
  • Lehigh University:  Late March
  • MIT:  March 14, 2019 (Pi Day)
  • Northwestern University: Late March
  • Princeton University: March 28, 2019
  • Stanford University:  April 1, 2019
  • Swarthmore College: March 15, 2019
  • Tufts University:  April 1, 2019
  • University of Chicago:  Late March
  • University of Michigan: Late March
  • University of Notre Dame:  Late March
  • University of Pennsylvania:  March 28, 2019
  • University of Virginia:  Late March
  • Vanderbilt University:  April 1, 2019
  • Vassar College:  April 1, 2019
  • Villanova University:  Late March
  • Wesleyan University:  Late March
  • Yale University:  March 28, 2019

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

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected. and student who wish to transfer to another college:  College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

Class of 2023 Early Admissions Rates

Thousands of high school seniors (and their parents) have now received early decision/early action results.  Students (and their parents) who believed that was just high GPA, top SAT scores, high grades and a manufactured application and personal statement have now discovered that it’s not all about that.  This year it’s even becoming more competitive to gain admission to top college and universities.  Fortunately, all of our firm’s early action/decision all have heard positive news.

Here is a list of Early Action/Decision Acceptance Rates and the number of accepted applicants at several schools:

  • Harvard – 13.4%  |  934 out of 6,958
  • Yale – 13.2%   |  794 out of 6,020
  • Princeton – 13.9%  |  743 out of 5,335
  • Brown – 18.2%   |  769 out of 4,230
  • Dartmouth – 23.0%   |  574 out of 2,474
  • UPenn – 18.0%   |  1,279 out of 7,110
  • Cornell – 22.6%  |  1,395 out of 6,159
  • MIT – 7.4%  |  707 out of 9,600
  • Duke – 18.0%  |  882 out of 4,852
  • Johns Hopkins – 31%  |  641 out of 2,068

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

“Top qualified applicants, after all their hard work (and parents’ work) and preparation deserve the best and should not settle for less.” – Dr. Paul Lowe

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

Paul Reginald Lowe, founder and managing director of Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group, provides comprehensive counseling advice, exclusively for admissions to top private schools; Ivy League and highly-selective colleges/universities; BS/MD programs; graduate and medical schools and top visual and performing arts programs.   The admissions affiliate: Ivy League Admissions Advisors specializes in admissions to Ivy League and highly selective colleges,  Dr. Lowe also specializes in helping students who have been wait-listed, deferred or rejected gain admission into their top-choice schools: College Application Rejected and student who wish to transfer to another college: College Transfer Admissions Advisors.

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.