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
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
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 theregular 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.
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
It’s the 2018-2019 Early Decision and Early Action season! Applicants have already submitted their applications! Some applicants are having their alumni interviews! Competition to Ivy League and highly selective college remain high. Therefore, expect many applicants with high SAT/ACT scores, high grades and seemly perfect applications and personal statements to be rejected or deferred to the regular decision pool. Several of our clients who are student-athletes have already received their acceptances!
Here are some early decision and early action notification dates for Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities:
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.
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.
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
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 hasdone 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!
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.