Over the past 10 years, I have been talking in my webinars/seminars and writing in my blogs about the WOW factor and its importance in successful college admissions acceptance!
As college admissions becomes increasingly more competitive, admissions officers and committees look beyond high GPAs, high standardized test scores, ESEs (expensive summer experiences), tailored resumes and achievements and seemingly amazing, but generic essays. Dr. Lowe and his team continue to use the Wow Factor Admissions Concept with their clients.
What’s your personal “Wow Factor” that will make you stand out and get accepted to the college of your choice? It’s a factor that your admissions officer will look for as well as discuss with the other admissions committee members as to the reason you should be accepted.
What is a personal “Wow Factor”? Your charisma, confidence, motivation, initial impression, appearance, communication skills, attitude, self-esteem, authenticity, presence, etiquette, manners, harmony, rhythm and vibe all contribute to your wow factor. Your wow factor is what makes you different! It’s your distinguishing trademark, your personal brand that must be placed in a positive light to a committee of six to ten diverse people to get accepted. It’s the kind of aura that is genuine, authentic and resonates. To truly identify your WOW factor, you need an outside perspective, a third party, that understands how admissions committees will review your character.
It takes Dr. Lowe and his team hours to weeks discover and months to cultivate a client’s WOW factor. After that, we develop strategies to convey that brand to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and BS/MD programs.
Our admissions strategies help applicants spotlight their unique characteristic(s) that make admissions officers say “Wow! We want this student!”
College applications are increasing based on the Common Application registrations. College applications soared for the 2021-22 school year as thousands of students are taking advantage of the SAT test-optional policy.
As more and more students apply, it will be more competitive (especially for Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities and BS/MD programs). In a USA Today article, “At selective schools “– where the acceptance rate is typically less than 50% – the spike was largest: Applications increased by an average of 21%.” Common App CEO Jenny Rickard said,
As a result, admissions officers/committees are assessing applicants by using a more holistic-team approach and assessing soft skills, often referred to as the “intangibles”. Students however bright: high GPA, SAT scores ACT scores (and in the case of BS/MD programs -research publications and hundreds of hours of shadowing) and polished resumes still lack the “je nais se quois” for acceptance to schools. Through our in-depth admissions strategies we develop and enhance our clients’ student profiles do that their “je nais se quois” is clearly conveyed in their WOW FACTOR.
By understanding our clients, conveying their characteristics and achievements onto their applications and into their essays and understanding college-specific admissions expectations (through research and professional and network relationships), our clients gain a competitive edge and have successful admissions outcomes – acceptances!
The 2022 U.S. News & World Report Best College Ranking is out! So many people say that it doesn’t matter where a student attends college as long as it’s a “good fit”. Really !!!!! Why are rankings used? Why are they so important? Because as a consumer-based society a college’s vision, supportive amenities, facilities, reputation, prestige and brand must meet our expectations. Since it is impossible for an applicant to experience everything a college has to offer prior to acceptance and enrollment, it is prudent to “kick the tires” by reviewing how colleges rank according to various criteria such as those provided by US News and other ranking services.
U.S. News rankings system rests on two pillar (1) Quantitative and qualitative measures that education experts have proposed as reliable indicators of academic quality and (2) U.S. News’ view of what matters in education.
Here are the top 20 colleges and universities.
1. Princeton University
2. Columbia University, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
5. Yale University
6. Stanford University and University of Chicago
8. University of Pennsylvania
9. California Institute of Technology, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and Northwestern University
13. Dartmouth College
14. Brown University and Vanderbilt University and Washington University in St. Louis
As we enter into the height of the 2021-2022 admissions season, parents are calling and emailing our offices to inquire about our services. They are interested in Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities as well as BS/MD programs. Their focus is on admissions to these schools not the tuition and fees/room and board. Why? Because they are fully aware of the return-on-investment of the degrees from these institutions and BS/MD programs.
Here is a list of figures that represent charges to first-time, full-time undergraduates based on the total of tuition and fees and room and board fees. The data is from a College Board-Annual Survey of College 2020.
Dartmouth College: $77,131
Columbia University: $76,920
Barnard College: $75,524
Boston College: $74,422
Boston University: $74,712
Carnegie Mellon: $74,474
Johns Hopkins: $74,310
Harvard College: $72,391
With total annual fees exceeding $70,000 per year, you would think that the application numbers would be down. On the contrary, based on our discussion with admissions officers and admissions administrators, we expect the number of applications to these top colleges to increase this year! College applications are expected to increase in these competitive colleges and universities.
A colleges endowment is intended to support current and future generations of their scholars with the resources needed to advance knowledge, research, and innovation. As such, endowment funds are used for the school’s normal operations and activities, including education, research, campus renewal, faculty work, and student financial aid. As a member of NACUBO (National Association of College and University Business Officers), Dr. Lowe discusses endowments, development and gifts policies with universities. “It’ important to understand the business side of higher education” – Dr. Paul Lowe. The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a membership organization representing more than 1,700 colleges and universities across the country.
Here is a list of endowments of several colleges including Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities in billions of dollars, fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 (from the NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments):
The Common Application 2021-2022 will be ready on August 1. Year after year, when parents call us because their children were rejected from their top-choice schools, the first thing I ask is to see their Common Application main essays. I always find egregious mistakes!
Here are 5 mistakes you must AVOID!
Mistake #1: Not answering the question. The admissions committee uses certain essay prompts for a specific reason: They want you to answer it!
Mistake #2: Trying to impress the essay readers. Do not try to impress admissions officers or the admissions committee. They will be able to sense a pretentious, patronizing or even condescending voice beneath descriptions of seemingly philanthropic contributions, grand, earth-shaking events and ontological musings.
Mistake #3: Making an essay into a resume. Many times applicants want to impress readers so much that they completely ignore the essay prompt and make the essay into a list of their accomplishments. Admissions officers and readers dislike redundancy!
Mistake #4: Obtaining “ideas” from websites . Do not copy from other people or download essays! Many students assume that if they copy directly from other people’s work and sources that no one will find out. This assumption is definitely wrong! Don’t you think admissions officers also visit theses websites.
Mistake #5: Picking an inappropriate topic. In an attempt to be clever, many applicants resort to writing an essay that they believe would be witty, overly serious, or flattering. Admissions officers are unimpressed!
Your college essay is the only part of the college application process over which you have complete control. Your essay or essays (short answers included) should capture admissions committees’ imagination and make them want you on their campuses. Missing the opportunity to make this piece of your student profile outstanding is a HUGE mistake and will certainly result in a rejection by top schools.
Last year was one of the most competitive years in college admissions history. COVID-19 caused disruption and uncertainty in college admissions. Our admissions team increased our time with clients and brought in additional supportive staff so that they could stand out. Our efforts were well invested in our clients and we have achieved their desired results!
We are very pleased and happy to announce our final results for Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME): 9 of our clients were accepted to Brown PLME.
According to Brown University, “From a pool of 3,516 applicants — a 39% increase from last year — 82 students were admitted to PLME, an eight-year program leading to both a bachelor’s degree and an M.D. from Brown’s Warren Alpert Medical School.”
Dr. Lowe and his team understand that successful admissions results involve more than just a 3-page resume packed with achievements, a high GPA and a high SAT score. It’s about BS/MD Admissions Knowledge.
Dr. Paul Lowe and his team provide unparalleled admissions advisory services!
Each year we work with several clients who are admitted to Ivy League and BS/MD programs despite relatively low GPAs. Yes! You have read right…low GPAs. This year, was significant because it was during the COVID-19 pandemic and there was an increase in the number of applicants to Ivy League and BS/MD programs.
While the average high school student with a GPA weighted that are accepted to Ivy League schools is 4.10, there is no minimum requirement. Of course, it’s rare for a student with a GPA below 3.9 to be accepted, but not impossible!
Ivy League schools rely upon a holistic and committee-team approach when evaluating applications to determine whether a student is a good fit for their institution. This approach allows admissions officers to obtain an in-depth picture of a student’s potential, character, and personal attributes that they will bring to the campus community if admitted.
So, how do our students with low GPAs get admitted to Ivies and BS/MD programs? This is where character, the right attitude and accomplishments beyond the ordinary and expected achievements come in. We work with the student to ensure that the correct picture of the student is apparent to the admissions officers.
Ultimately, elite colleges like the Ivies are interested in your potential. They want to know not only what you will contribute to the campus in terms of abilities and achievements, but also how you will mature and interact with others once you get there, and what positive impact you will eventually have on the world.
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
“We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!”– Dr. Paul Lowe
“Parents hire us because they choose to pay an admissions expert who will help them avoid making mistakes.”– Dr. Paul Lowe
As high school juniors are preparing for their AP exams, many are wondering how important are they!
The depth and breadth of a student’s high school curriculum is very important – work done at the accelerated, honors and AP levels will matter in how the admissions committee evaluates your overall transcript – rejection or acceptance.
Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities (and BS/MD programs) expect students to enroll in AP classes unless they have enrolled in an International Baccalaureate (IB) program or if their school does not offer AP classes.
Students who are applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities (and BS/MD programs) on average enroll in 8 – 12 AP courses. It’s important that you do well in the AP courses, as admissions officers want to see that you have been challenged and that you are doing well despite the challenging and demanding curriculum.
Students not taking advantage of AP courses offered at their schools are generally not looked at favorably during the admissions selection process. “Several admissions officers at the Ivies have told me that they’re more likely to admit students who have taken several APs.” – Dr. Paul Lowe
AP exam scores are self-reported. We recommend that you should report scores if you receive a 3 or higher.
Dr. Lowe advises his clients which AP courses they should enroll in as it relates to their college student profile thereby helping them stand out during the admissions process.
If you are a high school junior or your son or daughter is a high school junior and you are thinking about applying to direct BS/MD programs, it’s time to get really serious about either planning or implementing your plans. With about 3 months left of your junior year, there is no time to waste! You will need to avoid common mistakes as well as obscure omissions. In addition, it is important to polish your existing student profile. You may think it’s great, however, it must measure up or be better that the 95% of applicants that will be rejected.
As students (even with the help of their parents) prepare for the college admissions process, they read books, look at videos or visit college forum-type websites which they believe may provide personalized answers for them. These sources provide information that everyone else can see, but not customized strategies to help your child avoid mistakes.
Many parents who call us (and whose children are performing the above and have the “perfect” BS/MD profile) then believe that their child is a shoo-in for BS/MD programs and just need “some” advice.
Here’s a list of factors by admissions expert, Dr. Paul Lowe that you should consider if you are a junior seriously thinking about applying to BS/MD programs.
Student CHARACTER – Personality counts! What’s your “je ne sais quoi”?
The HOOK – If you don’t have a hook, the admissions committee will not grab you!
The STORY – It’s all about the story and how it’s framed and presented! No good story, no acceptance! Certain rejection!
Common Application: PERSONAL STATEMENT – Meaningful, well-written and convincing personal statement needed. No flow, harmony, tone combined with gravitas – rejection!
COLLEGE-SPECIFIC SUPPLEMENTALS– You must complement and synergize your supplementals with your personal statement. All the school-specific essays are important, even the 50 word-count answers! Students have been rejected because of mistakenly using one word or a sentence in 50 word-count essays!
COLLEGE-SPECIFIC-BS/MD ESSAYS – The “Why doctor essay?” “I want to help people”. Everyone in the service industry does that!
The effective and boldRESUME – It’s not just about a 2–3-page resume with lots of research and extracurricular activities which is just a list. It has to be framed correctly or it looks boring and generic!
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Are your extracurricular activities meaningless or meaningful? Do they really interconnect to your student profile in a meaningful way? Have you become the jack-of-all extracurricular activities? The master of none? Are you a drive-by extracurricular activities person?
VOLUNTEERISM – It’s not just about tutoring underprivileged children, participating in an ESVE (Expensive Summer Volunteer Activity) or starting your own nonprofit organization. There is more to volunteering than just volunteering!!!
WOW FACTOR – What’s your WOW Factor? How and when can you use it to WOW admissions? You want the admissions committee to say “WOW! We want this applicant on our campus.”
INTERVIEWS – You may be seemingly be all that on paper; grades, SATs recommendations, volunteering to save the world, 1000 hours of shadowing, however, one incorrect word or statement in an interview results in a rejection – That’s right, just one!
ETIQUETTE – Think that doesn’t matter? Think that’s old-school? Think again! Are you mindful of how you present yourself and how people perceive you? It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it! Etiquette matters! We provide personalized etiquette strategies for our clients.
MANNERS– When you say something (or write something) what counts is not what you mean but how you are heard and perceived. Are you mindful of your manners? Manners matters! Do you know when or if you sound rude, pretentious, impolite, disrespectful, unrefined or worse – uncultivated?
WHO ARE YOU? – What are your values? What do you stand for? Can you define you? Why are you different? Are you aware how you perceives you?
DIVERSITY – What’s your diversity intelligence? What’s the meaning of diversity to you? It’s not just a word to be used throughout an essay. It’s not just about being a member of your school’s diversity club. Colleges seek students who truly understand the meaning of diversity. Diversity matters!
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS– It may occur at any time, at any level or at any stage during your admissions process. Can you identify it? How must you successfully deal with it? How do you overcome it for successful admissions decisions?
UNIVERSITY PRIORITIES– Colleges are not accepting applicants for just top grades and their perceived amazing resumes and achievements, they are continually adjusting and building diverse campus communities and future global networks based on geopolitics, geo-economics and their financials. School admissions policies and institutional priorities change year to year and region to region to match their goals. What makes you believe that you know these policies and priorities better than a boutique admissions firm that has superior access to current information and admissions trends?
The KNOW-HOW. So, you really believe it’s just (1-18)? You need the Know How: How do you do the right-things the right-way and with the right-people at the right-time? Our proprietary-knowledge, unmatched experience, admissions success and years of close working relationships with admissions professionals ensures that you do it right!
So you really believe that factors 13-18 are unimportant? Think again!
If you know how to plan, develop and implement (1-19) and how they are used in BS/MD admissions – that’s wonderful!!! But if you don’t, there is an increased probability that you (and your child) will make irrevocable mistakes that will cause instant rejections to all schools. Would you want this to happen after your years of planning as a parent and your child’s hard work?
The parents who retain Dr. Paul Lowe and his team of consultants may take risks in business and investments, but not risks in their children’s educational future – to become a medical doctor. The ones who do take risks in their children’s education – 95% of them bet WRONG!
Why take on RISKS in your child’s educational journey and career future?
Our BS/MD Admissions practice is specialized: Dr. Lowe and his team only work with parents who understand that the BS/MD admissions process is competitive, who desire help from an admissions expert and who see the value and investment in paying for expert advice through a detailed and ongoing comprehensive admissions advisory service for their child’s dream of becoming a doctor. He also specializes in helping international students in the BS/MD process. Parents who chose to use our services want to call their son or daughter – “Doctor” when they are seniors in high school.