College Admissions: What’s Your WOW FACTOR?

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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.

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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!” 

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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.

Transfer Acceptance Rates at Top Colleges

As the college application season begins to draw to a close (decisions for competitive schools will be released in late March), one would believe that everything is slowing down.  But actually, we are in the throes of the college transfer season!  Many college freshmen and sophomores, after a semester or so, have already decided that they need to transfer to another college.  Throughout the years, I have encountered many students who wish to transfer.  It is now becoming a growing trend.  In our practice, we are increasingly seeing students who are making the decision to transfer while in their first semester, freshman year.  Here are some of the main reasons why the students I encounter decide to transfer:

  • They are unhappy:  Why remain in an environment for four years where you will be unhappy and miserable – and pay tuition, room and board that will cost you (or your parents) $200,000 – $250,000?
  • Fresh start:  From time to time, a student may have faced unexpected challenges, disciplinary actions at a college and they need a new college environment.
  • Institutional prestige:  You may be attending your safety school and you want a second shot or you were discouraged from applying to your dream school.  In any case, you desire what we call an UPGRADE.
  • Pre-graduate school preparation:  Your current college may not have a strong pre-law, pre-med or pre-business curriculum needed for graduate school admissions preparation or employment.

Most of the parents who call us are calling for an upgrade!  There are fewer spots available especially in the Ivies and highly competitive colleges.

Students are on their own during the transfer process:  No college counseling support will be available from their current guidance counselors or private high school college advisors and there is no transfer help from the college which they are currently attending.

Here is a list of acceptance rates at top colleges:

  • Barnard College – 21.8%
  • Brown University – 7.7%
  • California Institute of Technology – 1.9%
  • Carnegie Mellon University – 7.3%
  • Columbia University – 6.1%
  • Cornell University – 17.1%
  • Dartmouth College – 1.5%
  • Duke University – 6.6%
  • Georgetown University – 6.6%

“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

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

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge! – 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.   Its medical school admissions affiliate: Medical School Admissions Advisors. 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.

Brown University Midyear and Transfer Admissions

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On January 21, Brown University had its ceremonial procession through the Van Wickle Gates.

This unique procession involved 51 transfer and 6 visiting students who started their classes at Brown, become a part of the Brown community and enjoy the Brown academic and social experiences.

The Mid-Year Transfer Program is designed specifically for incoming sophomores.  To be eligible for transfer admission to Brown, a student must have completed at least one full year of college study (or its equivalent) before their planned matriculation at Brown.

This year, all of our clients who applied to Brown’s Midyear transfer program were accepted!

Congratulations to students and their parents!

Our parents-clients are happy, overjoyed and excited that they can now call their sons and daughters – Brown University students and future alumni!

“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

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

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge! – 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.   Its medical school admissions affiliate: Medical School Admissions Advisors. 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.

We Are The Best – Let Us Prove It

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Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group at its affiliate firms have created a new campaign:  “Are the Best – Let Us  Prove It.”

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Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group affiliates:  Ivy League Admissions Advisors, Boarding School Admissions Consultants, Private School Admissions Advisors, BS MD Admissions Advisors, Medical School Admission Advisors and location affiliates help their clients successfully navigate the competitive admissions process to top private day and boarding schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities BS/MD programs and graduate schools.

Year after year, we receive calls from disappointed parents (and students) who either tried the competitive admissions process on their own or hired inexperienced educational consultants who are not specialized in the hyper-competitive admissions process.  The result: admissions disaster and catastrophe – rejection from all their top day and boarding schools, colleges and universities and acceptance into “good fit” safety schools!

We have been in business for over 21 years and take pride in our unmatched admissions success and results.

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

“We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!” – 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 College Admissions Landscape Has Changed Again: Adversity Score

The College Board, the New York based nonprofit that oversees the SAT, plans to assign an adversity score to every student who takes the SAT to try to capture their social and economic backgrounds.  This fall, 100 colleges and universities will join the 50 colleges (which include Harvard, Yale, Cornell and University of Michigan) already utilizing this new metric designed to place students’ SAT scores in the context of their socioeconomic advantages or disadvantages.

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This adversity score is calculated using 15 environmental factors that influence a student’s home and school life – including the neighborhood’s crime rate and poverty levels, the community’s average educational attainment, housing values, and vacancies. While students won’t see, know or be told their scores, colleges will see the numbers when reviewing their applications.

What does this mean for rising seniors?  The college admissions landscape has changed again.  Colleges will have an objective tool that will not just consider a student’s race, but their socio-economic class in making admissions decisions.  To be clear, colleges and universities have considered socioeconomic factors previously; but the pilot study of this method using the adversity score has accelerated the inclusion of lower income and minority students.  Admissions will be even more competitive!

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

We provide our clients access to our specialized knowledge!– Dr. Paul Lowe

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

College Admissions: How will You Differentiate Yourself from the Crowd

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

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

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

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

It’s actually that simple!

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

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

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

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.

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.