Top Boarding Schools – It’s Getting More Competitive to Be Accepted!

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It’s April and parents continue to frantically call our offices or email us regarding waitlists!  The common message: My child was waitlisted at a particular top boarding school or several boarding schools.  They’re usually referring to one or all of the Ten Schools.  Many decide to wait patiently, try to see what they can do on their own and then perhaps reapply next year to the 10th grade on their own.

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Here is the problem with this approach.  The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected boarding school admissions. More parents are interested in the boarding school dynamic and aware of the superior education at top boarding schools. A recently published article in the New York Times: “The Boarding-School Boom” has confirmed what we have been advising our clients who have been accepted to top boarding schools…..there is now hyper-competition in boarding school admissions.

Several schools have reported to us, this year, that they had a record number of applicants and they were able to admit a mere 10% of all applicants (as opposed to 14-18% in past years).  What does this mean?  Getting off the waitlist will be difficult!  More students will remain on the waitlist and will inevitably be perpetually waitlisted (effectively, rejected).  For many of the competitive schools, April 10th is the date admitted students are asked to notify the Admission Office of their enrollment decision.  After this date, many parents know if their children will be starting public school in the fall and will have to decide if their children will be reapplying next year for the 10th grade.  The reapplication to boarding schools (especially ones where students were waitlisted or rejected) can be tricky and will involve different admissions strategies.

Successful boarding school admissions requires expertise and experience to understand how to manage risks, navigate pitfalls, design the right admissions strategies, and most importantly understand the admissions policies and professionals who are making admissions decisions – in other words an admissions expert!

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

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s  Boarding School Admissions Consultants, an affiliate of Private School Admissions Advisors.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. boarding schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.

College Admissions – Teacher Recommendations

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Teacher recommendations are an important part of the college admissions process. Many colleges and universities require two teacher recommendations.

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Letters of recommendation should be from teachers who have taught you in core academic subjects in your junior or senior year. Ideally, they should be from different core subject areas and from teachers who know you well, like you, and are likely to write well. From my discussion with admissions officers, colleges are more interested in obtaining teacher recommendations from instructors that describe your abilities, performance and motivation of success in their classroom and your willingness to work hard as a learner. My discussion with several Ivy League admissions officers revealed that they use teacher recommendations to add a more subjective and personal perspective to their assessment of your qualifications, which can reveal aspects of your personality that don’t always come out on paper.

You should approach your teachers in the early spring of your junior year, or, if you are asking senior teacher, early in the fall of your senior year not only to to give them sufficient time to write the letter, but also because many teachers set limits on how many students they are able to accommodate.

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We developed customized steps, our Winning Recommendation Strategies (WRS) for each client so that they obtain excellent teacher recommendations from the right teachers! We are confident that our client’s teachers will write enthusiastically supportive letters of recommendations!


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

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Dr. Paul Lowe, Admissions Expert

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.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.

Waitlisted at Private Schools – Now What?

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Since March 2nd, my firm has been inundated with continuous inquires (phone calls and emails) from stunned and stressed-out parents because their children are wait-listed.  Many of the inquiries are from parents whose children have been wait-listed from ALL schools to which they applied!

One of the effects of COVID-19 on private school admissions is that more families are choosing private school for their children; thus, the competition has increased. Private schools that were competitive are now hyper-competitive and schools that were marginally competitive are now competitive. We have observed an increase in applications (and therefore waitlisted applicants) in schools in the tri-state area, especially the “Fairchester” area (Westchester and Fairfield Counties) and Northern New Jersey

WAIT-LISTED means that “we love your child, but we don’t have spot available today, tomorrow or perhaps never”.  Two factors are important to consider:

  • SOMETHING WASN’T RIGHT in your child’s application process.  Parents make a lot of mistakes on their child’s application.
  • In this hypercompetitive environment, in many cases, wait-listed may be “forever”. Top schools rarely “reject” students outright.  The outcome, however, remains unchanged…a perpetually waitlisted student has not been accepted and will not have a place in their private school of choice.

Many parents are mistakenly drawing from their skills as corporate executives, tiger moms, financiers, etc. rather than accepting the benefits of a consultant’s professional skills and years of experience in private admissions diplomacy. An understanding of real-time changes, as well as nuances particular to each school at a particular point in time are important for successful outcomes in private school admissions to top schools.  Many parents also fail to fully appreciate and understand the human element of diplomacy in the selection process and decisions in private school admissions.  As a result, after the waitlist, they reapply again only to be waitlisted AGAIN.

When parents call our firm to inquire about our services, they engage us because they understand the importance of investing in their child’s educational future.  The successful outcome is invaluable and preferable compared to the prospect of their child being waitlisted again and again and again.


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s Private School Admissions Advisors.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding and day schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. private schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.   Dr. Lowe provides parents with the knowledge they need to decide where there children should attend and the admissions strategies they need to be admitted into their top-choice school.

Dr. Paul Lowe’s Private School Review: Hackley School

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Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors visits and reviews top private day and boarding schools. Hackley School is rated by Niche as:  #2 Best Private High School in Westchester, County NY. It is a coeducational K-12 school day school with a five-day boarding program located in Tarrytown, NY. It’s motto: “Enter here to be and find a friend.”

Here are some interesting facts:

  • Student/Faculty Ratio – 7:1
  • Average Upper School Class Size – 16
  • Student-led Upper School Clubs: 42
  • 27 different sports with over 64 teams across grades 7-12
  • Tuition (Lower School/K-Grade 4): $42,460
  • Tuition (Middle School/Grades 5-8): $46,980
  • Tuition (Upper School/Grades 9-12): $49,975 / Additional $15,000 for 5- day boarding fee
  • Hackley has a five-day boarding program for 30 residential students in grades 9-12.
  • Hackley’s COVID-19 Response

Hackley’s college matriculation rate to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities is high.  College Matriculation for the Classes of 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The following colleges and universities enrolled five or more Hackley graduates during this period:

  • Brown
  • Colgate
  • Cornell
  • Dartmouth
  • Duke
  • Georgetown
  • Harvard
  • Johns Hopkins
  • Northwestern
  • Princeton
  • Tufts
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Michigan
  • UPenn
  • Yale
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Hackley is one of the top day schools in the Fairchester (Fairfield/Westchester) region. Admissions is hyper-competitive.  It’s one of the many reasons why many parents who reside in Westchester and Fairfield Counties retain our firm!


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

Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group’s  Boarding School Admissions Consultants, an affiliate of Private School Admissions Advisors.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international students who are interested in applying to top U.S. boarding schools.  Dr. Lowe helps U.S. and international students gain admissions into top U.S. boarding schools even after they have been wait-listed and rejected.  Dr. Lowe and his team of admissions advisors also visit prestigious and elite private schools, where they have the unique opportunity of interacting one-on-one with heads of schools, directors of admissions and senior admissions personnel.

Dr. Paul Lowe featured on MarketWatch

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Dr. Paul Lowe, Managing Director – Ivy League Admissions Advisors

Dr. Paul Lowe, CEO of Pinnacle Educational Center and managing director of Ivy League Admissions Advisors was featured in a February 26, 2021 MarketWatch article by Howard Gold entitled:COVID-19 is changing college application strategies — and lowering the odds of getting into top schools”.

Ivy League Admissions Advisors helps students get accepted to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities and BS/MD programs.

“We are not for everyone,” says Dr. Lowe. “Only parents who want their children to have expert advice and a competitive advantage in the college admission process hire us.”


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Being different and understanding differences allows us to
advise our clients to stand out and get ACCEPTED
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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.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.

Why Attend An Ivy League University?

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With record number of students applying to Ivy League schools you may wish to ask WHY the Ivies?

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The annual cost to attend (tuition, fees, housing, food, books, misc.) gives pause to many potential applicants:  Harvard: $76,479; Brown: $78,688; Princeton: $75,210; Dartmouth: $79,967. So, what’s really happening here?  Tuition is rising, yet U.S. as well as international students are competitively applying to these schools.  What do these institutions have that others may not?  This is a question I hear, year after year, and from several parents in my recent webinar.  

Let’s start with the seemingly intangibles:

  • The institutions have prestigious brands
  • They have global alumni networks
  • They maintain international connections on every continent.

And then there is more – money!  Or in the non-profit lexicon, endowments (in 2020) for example:  Harvard $41.9 billion; Yale $31.2 billion, Princeton $25.9 billion, UPenn: $14.9 billion, Columbia: 41.0 billion, Cornell: $7.2 billion, Dartmouth: $6.0 billion, Brown: $4.7 billion.  The Ivies have the financial assets to weather the COVID-19 tsunami and provide top-rate education without any drastic financial cuts.  

You might ask why this even matters. Far fewer than 1 percent of undergraduate students at American colleges and universities attend the Ivy League or similarly selective schools. But who gets into these institutions makes a difference for the United States, because their graduates are so overrepresented in our country’s Judicial Branch. Every current Supreme Court justice, save one, attended an Ivy League law school: Justice Alito (Yale), Justice Barrett (Notre Dame), Justice Breyer (Harvard), Justice Gorsuch (Harvard), Justice Kavanaugh (Yale), Justice Kagan (Harvard), Chief Justice Roberts (Harvard), Sotomayor (Yale) and Justice Thomas (Yale).

Several recent U.S. presidents including Donald Trump have been educated, at some point, at an Ivy League school — including Yale double legacy George W. Bush, Bill Clinton (Yale) and Barack Obama (Columbia and Harvard).  More than 40 Harvard alumni — either undergrad or graduate — won seats in Congress in 2016. Newly appoint and current Secretary of the Treasury, Janet Yellen Brown (Economics/AB) Yale Economics/PhD).

So why attend an Ivy League university?  When you imagine the possibilities, the question should be…”Why not?


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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.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.

Regular Decision Notification Dates: 2021

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Based on our research and discussions with directors/deans of admissions and admissions officers, regular decision applicants will be receiving their decision notifications in March and early April. It will be another highly competitive year!

Ivy League and highly selective colleges are already reporting a surge in regular decision applications.  The reason for this dramatic increase is likely multifactorial.  Perhaps, this is primarily because many students who took gap years and are now applying.  Additionally, more international students are applying and the prestige and brand of elite colleges is more coveted in a market of uncertainty.  Add to these facts many colleges have accelerated planned changes their standardized testing requirements since the start of the pandemic, which has encouraged more high school seniors to apply. 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE RESULT? Harvard surged by 42% to 57,000 applicants, Brown surged by 26% to 46,469 applicants and Princeton surged by 15% to 37,000 applicants.  The increase in applications has affected the highly competitive schools as well as the institutions that top students usually considered “safety schools”.  NYU surged by 20% to 100,000 applicants, UCLA surged by 28% to 139,000 applicants and Colgate surged by 102% to 17,392 applicants (last year Colgate had 8,582 applicants).

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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Within a month or so high school seniors will begin to discover, after all their hard work that they will be accepted, wait-listed or rejected. In this case, many will be rejected! Specifically, based on our projections, over 95% of students who applied to the Ivies will be rejected!

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

  • Barnard College:  Late March 2021
  • Boston College:  April 1, 2021
  • Boston University: Late March 2021
  • Brown University:  April 6, 2021
  • Bucknell University:  April 1, 2021
  • California Institute of Technology: Mid-March 2021
  • Carnegie Mellon University:  April 1, 2021
  • Colgate University: Mid-March
  • Columbia University:  April 6, 2021
  • Cornell University:  April 6, 2021
  • Dartmouth University:  April 6, 2021
  • Duke University:  Late March, 2021
  • Georgetown University:  April 1, 2021
  • Georgia Institute of Technology:  Late March 2021
  • Hamilton College:  Late March 2021
  • Harvard University:  April 6, 2021
  • Johns Hopkins University:  April 1, 2021
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  Mid-March 2021
  • New York University:  April 1, 2021
  • Northwestern University: Late March 2021
  • Princeton University: April 6, 2021
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: March 6, 2021
  • Stanford University:  April 9, 2021
  • Swarthmore College: Mid-March 2021
  • Tufts University:  Mid-March 2021
  • University of Chicago:  Late March 2021
  • University of Michigan: Early April 2021
  • University of Notre Dame:  Late March
  • University of Pennsylvania:  April 6, 2021
  • University of Virginia:  April 1, 2021
  • Vanderbilt University:  April 1, 2021
  • Vassar College:  Late March 2021
  • Villanova University:  Late March 2021
  • Wesleyan University:  Late March 2021
  • Yale University:  April 6, 2021

WHAT CAN YOU DO? For seniors, if you are rejected, you may want to begin to consider transferring (College Transfer Admissions Advisors). For current juniors, you may need to consider hiring an admissions expert who specializes in Ivy League admissions (Ivy League Admissions Advisors). Year after year, our clients are accepted to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities and BS/MD programs because they recognize the importance and the value that we add to their student profile… We are DIFFERENT and that makes us the BEST!

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Hire the best admissions expert who is different! Don’t take chances!

Please bookmark this blog. We will update decision dates as soon as we hear from schools!


“Being different and understanding differences allow me to help our clients stand out and be accepted!” – Dr. Paul Lowe

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

“Parents hire us because they choose to pay an admissions expert who will help them avoid making mistakes.” – Dr. Paul Lowe

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It’s A New Admissions Year – 2021

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Happy New Year! Welcome to Dr. Paul Lowe Admissions Expert Blog – 2021

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The past year has been full of uncertainty. As a consequence of the myriad of transitions, changes, adjustments and adaptations, now there’s a whole new admissions world. Education has moved from in-person to online learning and there has been an increase in the number of applications to top private day and boarding schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities and BS/MD programs! The College Board recently announced that it is eliminating the SAT subject tests and optional essay-writing section!

The one constant we have observed last year and the beginning of this year, is that parents want the best education for their children whether it’s K-12, college or graduate school.

As families navigate through these extraordinary and unparalleled admissions times, having an expert who can help make objective decisions is invaluable. As experts, we understand the fluctuating landscape and degrees of complexity in the current admissions scenarios so that students can avoid mistakes, stay focused and attain successful admissions decisions. Our knowledge-intelligence that results in our admissions success involves our ability to plan, to know how to adjust and when to change effectively.

Following last year’s admissions season, we heard from many parents and school counselors whose students applied ED to the Ivies and were rejected, yet we have clients who were accepted ED to Harvard, Yale, Brown, UPenn, Columbia and Cornell. And our Brown PLME acceptance rate was just amazing!  Brown PLME: Early Decision Results

Year after year, parents and fellow consultants ask us, what’s your secret? How do you provide stellar admissions results? It’s actually quite simple and conspicuously obvious….We are DIFFERENT!

Dr. Lowe and his team collectively, through their insight, foresight, proprietary- knowledge, wisdom and confidence, choose the best admissions strategies to be applied prudently for the best decision results – That’s our secret!

This year, many parents will be extremely happy because they will use our SECRET!

Each year, admissions policies and strategies change, so stay tuned for my upcoming, informative, helpful and thought-provoking admissions blogs!

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“Being different and understanding differences allow me to help our clients stand out and be accepted!” – Dr. Paul Lowe

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

“Parents hire us because they choose to pay an admissions expert who will help them avoid making mistakes.” – Dr. Paul Lowe

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Dr. Paul Lowe, Admissions Expert

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 s. Boarding School affiliate: Boarding School Admissions Consultants and BS/MD Programs affiliate: BS/MD Admissions Advisors.

Brown PLME: Early Decision Results

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This year, we have had an increased number of clients applying to direct BS/MD programs. Few of our clients, by their choice, decided to apply to Brown Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) because they felt that ED may be too restrictive. We respect our clients’ choices!

Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME) reported: From a pool of 2,530 ED applicants, 88 students were admitted to PLME.

We are happy to report Dr. Lowe and his team’s results. Here are the results of our 8 clients who applied to Brown PLME Early Decision:

  • 5 were admitted to the College and PLME
  • 1 was rejected from PLME, but admitted to the College
  • 1 deferred from PLME to regular decision
  • 1 rejected from PLME (College and PLME), but was accepted Early Action to MIT

Brown University: “PLME applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a video portfolio as part of the application process. The video portfolio provides a wonderful opportunity for us to learn more about you.” 

This year, Dr. Lowe and his admissions team partnered with the affiliate website: College Admissions Video Productions and successfully advised their clients in developing amazing video portfolios!

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High school juniors who are considering BS/MD programs, please read my blog – High School Juniors: Time to Get Serious About BS/MD Plans.

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“Valuable and expert advice is never free or cheap” Dr. Paul Lowe
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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.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.

Ivy League Early Applications Increase

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This week seniors received their application decisions! What was discovered is that the the number of early applications had soared as compared to last year.

I recall at one of my webinars that several parents surmised that the numbers would decrease as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the expected decrease in international applicants. I disagreed! Based on our analysis, we know that the Ivies’ brands soar in tough times.

Let’s take colleges that just released their early admissions results. Harvard had 10,086 application and accepted 747; last year 6,424 applicants and admitted 895. Brown University‘s early application rose by 22%, 23% at UPenn, 29% at Dartmouth and 49% at Columbia. From, time to time I have heard parents, high school counselors and even fellow educational consultants state that “it doesn’t really matter where you attend college as long as it’s a good fit“. Really! These numbers or increase percentages speak otherwise!

Now what, may you ask accounts for the soar in early applications? Here’s a blog that I wrote: Why Your Child Should Apply to an Ivy League College or University. and another blog: Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education U.S. College Rankings 2021.

What does this mean for students who were deferred? They are now in the regular application pool and it’s going to be even more competitive! Since you are in the larger pool, you will need to continue to attempt to standout and distinguish yourself from other applicants who were deferred and regular decision applicants. Our firm we provides “Post-Application Submission Deferred Strategies”.


“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.  For colleges and universities that recommend or require videos: College Admissions Video Productions.