College Admissions Is A Competitive Sport – How To Win Your Personal Admissions Game!

College Admissions Is A Competitive Sport – How To Win Your Personal Admissions Game!


By Admissions Expert, Dr. Paul Lowe

Many parents, students, guidance/college counselors, and even my fellow educational consulting colleagues are under the belief that college admissions is an exercise in determining the “right fit” and that gaining acceptance into the Ivies and highly selective colleges is just a game of chance and luck. I disagree!

In participating in competitions these days, many students (K-12) are taught that everyone wins. With regard to the college admissions process, it is acceptable and recommended that students believe they will eventually like whichever college where they end up. That’s called SETTLING!

This statement may appear callous and insensitive. But it is a statement that addresses the harsh reality of the competitiveness of college admissions. The sooner one addresses this reality, the easier the college admissions process will seem. Indeed, this reality would seem less harsh if students were to stop treating the college admissions process as a structured maze to be followed to a definitive end or as a predetermined algorithm.

I approach college admissions as a non-formulaic, competitive sport. It’s about WINNING the ultimate trophy – acceptance into your top choice college. After all, students are not taking all those APs, attempting to get perfect SAT scores, requesting seemingly perfect letters of recommendation, and getting A’s to lose! By definition, you don’t play a competitive sport to lose!

Highly selective schools certainly have their choice of the cream-of-the-crop students as a result of all the applications they receive. Therefore, the real part of the competition is to understand and recognize how you can stand out and win, especially in applications to the Ivies and highly selective colleges.

Because college admissions is a competitive sport, we proceed accordingly with our advisory services and prepare our clients as competitive athletes – to win! We know that successful athletes must cultivate the positive qualities that are necessary to achieve victory-to win.

  • Persistence: Endure until the end. Persistence is simply the quality of always continuing to move forward and to continue regardless of perceived or real setbacks and challenges. We cultivate our clients’ positive aspirations by encouraging persistent determination.
  • Have a positive mindset: Being positive is an integral and intrinsic aspect of having the right winning mindset. We constantly help our clients maintain a positive mindset to win!
  • Self-Confidence: Really successful athletes are secure in their ability to play their best game. We believe that qualified students should project themselves as successful athletes with inner confidence through their body language in a positive manner, a sort of positive posture. We encourage our clients to convey energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude in communicating their achievements to key admissions officers and admissions committees.
  • Humility: Ego (parental and student) is one of the largest reasons why qualified applicants are rejected. I recall an Ivy League Admissions officer stating that when reading many students’ applications “these students think they are all that.” If you practice humility, you will become an internally motivated person. You will seek to achieve and improve yourself not for external validation, but to satisfy your own desire to keep growing as an athlete and a person.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice: Practice deliberately with a purpose. Ultra-successful athletes reach their success by practicing with a deliberate purpose. They understand that in order to perform a skill at the highest level, they must practice it until they master it. Successful athletes waste no time getting right into their routine and practice with mindfulness. They don’t zone out or go through the motions. Instead, successful athletes focus on the mechanics, feel, vibe, and repetition of developing new skills in order to become an elite athlete. We encourage and motivate our clients to constantly practice with a purpose!
  • Rhythm: Rhythm is defined as the expression of timing, and its practicality in sports is vast. Linear speed requires a well-timed sequence of (rhythmic) contralateral action. Any delays or errors in this timing can drastically limit velocity of movement. Rhythm plays a significant role in an athlete’s ability to successfully change direction fluidly and in time with extraneous factors such as teammates, opponents and apparatus (i.e. ball etc.). Rhythm is a singular characteristic within the broader scope of coordination. As a jazz harmonicist and banjoist (and physicist), who applies African Drumming, Blues, R&B, Calypso, Reggae, Funk, Hip Hop, Go-Go Swing, I naturally apply the use of rhythm to the competitive college admissions and application process. It helps our clients adapt in an improvisational, non-linear and harmonic way to the nuances and changes in their college admissions journey and ultimately gets them accepted into their top choice colleges.

As a successful college admissions advisor, I apply my special “athletic coaching” skills and “rhythmic” musical strategies to help my clients successfully achieve their college admissions goals: ACCEPTANCE LETTERS. Our strategic vision allows us to create, design and develop a compelling and distinctive personal brand for each of our clients. This vision elevates and differentiates our clients in the competitive admissions environment so that they become WINNERS and are accepted into their top-choice schools.

“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 Greenwich Admissions Advisors. Tel. (203) 542-7288, and founder of Ivy League Admissions Advisors a part of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.

Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for families and students who are interested in applying to top private schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been wait-listed and rejected. Dr. Lowe and his Greenwich Admissions Advisors team provide house-calls for families with extremely busy schedules who can’t come to their office.