27 Sep Party with Moms Interviews Admissions Expert, Dr. Paul Lowe
Dr. Paul Lowe is managing director of Greenwich Admissions Advisors, a boutique firm that helps place students into top-flight schools. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Lowe and discuss his firm and business philosophy.
Generally, Lowe helps clients who are applying to elite universities, private schools and medical schools. For the consulting services provided, Lowe charges a flat fee that ranges from $5,000 to as to high as $250,000, depending on the type of specialized admissions or strategic advisory service.
PWM – How did you get into this line of work?
Dr. Lowe – I was a physician-scientist, worked on Wall Street for a year and was a serial entrepreneur. During this time, I also was a Brown University alumni interviewer. I discovered as a Brown interviewer that applicants, regardless of their socio-economic status, were not really prepared for the competitive college application process. I became a college admissions adviser specializing in Ivies and top-tier colleges about 21 years ago and branched out to elite and prestigious private day and boarding schools 11 years ago.
PWM – What schools do you primarily focus on?
Dr Lowe – We focus on Ivy League colleges and universities, top private day and boarding schools, top graduate and medical schools and BS MD programs. The Elite Eight – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell and UPenn, and the top-tier schools like Duke, Stanford, Johns Hopkins, Tufts, MIT, etc. My wife, three children and I were all accepted to and attended the Ivies, so that’s what I know and believe in. As an African-American family, with West Indian heritage (I was born in Jamaica), it’s always been important to us to focus on achieving the very best, and education is very important. It’s the ultimate American dream, and now international dream as well, to attend an Ivy League school and a top private school.
PWM – Why the Ivy League and private schools?
Dr. Lowe – I often hear parents and even other independent educational consultants say it’s about the fit. For many people, especially the clientele with whom I interact, so-called prestige and brand-name schools are important to them because they know they can have an education where they are surrounded by exceptional students and faculty. So, they strive for the very best possible education, then they find the fit among those institutions. Many years ago, I had a client and she was just a superstar. She was admitted to multiple Ivies; she chose Dartmouth because she was an outdoorsy-type athlete. She loved to ski and hike and climb mountains, so that was a better fit for her than Harvard, Yale, Brown or Columbia.
PWM – What is your admissions strategy?
Dr. Lowe – That begins with who I am. Being African American, Ivy League-trained, having knowledge of several languages (and cultures) and being a jazz musician allows me to understand and interpret people. Successful admissions is about understanding, appreciating and respecting different nuances in cultures, ethnicities and human nature. It’s about a thorough analysis and interpretation of the changes in business, economic, socio-political and admissions trends. It’s an art as well as a science mixed in with insight, foresight and experience.
Being different in this industry (Lowe laughs), and appreciating and embracing the challenges of being different allow me and my team to help my clients stand out and get accepted into their top-choice schools. When I walk into certain situations, based on people’s reactions and non-verbal cues, I feel and know that I am perceived as different. I use that art and sensitivity to help my clients successfully stand out.
PWM – What type of strategic services do you provide?
Dr. Lowe – In addition to traditional college admissions, we also provide concierge strategic consulting services to legacy, development and resumed education applicants.
PWM – What makes your firm stand out?
Dr. Lowe – We are an African – American owned and managed firm that specializes in admissions to elite educational institutions. Our core team and supportive administrative staff respect and have different and diverse thinking styles. We are not a jack-of all-trades firm that provides tutoring services and other educational ancillary services or own and manage schools. A successful record in admissions is not achieved by chance or luck. My team and I treat the admissions process as a competitive sport so that our clients can win!
PWM – How has “Varsity Blues” affected your business?
Dr. Lowe – The reaction of people has been very interesting. Of course, no one is happy with the cheating and bribery scandal. Because we are an honest, transparent and trusted firm, more parents are calling us. People are aware of the competition to gain entrance into top schools and are now more aware of unethical aspects in this industry. They are also now more aware of high-end admissions advisors, like me, who provide specialized concierge-type services.
PWM – What should new clients of yours expect?
Dr. Lowe – I focus specifically on positive outcomes and success. I am enthusiastic and detailed in pursuing this goal and leave no stone unturned in preparing my clients. They know that I truly care about getting their child accepted into top schools. The process really starts with a question – How can my team and I, using the inherent academic, artistic or athletic qualities of a student, present him/her in a positive light to an admissions committee of seven to eight different people?
PWM – Who makes up the bulk of your clientele?
Dr. Lowe – About 60 percent of our clients are international families who reside in the U.S. or other countries. The balance are mostly families who reside in the tri-state area and southern states. We cater to families who want the best admissions outcome for their children and can afford our services. Our services are not for everyone.
PWM – For those parents and students who are striving for the elite school experiences, what should Greenwich parents realize about getting into a top school?
Dr. Lowe – Many U.S. parents have this idea that their children are only competing with other children locally and regionally. They have no idea or may be in denial of the global educational competition. Parents from the midwestern states or desert southwest may want their child to attend east coast private school. Families may be relocating from the south or the west coast. And of course, there are the international students from Brazil, Russia, India, China and now Africa. Parents of these students understand the competitive advantage of hiring a private, on-call admissions adviser and the global value of a U.S. educational pedigree.
PWM – Can you talk more about your fees?
Dr. Lowe – Our fees are a value-added investment in a child’s future. Our clients view our fees, not as a cost, but as an investment in their child’s future and to them that’s worth more than real estate, a second home, or a fancy car. A child’s future is not a depreciating asset, it’s not even an asset. Your child is your legacy! Hiring our firm is simply a choice whether to give your child a competitive advantage.
PWM – What’s the hardest part of your job? What’s the most rewarding?
Dr. Lowe – Most difficult – It can be difficult to have a parent step back in this process. It’s understandable because they have spent years planning and doing everything for their child, but its challenging when parents assume that they are the admissions experts during their child’s admissions journey because they read several books on college admissions or an article on college admissions. Or when they believe that a “connection” will get their child admitted to a school. Parents, in our target market, are very intelligent, well-educated, in many cases well-connected and well-off financially. However, they fail to understand that their skill sets in business, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, engineering do not apply to the admissions universe or may be detrimental to successfully navigating their child’s college admissions process or admission to a private school.
Most rewarding – It’s very rewarding to witness the student blossoming. They develop a self-assurance as this process progresses. Of course, I love when I see parents and children celebrate the acceptance to their top-choice schools (the family hugs, pets included), when I’m invited to my client’s high school and (four years later) college graduation. And what is truly gratifying for me is when I hear that my client is vice president of a major investment banking firm, a partner in a white-shoe law firm, CEO of a unicorn, a practicing physician, or the lead attorney in a major government agency. They are just happy moments! It’s a wonderful feeling.
“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 affiliates: Ivy League Admissions Advisors and Private School Admissions Advisors 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.