Too much advice?

People like to give advice on colleges. Family friends, teachers, and relatives may want to give advice to you regarding what colleges they should consider touring, if you should apply and whether or not you will "get in." If someone had a great college experience, or a strong alumni connection to their university, or if the college experience was not so great, the advice from adult friends and relatives may be tainted by these experiences. That is not to say they do not have your best interest at heart; however, they may be basing their suggestions on an individual experience that occurred decades ago!

These individuals can play important roles in students' lives and therefore can have a great deal of influence over students' choices. A student can be so overwhelmed with options, he may not stop to consider... Just because it was a great college for Uncle Stan, maybe it is not the best choice for me? Or perhaps the university the math teacher recommended has changed it's student culture a great deal in the since the 1980's?

How does a student handle getting many opinions from several people? Even though it may be overwhelming, it is good to listen. Listening is also probably the polite thing to do if the folks giving the unsolicited advice are adult friends and relatives. Listening is never a bad idea; it helps gain understanding.

Second, consider and filter the information. Take notes or write down the names of any recommended colleges, as they may be great schools worth looking into. When listening to the advice, try to ask, "Why do you think these would be good colleges for me?" See what kinds of responses you get and do some research afterward. You might find a gem!

Third, it is okay to gather information from a variety of source, and sometimes those sources surprise us. The college search process will be all about seeking and finding until you get that list of those "Good Fit" schools you can see yourself at. Who know, you might find a tiny, private college you never heard of that is world-renown for it's engineering graduates!

Finally, choose a small group of trusted people and limit your REAL college search discussion to these people. These are the people you share and discuss with over the course of a year of two of searching, touring, applying and selecting. Too many opinions of too many people can be too much. Your select people should include the people that know you best and know the college admissions process: parents, maybe siblings, other trusted adults in your life, a guidance counselor and of course, your college counselor.

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