The college application process is complicated, and it’s understandable that families would want to seek as much information as they possibly can. But, we have learned over many years of doing this work that too much advice can actually work against you. Here are a few examples when it makes sense to cut down the outside advice and maybe even trust your own gut.
Essays: If you ask 10 people for their thoughts on your essay, you will get 10 different responses. The essay is indeed and important, and it’s never a good idea to send it in without having at least one person edit it. We recommend that each essay is read by two people: a College Counselor and an Essay Specialist or English Teacher. These two perspectives can help provide students with a nice balance of both what the college is looking for, and putting forth a very strong piece of writing. But asking too many people will likely leave students scratching their heads about the best direction for the essay, and the student might lose their own voice or perspective, which is not a good thing.
Opinions on colleges: As with the essay, if you ask 10 people about a particular college, you will get 10 different responses. Some people will love the school, and some will hate it. And, some may have had a great-uncle Joe who graduated from there, so they consider themselves experts. You have to make up your own mind about a school. Visiting, touring, attending campus events, and talking with admission counselors will give you much better information about the school and whether it’s right for you.
Admission Policies: The best source for information related to a particular college’s admission policies is that college directly. If you see something on a website somewhere, or hear from a friend that a college has extended its deadline, for example, don’t trust it. In this case, there is one true source of the most accurate information: the college itself. Never hesitate to pick up the phone and call the admission office or other campus resource when you have a question. If you are hearing multiple things from multiple people, then call!
It’s understandable that families want to seek out as much information as they possibly can, and often reach out to friends, family members, etc. But, picking one trusted college counselor to see you through will serve you much better.