As you (or your child) approach college, you’ll find everyone is an expert: friends, co-workers, the person behind you in the checkout line. Each person has a particular set of experiences, albeit limited, and is sure their experiences apply to everyone, even if it happened 27 years ago! Plus they have a whole group of friends who have given them advice (and, at times, that input can be about as helpful as second-hand smoke).

I am an true expert. I’ve been helping young people get into colleges and then careers (while avoiding long-term debt) for over 25 years. I’ve personally visited over 500 admissions offices across the US and overseas. And I can tell you that what was true just yesterday in the college arena isn’t today. (And you can forget about what was true 10, 15 or 20 years ago.) Sometimes, a lot of what is considered “gospel truth” is more like “the blind leading the blind.”

The challenge is even tougher when a strategy worked brilliantly for one student/family and it a total “miss” for another.

There are people with wonderful, applicable experiences and strategies, but in my experience, they are the minority. And they’ll sound just as convincing as the 90% who give erroneous information (which could cost a student tens-of-thousands of dollars and years of traveling the wrong path).

My advice? Be smart about the voices you listen to and sources of advice when it comes to navigating the path to college.

~Micheal McKinnon