3 Smart Ways to Find the College Advice You Really Need

There's a lot of college advice out there, and often it comes to you unsolicited. Here's how to find the admission tips and tricks you should be listening to.

As you enter high school, you may notice an interesting phenomenon—one that only gets more intense as you start your junior year. By the time you hit senior year, it may become a daily annoyance: everyone you know is asking you about your college search. It could be a simple question from your dentist as he cleans your teeth or a comment from your aunt during the holidays. Where are you applying to college? Not only does everyone ask about your college prospects, but they also offer advice, telling you where to apply or even how to study for the SAT.  Annoying, isn’t it?  So how do you sort through all the advice you receive? How do you know what to listen to and what to ignore? Here are three ways to figure out how to filter through all the advice you receive about the college process. 

1. Identify the experts

The first step in sorting through college advice is to figure out who you should listen to. Anyone who hasn’t applied to college in the last five years or worked closely with someone who has recently is not up to speed on what’s happening in the world of college admission. The college process changes rapidly, and with the global pandemic, it’s changing year to year. What worked for someone two years ago may not be applicable for someone who’s applying to colleges today. Be sure to take stock of who’s around you. Find out who is up to date on what’s happening with the college application process. This could be your school counselor or a trusted teacher. You can also find trusted advice online—but make sure the websites you seek information from are trusted sources—like CollegeXpress, which offers blogs and articles written by admission experts and students like you.

Related: Navigating College Search and Application Advice

2. Set some boundaries

You can take control of unsolicited advice by taking control of the conversation before it even starts. You may decide early in your college process who you’re willing to talk about it with and who you aren’t. So when you get unsolicited advice from your neighbor or an extended relative, have a response ready that shuts down the conversation before it even gets going. This can be as simple as “I’m still researching my options,” then redirect the conversation. By shutting down the topic, you take control over where the conversation goes and what type of advice you receive. You may also decide to keep conversations about the college process close to home. By not talking about the process at school or with your classmates, you’ll shield yourself from being bombarded with questions.

Related: The Best (and Worst) College Advice

3. Listen to who matters

The one person who truly matters in this process is you. Sure, you need to listen to your parents, especially regarding college costs and other factors. However, what really matters is figuring out what you want from your college process. The best way to do this is to get to know yourself. It’s essential to ask questions about what you’re looking for in your college experience. Doing personality assessments or asking yourself some simple questions can help frame the expectations you have about your college search process. 

Related: How to Figure Out What You Want to Do After College 

One of the most challenging aspects of applying to college is making sure you don’t get caught up in all the hype.  It’s easy to hear rumors or urban legends about how a student was admitted to 10 highly selective universities and think you’re doing everything wrong. Remember, by doing careful, intentional research and following your plan, you’ll have a successful college admission process that even your nosey aunt will be proud of. 

If you’re looking for some good, reliable advice to start with, consider this College Search Advice From an Admission Insider.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

Tags:

About Katherine Price

Katherine Price

Katherine Price is the founder of College Mindset, a company in which Katherine uses her experiences as a former admission officer and student affairs professional to develop a student-centered approach to college counseling. Katherine also helps students develop valuable life skills while navigating the college application process. When she isn’t working with students, she mentors new Independent Educational Consultants to help them build a college counseling curriculum that provides the right amount of challenge and support for students. 

 

Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Victoria

Victoria

High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.

Maya Ingraham

Maya Ingraham

October 2021 Mini Scholarship Winner, Class of 2022

CollegeXpress has given me more confidence in my college process. With easy-to-access resources and guidance such as the CX Weekly Roundup, I have been able to find the best colleges for me. Most importantly, there’s a surplus of scholarship opportunities for every student to support their education.

Brooke Maggio

Brooke Maggio

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me tremendously in my college search in narrowing down the schools I’m interested in. Using the college search tool, I was able to narrow down my choices to schools that matched what I was looking for. I also used CollegeXpress for their scholarship search, which helped me find scholarships that I meet the requirements of.

Hailey Riddile

Hailey Riddile

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress has helped me find scholarships to apply for and look into more colleges. While there are many websites similar to CollegeXpress, every website is different, and I've found a lot of good insight on this website. Receiving emails from CollegeXpress about scholarships is extremely useful, and getting insight about colleges near, far, and anywhere in between helps me narrow down my choices to what I want, which is also super helpful. The articles are always really good reads, and I can't stress enough how helpful this website has been to me. Anything related to college is beneficial to me as a senior, and I have learned lots of useful things to help me on my college journey this year.

Maria  Fernanda

Maria Fernanda

High School Class of 2023

CollegeXpress is always telling you with time to spare when to apply for certain scholarships, what they require, and if you’re eligible or not. They also provide helpful tips for both incoming college students and current college students, such as what to absolutely have in your dorm.

College Matches
X

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Fisher College

Boston, MA

Pacific University

Forest Grove, OR

University of Louisville

Louisville, KY