I’ve been particularly attuned to where my news is coming from this week as I read about the Coronavirus. Some articles are reassuring, explaining that Americans are still at greater risk from the flu than from Coronavirus. Others are pragmatic, giving clear instructions about how to wash your hands properly and whether or not face masks are effective (they’re not). And others are straight up conspiracy theories. It’s really important to understand whether your information is coming from the CDC or from www.wemakestuffup.biz. And unfortunately, the unreliable sources generally don’t advertise themselves quite so obviously.
The reason this feels so important to me as a college counselor is that my students are inundated with false and scary information about applying to college. We talk a lot at Collegewise about the myths we hear from our students. Things like, admissions officers don’t even read your essay, or my dad’s college roommate works with a guy who went to Harvard and he’s going to write a letter to get me in, or it doesn’t matter if you take hard classes – you just have to get straight A’s. And as counselors, we spend a lot of our time responding to these claims, soothing our anxious students and families, and trying to share good information about applying to college.
So with that in mind, I’d encourage you to apply the same standards to your college application advice that you would to your Coronavirus advice. Schedule a meeting with your school counselor, start following some of the colleges you like on Twitter, or read Georgia Tech’s epic college admissions blog. And wash your hands. Not for your college applications, but pretty much for everything else.