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Through our very own editors and guest writers, this blog will discuss the INSIDE scoop on the admissions process of various schools and programs. If you wish to ask a specific question, please write to us, and we will make every attempt to address your questions in our future blog discussions.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Stepping Away from Google for your College Search
The New Year may mean many things to many different students. Some graduate schools have end-of-January deadlines for the 2016 admissions cycle. Many undergraduates are still waiting on responses to their Fall 2015 applications. Still other high school juniors or gap-year undergrads may just be starting the admissions journey. Whatever lily pad you're sitting on, I'd like to offer a morsel of unsolicited, and unsubstantiated advice:

Step away from your computer.

Don't get me wrong. The internet can be a bottomless treasure chest. With the utmost respect to old-fashioned encyclopedias, the internet has revolutionized our ability to access information, almost effortlessly. At the same time, it's full of some things that are literally impossible to regulate. The worst offender?

Opinions. Yes, I see the irony here.

The thing is, it's easy for opinions to be spun into facts. The internet is the Petri dish for that kind of viral growth. It's like an old-fashioned game of "telephone" on a global scale. Which isn't to say that sites like College Prowler and Rate my Professor don't have some anecdotal value. It's just that, when making the decision about which college to attend and why, students can't slip down the rabbit hole of water-cooler chat.

The most vocal reporters are usually the unhappy ones-just ask any business with a Yelp page. So if you're hearing negative vibes about your college of choice, or being swept up in broad myths about who gets admitted and for what reasons-you may want to just step back. For a start, no one ever fully understands why some students get admitted and others don't. That kind of speculation will just lead to a frustrating loop of answerless musing that is only going to add to what is already a high-anxiety process.

So take a break from Google, or at least consider the sources of your information. Go straight to the college websites. Talk to your school counselor. Hit up some alumni. Read a book.

Let this be your resolution. At least for a few weeks.

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