One of the more persistent themes I find myself having to impress upon families and adult students I work with, as well as colleagues involved in various components of the College Search is the idea that there are no magic answers.

What is the right school for Caitlin?

Should Brad take the SAT or ACT?

What about online courses?

Is it worth it to have him live on campus?

Should Ashley take  AP German or ‘just’ German 4?

Is a community college better for Justin or a four year institution?  What about trade school?

Is a Gap year the answer?

Should we apply to that expensive private school, when we know we can’t afford it unless a big financial aid package comes in or we finally hit Powerball?

The answer to these, and other, exciting questions is – it depends.  And the answer to most “BIG” questions during your college search will be  – it depends.

I don’t say this because I don’t know the answer.  I say this because I think I DO know the answer.  It depends.

In a previous post, I stated that there are no magic answers, but lots of good information, good people and good advice.  And be wary of those who sell you the reverse.   I think it’s hard to overstate that theme.

You may think that this is fairly obvious.  But in the heat of the moment, when your living room floor is covered with glossy college brochures and the phone is ringing and the emails are binging – it is VERY tempting to say, “Just tell me what @^^@$#$ school we should pick, already!”

I won’t, and neither should anybody providing you with advice.

Some answers are “less gray” than others.  But, ultimately it is not my life and not my college experience.  (And not my money.)  My responsibility is to provide you with the pros and cons of each choice.  One of my mantras for College Counseling for the Rest of Us has been to teach you how to fish rather than provide you with fish (or to teach you how to drive rather than chauffeur you through the college search journey, if you are not a fish person).  I hope I have done that, and continue to do that, throughout my role as college counselor.  For the Rest of Us.

Since today is my birthday, I’ll keep this week’s blog post short and sweet.  I wish you happy and safe travels in your college quest; please always feel free to reach out if you have questions or concerns!

As always, I welcome your comments and questions.  Please feel free to email me at, call or text me at 908-403-3819, join me on Facebook on “College Counseling for the Rest of Usand join me on Twitter at @MichaelCCR.