Using Google as your counsellor – seriously!

Do you remember a day when you did not google for information? If you did that, it must have been an unusual day for you. All information you could ask for is at your fingertips, the world is at your doorstep including an ice cream at 3am in the morning. That is the world we live in.

Hence coming back to researching for college admission information, undoubtedly you will find abundance of information. And possibly too much information that is difficult to peruse and process. Now information can be of two kinds – opinions and facts. When a college website states that the lowest GMAT score of a successful candidate for the last session was 710, that is a fact. But when someone states that that college is ranked 45th, that is not exactly a fact but an opinion of some organization based on many facts and figures compiled by them. Ideally one should know the reputation of the organization doing the ranking, what objective criteria have been used to arrive at the ranking and do they also match your criteria of what defines for you a good college.

Second, when we are reading about a college, its academic excellence, great community life and placement prospects, beware that outside of the official college website, most of these are opinions of the author. Does that mean the creator of the content is an authority on the subject? Is the site hosting such information unbiased? What is the objective of the host site?

As someone eloquently said, “Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but everyone is not entitled to their own facts”. The world had its first massive encounter with “Fake News” in the 2016 presidential election in the USA. Unfortunately for the users, the net is full of information which is sometimes partly true, sometimes false, put up with the intention to influence the audience to align to the interest of the host or the content creator. And neither the worldwide web organization or Google or any other search engine is responsible for checking the authenticity of the information.  

It is quite natural that you as a student will look for college admission related information on the net using google or other search engines. But since it is not the best Mexican restaurant in your neighbourhood that you are searching for, but a matter of far greater import, you will need to exercise caution. For example, if you are feeling unwell and concerned, ever typed a symptom of sickness in one of those medical websites. If you did, sometimes you will find the information educative and sometimes scary. So of course, we do not jump to conclusions based on that information and instead go consult a doctor. Why - because you are not shopping for Burritos and Tacos!

Now just like the doctor, college admission too can be a specialist job, especially if we are talking about applying to study abroad. Perusing and analysing terabytes of information from and regarding 100s of colleges itself can be daunting. Making a shortlist of where to apply, writing your SOPs, preparing your LORs, interviews, networking with the college and alumni, requires a lot of attention and skill.  Not to mention, you must do it all in time to meet the application deadlines. Be sure that you are confident of managing it all by yourself. Otherwise find a counsellor who has your best interest in his/her heart, has had enough experience of successfully guiding students in the past and gives you the time and attention you deserve.

 Hope you found the information useful. You can speak to us for more details.


Santanu Choudhury, Founder Director of Lesli India Education (P) Ltd., and an alum of IIT Kharagpur and IIM Ahmedabad.