Most statements that begin with “I heard that…” are suspect.
When I was in 7th grade, a student named Jano wasn’t at school one morning. First people started saying, “I heard that Jano got hit by a car on his bike this morning.” By lunch, it was, “I heard that after Jano got hit, he was gushing blood from his head while lying in the street.” By the time I got to 7th period PE, it was, “I heard that Jano died in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.
The next day, Jano was back at school. Not dead. Not bleeding. Not even hurt. I’m not even sure that he owned a bike.
When you know your source is credible, you automatically cite it because you want your audience to believe you. So you lead with, “My stockbroker told me…” or, “My personal trainer showed me…” or, “I spoke with the head chef and she recommended…”
But “I heard that…” always means that you either don’t have a source, or you have an unproven source and don’t want to look stupid by citing him or her.
That’s why most college admissions questions I get from audiences at seminars that begin with “I heard that…” are usually followed by something ranging from partially inaccurate to absolutely ridiculous.
The “I heard that-s…” are usually citing a neighbor, or a fellow parent, or an uncle. They’re almost never getting their information from a college admissions expert of any kind.
Nobody who got their information from a high school counselor or an admissions officer or a knowledgeable private counselor starts a question with, “I heard that…” They cite the source.
I’m not saying that the college admissions process is so complicated and steeped in secrecy that it’s understood by only a select few; anyone can learn more about it if you take the time.
But you still shouldn’t take advice from, or make decisions based on the stories of, other people who are just sharing unsubstantiated rumors rather than real knowledge.
Seek out good sources of advice and information. Read college guidebooks. Visit colleges’ websites. Go to college fairs. Talk with admissions officers. Meet with your high school counselor. Read this blog and others you find helpful. Talk to people you trust who really know what they’re doing.
But whenever someone gives you college admissions information that starts with, “I heard…,” ask them to cite the source before you make any changes to your college planning.