Do they share the outcome?

College admissions advice can come at you from all sides when you’re going through the process. From fellow students and parents to self-professed experts (some legitimate, some dubious), it can be difficult to distinguish who you should listen to and who you should ignore.

Whether the admissions-related advice comes from a paid professional, a stranger you met at a dinner party, or someone in between, vet it by asking two questions:

1. Will they benefit from your following the advice, regardless of the outcome?

2. Will they share the responsibility for the outcome if the advice proves ineffective?

Those two questions alone may not be sufficient. But they’ll help you eliminate those folks who have everything to gain, and those who have nothing to lose.

The best advice comes from those who share the outcome with you.