Responding vs. correcting

Counselors, how do you respond when a student or parent makes a statement as if it’s a fact?

That college is a lot easier to get into if you apply in the liberal arts.

Without a great SAT score, the best colleges won’t even look at you.

That school gives preference to ______ (alumni/athletes/minorities, etc.).

They’re not asking you a question. They’re not seeking your opinion. But you also have a professional responsibility. To let a factually inaccurate statement go unchecked, especially one that could affect the student’s college planning, is a tacit endorsement of the statement.

Here’s a non-confrontational way to consider responding:

“Oh, really? That hasn’t been my experience.”

Tone is everything here. Say it as if you’re simply curious, not combative. Use the same voice you’d use if responding, “Really? That’s interesting.”

Many students and parents will then choose to engage further, especially if the topic is one that affects decisions they’re making. And then you’re in the role of responding to their inquiry, not correcting their misinformation.