A word to my fellow Connecticut parents: other Connecticut parents are not education experts

By General Education Advice

“One of my friends told me…” Much like investment advice from random people makes no sense to follow without due diligence, advice from Connecticut parent circles should follow the same guidelines.

Parents dealing with their first child’s experience navigating the high school to college transition often defer to parents who have done so previously. In doing so, they make an enormous mistake: the older parent is – at best – an expert on what worked for one or two children. Those children and their goals might not be similar to yours.

I’ll add that school specific advice can be quite good: the reputation of certain teachers at Guilford High School is known by Guilford parents.  But that a Guilford parent has a poor view of a specific college might have no relevance to your child or, better said, will only have relevance if your children are very similar.

Unfortunately, most parents with their first child taking the SATs and applying to college are so stressed that they assume that someone with such singular experience is an expert. Most are not and some give downright harmful advice.   This happened recently when a Madison family told me that “Mr. Big” had disparaged a certain college.   I know Mr. Big.  His sons were clients.  He’s a smart man.  His criticism of the particular college related to how the college was ill-suited to his sons.  But his sons were entirely different than the client’s child.

Experts have general knowledge that is based on thousands of different patterns.  Generally, that’s where you should place your trust.