My dad, a retired Command Sergeant Major from the United States Army of 27 years, said in his final retirement speech on Fort Hood Military Base, “Asking is not checking. Checking is checking.” This is certainly his motto for life. For our family. For his troops. For the church. For everything.
This resonates with me as I counsel aspiring college attendees. Many tell me that they are not told by their counselors what required courses are needed to graduate and attend a 4 year university. Some tell me they did not know the process to apply for scholarships. The stories go on and on from there. The overarching theme is that they claim they did not know.
So, what’s the remedy? Well, students and parents must learn to ask lots of questions and then check and verify the information. Once you ask, you must then check. You must continue seeking additional information.
What my dad was saying was that if you just merely ask and take someone else’s word for something without verifying if the information is correct, accurate, or appropriate for you, there is a chance that you may miss something.
Here are a few things to remember about asking and checking.
- Ask at least 3 questions about the same topic or piece of information in question. These questions can be “who, how, and what” or “how, what, and when” or any additional variation of 3 different questions.
- Verify the information with at least 3 different sources. This includes teachers, counselors, community members, your scholarship or college admission coach, your parents, your school administrators, or trusted friends, family, or colleagues. A wise proverb says there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors.
Avoid wasting time. Be timely about the information you seek. Time is one of the most valuable assets you have and it needs to be preserved. The quicker you verify information, the less time you waste and the more productive you can be. Time waits for no one so make the best of it.