Many people who are sceptical of astrology don't have a clear understanding of what it is. They see the vague descriptions you mention, in a newspaper or magazine, and think that's all there is to it. Those "horoscopes" have origins from WWll, and were based on Sun signs only. They were published only as a diversion for those at home who had loved ones fighting the war. Sadly, they exist to this day. Also, astrology is not new; it was considered the science before astronomy was.
Astrology is much more than what a person's Sun Sign is. A whole birth chart is cast mathematically; it takes around 45 minutes and a plethora of specialized books. Now, this info can be found on websites, but it's often wrong.
A real horoscope can be done, but the astrologer needs the person's birthday, time of birth, and the city and country where the subject was born, to get the precise latitude and longitude. Once we get started with that info, we can begin to draw the circle, called a sidereal, of the picture of the sky when the person was born. This helps to get something called an ascendant, the starting point on the left, middle part of the sidereal, or what is called the Eastern Horizon.
Then once all the zodiac signs are filled in (from a book called Dalton's Table of Houses), we go to a book of planetary tables called an Ephemeris, and can place each planet in the zodiac sign and one or more of the 12 astrology houses where it will be. Every Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are in a zodiac sign and in a house with any of 4 or 5 meanings. Also, the distance each planet is apart from the others is called an aspect, and most people have at least 15 strong ones in their charts.
Then it's time to interpret all this. I have to know what all the zodiac signs mean, what each house means, what each planet rules, and what aspects it makes to other planets. That all has to be put together and I can interpret it in about 10-12 hours. It's a lot of work, and takes years of study, books, workshops and such.
I began taking formal astrology classes with my then BF when I was about 22. An Aunt had all the books and gave them to me. It took a good year just to learn what all the symbols for zodiac signs and planets mean, what each planet stood for, and what the houses meant. I had a coworker at the time who wanted me to teach her. She was shocked when I came with a stack of textbooks and started to teach her the math formula, even though it was not hard. She said she thought it was something that could be picked up fast and decided against it. Later, she attended a few classes with us, but couldn't keep up.
So most of what you see isn't really astrology. The real birth or Natal Birth chart is very detailed. I write here on a group site, and many of the questions I get aren't very smart. People tell me where their Sun and Moon are, and think they are getting a whole horoscope. They aren't.
Since casting a whole horoscope is so time-consuming, most astrologers charge about $100.00--$150.00 to do them. I don't consider it fortune telling, I think of it as a personality profile. I can see the possible bad things which will happen in this person's life, the potential good things, like what job skills they have, what they want in love, what drives them emotionally, and so on, considering all the factors I discuss above. Plus we all have Free Will, so if a person sees things they don't like in their horoscope, they have aspects which tell them what strengths they have to help avoid them. If you read the questions here, you will see that most of my readers are not very sophisticated about astrology. Some ask me if they are compatible with a person they have been seeing. Shouldn't they know that if they have been seeing someone for a certain length of time? So although I am an astrologer, I don't leave my common sense at the door.
I have cast and interpreted charts on Hillary and Donald Trump for the last election. They are on a site called Exemplore.com. If you read them, you will get a good idea of how I blend all the info available to me into an interpretation. If politics isn't your thing, (it was hard to be objective), I've written over 100 articles about various aspects of astrology. I also have a whole series on placements of the Sun, Moon, Mercury and Venus and what the planet means in all 12 zodiac signs. The Venus articles are on a site called Letterpile.com. Or feel free to look at any of the teaching articles I wrote on the above sites, that was my goal, to teach what astrology really is, when I began to write about it.