Jerome A. Cole, MAJerome A. Cole, M.A., is the Director of College Counseling for the Edmund Burke school in Washington, D.C. and the founder of Cole Educational Consulting Services (Cole ECS.) He has worked with students and families for over seven years to help them plan and strategize for college. As a college counselor at Burke, an independent college preparatory high school founded in 1968, Mr. Cole oversees a program that is designed to support students and families as they go through the selection and admission process for college. Mr. Cole advises over 100 students each year in a small academically challenging environment where every senior is expected to apply to and enroll in college. Prior to Burke, he was a school counselor at Bethesda-Chevy Chase high school in Montgomery County, Maryland. He has successfully counseled hundreds of students and helped them prepare for admission to a variety of schools such as: American University, Clark-Atlanta University, Davidson College, George Washington University, Harvard University, Pitzer College, Stanford University, Temple University, and the University of Maryland at College Park, to highlight just a few. He established the consulting firm Cole ECS to provide students and families with the necessary information and support to make the best choice for college. Cole ECS defines the best choice as the optimal learning and social environment to ensure a student’s holistic success, culminating in on-time or early graduation and desirable post-graduate options. Mr. Cole earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Catholic University, and then went on to obtain a Master of Arts in Education and Human Development from George Washington University. He is certified as a school counselor and is a member of the National Association of College Admissions Counselors (NACAC).
Host: How do you identify colleges that have resources to supports students with learning challenges?
Jerome Cole: There are lots of us out there, that have learning challenges and there are couple of different ways that you can identify those schools. Let me say right upfront, that most if not all colleges are going to have some resources available on campus to deal with the student with learning challenges. The question is going to be, what challenge are we talking about, how severe is it? I think the place to start is with your college counselor, that person is going to able to help you identify schools it have really, really good resources that are going to be appropriate to whatever you are challenge is. So, that s one place to start.
Another place to look is the Internet, you can actually go in the Internet and do a college search and they will come up with schools that have resources pertaining to your particular challenge. If you go through a local bookstore, library or your high school college resource center, you will see publications that are dedicated just to identifying colleges and universities that have resources on campus for students with learning disabilities and in these guidebooks there is a description, School X has a resource center just designed for students that have these challenges and here is how we support the kids. So, that s another thing.
In the very last thing and arguably the most important thing that you can do is to go and visit the college and ask the question, Here is my challenge, here are the supports or accommodations that I am going to need, can you guys address those? Talk to the people who run over respective programs and please, please, please, talk to students. Talk to students that are using those resources, ask them how effective are the resources, are students in general taking advantage of these different resources, its funny you go and take a tour and they will show you the gymnasium and the football field and the music building and the science building and they will show you the resources building and you will say, Wow! That s snide, this is neat, it s got this in it that in it and you ought to say, How many kids take advantage of the resource center, you ought to ask that question and then you ought to follow up and ask student the same question. Both students, that are using it and the student that are not using it, so that s the way I would approach that question.