How should your student approach preparing and completing the college essay?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,768
    College counseling director Jerome Cole discusses the basics of a college essay including how your student should approach preparing and completing the essay.

    Jerome A. Cole, MA

    Jerome 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 should your student approach preparing and completing the college essay?

    Jerome Cole: I think that the first step is to sit down and think about what s going to be the best topic and again as I said earlier, the best topic is going to be something that you feel passionate about. Something that you have experienced firsthand, something that you have intimate knowledge of, that is going to be the best topic.

    So, once you have picked that topic, then it is the matter of sitting down, putting pen to paper if you will. Come up with that first draft, coming to your local school sit down with your English teacher or someone in the building that you trust in and have that person help you take that first draft and get it to completion.

    Once that is done I would say let us third set of eyes review, not just for content but to make sure that it is well written that the message is clear, nature conveying. What it is that you are trying to do? I think those are probably the best ways to prepare, I know that there are website that you can go to and there are books out there that talk about how to write an essay and that kind of thing.

    I think those can be helpful. I think they can also be kind of confusing because this is just more information and it some point, students get overloaded. Sit down, talk to mom and dad, mom and dad who am I, what is important to me, what are the things that I do well, what are the things that I get excited about?

    That conversation and have that conversation with your teacher, someone that you know, someone that knows you, what kind of person am I, what kind of student am I, When you look at me, what are the things that come to mind? Those conversations are going to help you get to that point where you can say, that s the topic.

    Once you get that topic, put together a draft, bring it into your school, sit down with the teacher work with him or her, get that thing completed, let another person look at it and then send it off.

    : How should your student approach preparing and completing the college essay? Jerome Cole: I think the first step is to sit down and think about what s going to be the best topic and again as I said earlier the best topic is going to be something that you feel passionate about, something that you have experienced to first hand, something that you have intimate knowledge of. That s going to be the best topic. So once you have picked up that topic then it s the matter of sitting down, putting in print or paper, if you will. Come up with that first draft, come into your local, sit down with your English teacher or someone in the building that you have trust in and have that person help you take that first draft and get it to completion. Once that s done, I would say let us third set of advice review it. Not just for content, but to make sure that it s well written, that the message is clear and it should be conveying what it is that you are trying to do. I think those are probably the best ways to prepare. I noted that there are websites that you can go to and your books out there that talk about how to write an essay and that kind of thing. I think those can be helpful. I think that can be also be kind of confusing because it s just information and at some point students get overloaded. Sit down talk to mom and dad. Mom and dad, who am I? What's important to me? What are the things that I do well? What are things that I get excited about? That conversation & .

    have that conversation with your teacher, someone that you know, someone that knows you. What kind of person am I? What kind of student am I? When you look at me what are things that come to mind? Those conversations are kind go help you get to that point where you can say, That s the topic. Once you get that topic put together that draft, bring into your school, sit down with your teacher, work with him/her, get that thing to completed, let another person look at it and then send it off.

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