When should students begin visiting colleges?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 21,093
    Jerome Cole, Director of College Counseling at the Edmund Burke School in Washington D.C., discusses when students should begin visiting colleges.

    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).

    My name is Jerome Cole. I am the Director of College Counseling at the Edmund Burke School in Washington D.

    C. I am also the founder of the Cole Educational Consultant Services. I have a Masters degree in Education and Human Development with a specialty in Secondary School Counseling from the George Washington University. For the past seven years I have worked in both public and private school settings helping students and families strategise for college. Today, I am going to talk about some of the strategies, some of the steps that you and your students should take to determine how you go about selecting a college and then ultimately, how you go about being admitted to a college.

    Host: When should students begin visiting colleges?

    Jerome Cole: I believe that students along with their families should start visiting colleges as early as possible. I think you should start local, in your local area, visiting the colleges and universities that are within a short driving distance. I think the visits should be informal. I think you can start as early as the ninth and tenth grade, but they should be informal. My definition of informal is, you go on campus, maybe you take in some activity on campus, check out the student union building. This is a place where students are congregated; where there is a lot of social activity just to give your student kind of, familiar with, again, this whole this idea of college.

    So, I think the earlier the better. I think the informal visits where you are not putting pressure on your students; I think that s probably the way to go. Once you become a junior especially, in the spring of your junior year that is when you want to start taking your real serious official more formal visits. At that point, you want to make sure that you do a student guided tour with the admissions office. You sit in on an information session, maybe ask to sit in on a class, speak with some students who are interested in this, who are studying the same things that you are interested in, maybe ask to speak to a faculty member. Those things are probably, best left until the spring of your junior year or the fall of your senior year.