How can your school’s college counselor support you with selecting a college?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,103
    College counseling director Jerome Cole discusses how your school’s college counselor can support you and your student with selecting a college.

    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 can your school s college counselor support you with selecting a college? Jerome Cole: I think the school counselor is a great resource for several reasons. The school counselor is going to have some insight into who you are and that s because you are going to come to this personally, you are going to talk to him and you are going to share things with him. That school counselor also has access to the teachers in the building and so from time to time, we have conversations with your individual teachers. What kind of student is he, how was she doing in Math? How was she doing in English? How was the Spanish coming, so in having those conversations they are getting more insights into, who you are?

    The school counselor also knows about curriculum at your school. So, when you are choosing courses, he or she can say to you, there is a higher level of course here, have you thought about honors this or AP that or IB this okay and if so you might want to consider taking that higher level course. So, they can advise you on making sure of that you are challenging yourself and you are demonstrating rigor, because the first question that every college will ask about a perspective student is the following.

    Is the student prepared based on the high school work to come to this college and university and be successful? That question in most cases will be answer based on what they see on that transcript. Specifically, the course work and then of course the grades.

    So, the counselor can help with that piece. The other thing that the counselor has knowledge of is, they understand the process, they can help you sit down and put together a strategy a game plan if you will, and you mean that. The last thing which is arguably the most important thing is the counselors has relationships with those colleges and universities out there and ideally the schools that you are interested, your high school counselor knows that school, knows people that works in the admission s office and if he or she doesn t, has the ability to contact that school in cultivate a relationship to say, I am school X I know you don t know whole lot about this, but can I take a few minutes to talk about my school and then I want to talk about this particular student is interested in your school.

    So, that counselor is also acting as in advocate on your behalf. So, I would say that the high school counselor is a very valuable person in this whole process, is some one that you as a student and as a family should be taking full advantage of.