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 important is it for your student to enroll in Advanced Placement Courses?
Jerome Cole: As a student and as a family when you are sitting down to decide on AP courses, how many AP courses, the first thing that you want to do is you want to ask yourself, is your student prepared to sign up for these advanced level courses and be successful? Do you have the foundation, do you have the background to go in the courses and be successful?
So, you don t, what you don t want to do is sign up for a bunch of AP courses and get failing or minimal grades in them. So, what I would say to parents and the students is, the first thought is I want to challenge myself, but I want to challenge myself and be successful. Is that Advanced Placement, is that Honors, is that International Baccalaureate, what is that?
In order to really make an inform decision, you want to do a couple of things. First, you want to sit down and talk with your teachers. They know what your abilities are, they know what the expectations are in these advanced level courses. So, I would start there first. Secondly, you want to speak with your academic advisor. After getting input from both of those folks, then you want to sit down with mom and dad and make a decision on whether or not it is going to be an Advanced Placement course, whether it is going to be an Honors course or whether it is just going to be a regular high school course.
I wouldn t focus on any particular goals in terms of I need to take five AP courses versus ten AP courses versus whatever number you may hear. Focus on challenging yourself; focus on being in a course where you can successful. That's the goal, it is not AP, its not IB, it is not honors, it is challenging yourself, rigor and being successful.