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: Should you hire an independent college counselor to assist you and your student?
Jerome Cole: My first response as an independent counselor is yes, but my second response is that, the first thing that you want to do is take advantage of your local school, the school that your child is attending, be a public, private whatever.
There are counselors there; there are experienced professionals there, who are dedicated specifically to helping you and your student work through this process, so my first response is take advantage of that individual. Now, there is always going to be situations where you feel like, you need a little more than that individual this in the school building and you have the financial resources to go out and hire someone, in that case I would say, go hire that independent counselor, but I would cautioned all families that are considering going out to hiring an independent counselor to do your homework, do your research.
Ask for references, ask around the local community, who are the people that are doing well? Who are the people that have a good reputation and follow up on those references before you make a commitment because this is a financial commitment and in some cases they can be pretty substantial. So, I would look at the independent counselor as a second resource, I would look at the school counselor as my primary resource.