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: What can students do to make themselves competitive for the most selective colleges and universities?
Jerome Cole: What students should be focused on is their academic performance, that is the first thing is make sure you are challenging yourself in the classroom and make sure you are performing up to your full capability, so that is one. Two- your passions, your interest, what are the things that you like to do? Whatever they are, be they music, sports, arts, what have you, make sure that you are maximizing those interests, make sure that you are participating in both school and out of school activities that are related around that particular entrance. The last thing, go visit, go into the admissions office, make contact with those folks who are going to be making the decisions on you. Then, the very last thing that I would caution students and families on is to look at the numbers for the school and when I say numbers, I am specifically talking about the grade point averages and the SAT scores, that medium 50 percentile of students who are admitted and then look at your numbers. Do not amuse yourself. Be honest with yourself. If you are a C student and you are applying to a school where the bulk of the students admitted are B students; that is going to be a reach school for you.
Go ahead and apply to one or two reaches but you want to minimize those. So, it is great that you want to apply to this really selective school, but are you a candidate that is going to be really attractive based your academic profile, based on your outside interest?