When applying to college, how should you highlight your non-academic interests?

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 15,715
    Jerome Cole, Director of College Counseling at the Edmund Burke School in Washington D.C., discusses the best strategy for highlighting your non-academic interest while applying to 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: What is the best strategy for highlighting your non-academic interest?

    Jerome Cole: There are a couple of ways that you can do that. First of all, the college application itself, there are going to be sections on there where they talk about your non-academic interest and what you want to do is you want to prioritize those which are the ones that you have made the biggest contribution, the biggest commitment? Which are the ones that you feel most passionate about? You want to list those first. The second thing that you want to do, is you want to make sure that your counselor who is going to be writing your letter of recommendation, you want to make sure that that individual is aware of your non-academic interest. The last thing is with again, with these particular interests, if you perform well, if you have done well in something outside of the school, you might want to consider approaching someone, a Supervisor or Director, what have you, to write a letter of recommendation for you and include that in your college application package.

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