Cole graduated from Berkeley High, earned a BA in English and Creative Writing at Columbia University, and then returned to the Bay Area to teach high-school English. After eight years working 1-on-150 (and loving it), Cole transitioned to 1-on-1 tutoring.
Along the way, he earned an MA in Literature and began writing two young-adult novels. He is a lifelong athlete, an avid reader and writer, a true scholar of the personal essay, a fierce board gamer (especially when matched against his wife), and a member of a large and happy family.
While Cole is a fantastic SAT coach and a great math tutor, his true passion lies with the personal statement. Twenty years after writing his own personal statement (which he thinks got him into Columbia), Cole still devotes the same energy and attention to detail to each and every essay that he works with.
Cole and his wife (also a teacher) live in a sunny Alameda Victorian where he hosts students and their parents. He prefers to work in person, especially for the first session, but he also conferences with students through Skype and edits through Google Docs.
The initial meeting is spent discussing the essay prompt(s), the student's goals, and helping the student discover an impressive topic that he or she is passionate about. Every student has countless fantastic essay topics just waiting to be typed out! The key is to match the right topic and tone with the right school. Stanford and Berkeley, for example, are looking for different qualities in an applicant.
Subsequent meetings are spent revising, and eventually polishing, a student's essay until each and every sentence is a perfect combination of aesthetics and functionality.
Cole has coached over a thousand students through the college application process. He continues to be genuinely interested in discovering and displaying a student's passions--and challenges. Colleges want to admit honest and well-rounded students. They are looking for "the real you," not just an invincible version of yourself. Cole will work with you until your personal statement is the best thing you've ever written.
Cole works with students (if time allows) from the initial brainstorming stage through the final revision. If time does not allow, Cole recommends the bolded (and most essential) steps.
(Steps 1 and 2 can usually be completed through Skype in an hour or less.)
Step 1: Discuss the topic and decide on a rough thesis.
Step 2: Create 3-4 topic sentences.
Step 3: Discuss and discover evidence to support the student’s topic sentences. This step is usually completed by the student as homework.
Step 3.1 (if needed): Assist the student in the construction of one or more paragraphs. (Usually this step is reserved for students with writer’s block.)
Step 4: Read the rough draft and provide comprehensive comments and suggestions for improvement (the most important step!).
Step 5: Assist the student with the introduction, conclusion, and provide a final read-through.