Thoughts on the paths to college and career for our students

By Gardner Humphreys, GCM College & Career Center
Student Services
December 01, 2017

August 23, 2023

Time to Get Rid of "Reach - Target - Safety" lists? 

I've never liked how the classic advice for building a college list seemed to say that the best college for any individual was the hardest one to get into. By following the "Reach - Target - Safety" approach, students end up thinking that any college that they are very likely to be accepted to belongs on the bottom of their list. That also seemed to suggest that the colleges that offered the best chance of success were ones that other people - a tiny number of people - attended. Check out a different approach called "5 First Choice Colleges" by our guest speaker, Barbara Connor of Franklin & Marshall College, from fall college night, August 29, 2023. 


November 9, 2022

Did you know that Virginia had its own state junior college? What IS a junior college? It's a residential college with a complete campus where you can earn a 2-year degree called an Associates, which can also be the first half of your bachelor's degree if you want to transfer to a 4-year university as a junior. Our junior college is called Richard Bland Junior College of William & Mary and it’s 40 minutes south of Richmond.

Richard Bland normally accepts students with around a C average and above and also cost less than Virginia 4-year state universities. They also have an Honors Program. Even though Richard Bland is associated with William and Mary, the requirements to be admitted are completely different and you can transfer from Richard Bland to any other school, not just W&M. If you don’t want to transfer to a 4-year school, you can also join the workplace after 2 years with your Associates Degree.

For more info, message me or drop by in school to talk. Also visit

richard bland


March 25, 2021

The Myth of the Well-Rounded Student...I'm always hearing from students and parents that they think they need to check all the right boxes to get into college - not true. Colleges assemble diverse classes, they don't need you to be interested and experienced at everything. Don't think you have to have an internship, have to volunteer, have to join a club, etc. See why, and what they DO want from you instead:


Feb 2021

A Dean's Podcast: hear Dartmouth's Dean of Admissions discuss current trends and key topics on college admissions and finding the school that is best for you

"A Guide to Navigating College Admissions - The Search podcast is a conversation about college admissions sometimes drawing on Dartmouth's community as guests but it's decidedly not about getting into Dartmouth. This project is a discussion, blast of advice, and reflection drawn from the Dean's resources at Dartmouth as well as friends and colleagues from other schools and colleges who also love this work we do. While it can't answer every question or cover every topic, it will squeeze in as much context and information as possible."



"The disconnect between what colleges say and what students hear" - from the Washington Post, Nov. 30.

What colleges and counselors try and tell our students and parents is often not what gets through. Why? Are we sending the right messages? How should both sides talk to be heard and understood? 

What do you think - do you hear the right things from GCM and colleges? What questions do you really want answered? Are counselors and colleges straight with you?