Gorman Completes Year as College and Career Center Coordinator


Talon File Photo

During College and Career Center Coordinator Andrea Gorman’s first year, the college and career center was a lunchtime hub packed with students waiting to talk to Gorman about everything from summer jobs to the SAT. Gorman, with her constant cheer and wealth of experience, has proven herself to be an exceptional fit for the job.

Gorman’s interest in the college application process started when she was in high school after she noticed how unfair the admissions decisions seemed. After graduating from Wellesley College, Gorman decided to become an alumni interviewer for her alma mater. This experience gave her incredible insight into the admissions process, especially after she became an alumni admissions representative.

“That was fascinating,” Gorman said. “I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to keep learning more. It was like being thrown into any kind of secret environment, like when you get the behind-the-scenes of a surgery.”

After earning a college counseling certificate from UCLA, Gorman worked as a student teacher at Mountain View High School, saying that her work began to feel more and more natural as she continued to do it. After finishing her practicum in 2008, Gorman went on to become an independent college counselor, visiting students in their homes and giving them in-depth guidance.

“I never took on more than 20 or 25 independent students [at a time] because it was so detailed,” Gorman said.

Then, in September of last year, there was a job opening for college and career center coordinator at Los Altos — it was Gorman’s dream job. When she found out, Gorman told herself, “This is your dream. You need to go for it.” And she did.

When Gorman started working at Los Altos, her perfectionist tendencies crowded out the more important things. The transition from a very detail-oriented job to advising hundreds of students was challenging.

“I was worried about being perfect and having the files just right, and then I started to realize… [that] being a kind, patient person is important,” Gorman said. “I do remember being a high school student… going to school some days, thinking, ‘Ugh, I just don’t want to be here today, I’m exhausted, I have a hundred other things on my mind.’ I just think the administration should be kind and reach out to students.”

Gorman has learned over time how to handle her duties with empathy as well as perspective. A favorite quote of hers, “College is a match to be made, not a prize to be won,” is central to her mindset when she advises students. Her belief in finding the right match is evident from the genuine excitement with which she speaks about college.

“Focus on who you are and what is a match for your needs,” Gorman said. “That’s how you’re really going to get the most out of college. If you go somewhere where you have the feeling that it’s right, you’re going to take risks. You’re going to feel comfortable taking a course you never thought you’d be interested in. And that’s… the best way to learn.”

Gorman also aims to shift the perception that success comes only through attending prestigious universities.

“I even tell [parents] to say things like, ‘My child has chosen this school because it’s the right match. It has an amazing writing program, and my child is interested in writing fiction.’” Gorman said. “I think that takes away the judgment when it’s the right match.”

Gorman’s cheerful, determined mindset and genuine interest in each student has made for an incredible first year as the college and career center coordinator. When seniors are struggling to make their perfect college match, any assistance and encouragement can be helpful in easing the anxiety, but Gorman strives to go above and beyond that.

“I don’t even call it work,” Gorman said. “I love going to school every day.”