College Counseling

The Process

The college process is one that begins as soon as a student enters the Saint Gertrude community. Our rigorous college preparatory curriculum and high standards ensure that students are well prepared for the academic demands of college. Both inside and outside the classroom, students are being educated and prepared for the next steps that they will take in their educations. The challenge of the college search process is for students to identify the college or universities that fit their interests, learning styles and personalities – to find the institutions at which they will be happiest and most fulfilled. Although the college process becomes more individualized and focused during the junior year, each year of high school is important. We work with students and families at each stage of the process, and we invite you to contact us at any time.

We encourage freshmen to take advantage of the new opportunities that high school affords and to begin to develop their interests and talents. Outside of the classroom, students are supported by the School Counselor and Advisor.  Although college can seem a long ways away, students begin to prepare by taking the PSAT,  developing an understanding of the importance of their academic transcript, and setting personal goals for their high school careers.

The sophomore year, like the freshman year, is a time for students to hone their interests and continue to be involved both in and out of the classroom. All sophomores take the PSAT in the fall. Individual meetings with their academic advisor in the spring promotes that students are on the optimal track to meet their academic goals.

The individualized college process formalizes  in the junior year. This exploration stage is an important one, as it forms the foundation for the application period that follows in the senior year. We strive to educate our junior students and families so that they are equipped with the information that they need to make the decisions that are best for them.  Juniors take the PSAT in October.  Beginning in the second semester of the junior year and continuing through the spring, students are educated about the college admission process.  This is done through class meetings and special programs.  Additionally,  every student and her parent(s) has a personalized conference with the college counselor.

The start of the senior year brings the action phase of the college process. This is an exciting time, as the exploration stage begins to manifest itself in college applications, and we support each and every student throughout this sometimes uncertain or overwhelming process. Throughout the fall, the college counselor makes certain that students are well informed. Individual student meetings are held often, and each student’s college list is carefully reviewed for balance and fit. The College Counselor writes a  personal letter of support for each student, as required, as well as processes all paperwork. As decisions are made, students are encouraged to consider the academic, social and financial fit of their final college choices.

Penny Deck, Director of Counseling Services/College Counselor (, 804-822-3943)

Carolyn Holshouser, Counseling Services Assistant (, 804-822-3946)

Class of 2019 Acceptances:

The University of Alabama*, Appalachian State University, Auburn University, Bennett College, Bridgewater College, Bryant University, Catawba College, The Catholic University of America, College of Charleston, Chatham University, Christopher Newport University*, University of Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina University, Columbia College Chicago*, University of Connecticut, Duke University*, Duquesne University, East Carolina University*, Ferrum College*, Fordham University, George Mason University*, Guilford College, Hampton University*, High Point University, Hollins University, James Madison University*, University of Kentucky, Longwood University*, Louisiana State University, Loyola University Chicago, Mary Baldwin University, University of Mary Washington*, Miami University (Oxford), Mississippi State University, Mount St. Mary’s University – Maryland, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill*, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Wilmington*, Ohio University*, Old Dominion University*, Pennsylvania State University*, Pennsylvania State University – Altoona, Radford University*, Randolph College*, Randolph-Macon College, University of Rhode Island, University of Richmond*, Roanoke College, Sacred Heart University*, Saint Francis University*, The University of Scranton, Seton Hall University, Sewanee: The University of the South, Shenandoah University, University of South Carolina*, University of Tennessee, Knoxville*, Towson University, University of Lynchburg, Virginia Commonwealth University*, Virginia Tech*, Virginia State University*, Virginia Wesleyan University, University of Virginia*, Wake Forest University*, Washington University in St. Louis, College of William & Mary, Wingate University, and The College of Wooster

*Indicates matriculation


Carolyn Holshouser

Assistant to Director of Counseling Services Year started at SGHS: 2010 Years in education: 26 Hometown:  Richmond, VA Fun Facts: Mother of daughter Erin (SGHS 2003) and son Erich. Spend most weekends at the beach.  I enjoy walking, riding motorcycles (on the back!), working in the yard, reading and cooking.

Anne Jamerson

Learning Resource Teacher Years at SGHS: 4 Hometown: Richmond, Va. Experience: 5 years as a learning resource teacher , 20 years as a tutor in area private and public schools Recent Workshops/Classes:  Strategy Training with Karen Rooney, Ph.D  ; Cross Cultural Communication ; When Chronic Illness Enters the Classroom;Computers for Educators ; Anti-Bulllying Workshop ; Gendered Classroom Teaching Fun [...]

Lindsay Holtz

SGHS History: I started here as the part-time campus minister in 2016 and my role has evolved over the past few years. Hometown:  Richmond, VA Why I wanted to be a counselor: I told my college advisor that I wanted to work with “normal people with normal issues”… this is what I came up with!  I [...]

Penny Deck

How did you get into college counseling? My first career was in human resource management working for Fortune 500 companies like Fedex and GE but I left my career in business to work in education because I wanted to do something more meaningful and to work with children and youth. I started in school counseling in Chesterfield [...]