Trevor ThompsonFor Trevor Thompson, of Randolph, County College of Morris (CCM) was his chance to open the “windows of opportunity” that first led him to Columbia University and now to Cornell Law School.

He had not done well in high school and had no idea what he wanted to do following graduation. His grade point average left him with few options, so he donned a backpack and headed for New Zealand, Australia and Southeast Asia. While traveling, he spent some time working on organic farms for food and lodging, but most of the time he was exploring the wilderness.

When he returned to the states, he knew it was time to get serious. He could have enrolled at a community college in Colorado where his father lives, but decided to come back to Randolph because of CCM’s reputation.

“I am extraordinarily grateful for CCM. It gave me the opportunity to begin a successful academic career,” says Thompson. “What I found at CCM were professors who are very supportive and who were willing to work with me as long as I was willing to put in the effort.”

After taking eight courses at CCM and earnings As in each, he was accepted at Boston University, Rutgers and the University of Miami, which offered him a significant scholarship.

“A scholarship from UMiami out of high school would have been inconceivable,” he notes.

He turned them all down, believing his best option was to finish his associate degree in business administration before transferring.

“I wanted to see what other doors might open for me with more courses under my belt and references from professors,” he says.

The door that opened was Columbia University, where he earned his bachelor’s in political science. His next stop is Cornell Law School, which has provided him with a scholarship to pursue his Juris Doctorate degree. He hopes eventually to teach law at a college or university.

None of those opportunities, he says, would have been possible had he not enrolled at CCM and built his grade point average.

“Community college is such an excellent opportunity. I am so grateful I started at CCM. My advice for other community college students is to stay focused, be patient and the results will come.”