Saint of Santa Fe | Nicole Nikki Perrino

Saint of Santa Fe | Nicole Nikki Perrino

Santa Fe College student Nicole Nikki Perrino photographed for the Saints of SF series on July 22, 2021 in Gainesville, FL. (Photo by Matt Stamey/Santa Fe College)

“I struggle with standardized tests. The SAT and ACT were difficult and my scores didn’t reflect my abilities when going through the college application process. I applied to around 5 schools and was accepted to all, except for the University of Florida.When I didn’t get into UF, I started looking at schools that could keep me connected and provide an opportunity for transfer.

I chose Santa Fe College because the SF Honors Program has over an 80% acceptance rate to UF. In addition, after speaking with Bobby Hom, Honors Program Advisor, I knew I would get a more personal experience at SF than at a large university. Professor Hom made me feel like an individual rather than just another student. I was reassured that faculty cared about what I had to say and were responsive to troubles I faced in class.I think a lot of high schoolers view attending a state college as settling for second best when they don’t get accepted into their first-choice university, some may even view it as a failure, I know I did.

In hindsight, starting at a state college rather than a university may have been the difference between my success and failure. I struggled my first semester at SF and took an incomplete. If I had started at a university, I don’t think I would have been able to finish what I had started.With the help of Prof. Hom, the Disability Resource Center and my professors, I was able to pick up where I left off and take on the additional classes I needed in order to graduate on time.

This was a proud moment for me because while working 2 jobs and taking 7 classes, I was able to transfer to my dream university, the University of Florida, and with the experiences SF gave me, I was finally prepared for it at that point too.I am excited about the future and hope to be either an occupational therapist or a behavior analyst for children with disabilities.”

Nikki Perrino, Naples, FL

A.A. Health Sciences, SF 2020Current UF student