Saints of Santa Fe College Nicole Perrino, Health Sciences

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