by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Note: This is the first part of a multi-part series tracking the college plans of a high-school student.
Girls. Football. Partying. Those are the three things rising high-school senior John Fischetti seeks in a college.
He is only half serious. While these three elements hold considerable attraction for Fischetti, he is also committed to the conscientious pursuit of a degree — multiple degrees, in fact, because he would ultimately like to become a history professor, requiring a doctoral degree. Fischetti has been passionate about the study of history since elementary school.
An important factor in his college choice is location. Fischetti, who lives in DeLand, FL, and attends DeLand High School, would like a college that is close to home yet far enough away to give him a sense of independence. That means his hometown school, Stetson University, of which his father is an alumnus and former standout baseball player, is a bit too close for comfort. Fischetti will still apply to Stetson, he says. His ultimate dream school, Notre Dame, is probably too far away. “That would be mind-bending,” says Fischetti, who first began to plan for college as a freshman.
As the youngest of four boys, Fischetti does not have to blaze his own trail to college. In fact, his current plan is to follow the exact footsteps of his brother Joey. Those footsteps include attending Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, FL, and then transferring to the University of Florida, which just happens to be known for pretty girls, rabid football fans, and lots of partying. “I’m looking to have fun,” he says.
The Santa Fe-to-UF route is not uncommon. Students frequently choose this path to raise their grades before applying to the competitive University of Florida. Fischetti points to a lack of initiative for a grade-point average, which, at less than 3.0, currently is not stellar. He will not only attempt to attain better grades at Santa Fe but will strive to improve his GPA during his last year of high school. In his senior year, he plans to take a mix of the Advanced Placement classes that college admissions recruiters like and classes that he feels will be easy to do well in. Journalism, his second major interest after history, is a subject in which he knows he can excel.
Although Fischetti has not been on a formal campus visit to Santa Fe or the University of Florida, he has made the two-hour trip to Gainesville numerous times to visit friends and his brother. “I love the campus, love the atmosphere, love the college football experience,” he says.
He is undecided about whether he will engage in the series of campus visits that prospective college students often undertake. Unlike some students, Fischetti does not feel he needs to see a campus to make his decision.
Fischetti believes Florida will be a good choice for him because it is a large school with a choice of many majors and programs. Noting the school’s highly regarded College of Journalism and Communications, he is excited about minoring in journalism. He is unfazed by the huge student population of more than 46,000 and the fact that he may find himself in large classes. “Doesn’t bother me,” he says.
A college where sports plays a major role is important to Fischetti. “Sports is a really big draw for me,” he says. Fischetti would like to not only watch but participate and is hoping for opportunities to play baseball and rugby, if not on intercollegiate teams, then at least intramurally.
Fischetti is counting on at least some support from his parents, who, he says, “want me to succeed.” But he plans to also seek financial aid and will probably obtain a job to generate some spending money. He’s confident of his ability to hold a job while in college based on his current experience working in a local pizza restaurant.
Fischetti thinks he will probably apply to about 10 colleges, maybe more. Along with Santa Fe, Notre Dame will be on the list, as will Stetson, despite his desire to leave DeLand. “I can’t wait toget out of here,” he says.
See our article, Choosing a College that’s Right for You for guidelines on what to look for when choosing your college.
Next in our series: Find out if John Fischetti decides to go on formal campus visits in his senior year and come along for the experience as he fills out college applications and takes the SAT.
Questions about some of the terminology used in this article? Get more information (definitions and links) on key college, career, and job-search terms by going to our Job-Seeker’s Glossary of Job-Hunting Terms.
Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., creative director and associate publisher of Quintessential Careers, is an educator, author, and blogger who provides content for Quintessential Careers, edits QuintZine, an electronic newsletter for jobseekers, and blogs about storytelling in the job search at A Storied Career. Katharine, who earned her PhD in organizational behavior from Union Institute & University, Cincinnati, OH, is author of Dynamic Cover Letters for New Graduates and A Foot in the Door: Networking Your Way into the Hidden Job Market (both published by Ten Speed Press), as well as Top Notch Executive Resumes (Career Press); and with Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D., Dynamic Cover Letters, Write Your Way to a Higher GPA (Ten Speed), and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Study Skills (Alpha). Visit her personal Website or reach her by e-mail at kathy(at)quintcareers.com. Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.
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