Frederica Academy college visits

Frederica Academy brings college representatives to campus as part of a larger effort to support students through the challenging decision-making process during college application season.

Ty Pappalardo has a lot more on his plate right now than just classes at Frederica Academy.

Pappalardo, a junior, is also in the midst of exploring his many college options, while taking the SAT and ACT and preparing his résumé for applications.

Pappalardo is not alone. Juniors and seniors at Frederica Academy — and across the country — have to put a lot of hard work and careful consideration into selecting what colleges and universities they’ll apply to.

Frederica Academy’s staff aim to support the high school students as much as possible through this process, by taking the students to college fairs, bringing admissions representatives to the school for one-on-one meetings and guiding the students through the sometimes overwhelming number of options available to them.

“A lot of times, it’s the first big decision they’ve ever really had to make on their own,” said Laura Nevins, assistant head of upper school, director of college placement and upper school counselor at Frederica Academy.

Stacey Towler, associate dean of marketing and enrollment at Emory University in Atlanta, met with a small group of Frederica Academy students recently during a school visit and explained what the university offers, including a smaller campus in Oxford for freshmen and sophomores.

“There’s certainly students who see the value in having that small community within the first couple of years,” Towler told the students. “The average class size at Oxford is 19 students, so you really get to know your faculty well, and you get to know the other students on campus really well.”

Admissions counselors at Emory spend close to two months every fall traveling to communities and meeting students, at schools and during college fairs, to share information about Emory, Towler said.

“We just want them to understand our college,” she said. “… “There’s so many colleges, and you just hope to find students that will be happy, because you want happy kids on your campus.”

The same day as Towler’s visit, the students also met with a representative from Vanderbilt University, after spending their morning at the Savannah Independent Schools College Fair. Several other college representatives have stopped by Frederica’s campus so far this year to meet with students.

Nevins helps the students at Frederica Academy on a one-on-one basis, and she’s able to counsel them based on their interests and school experiences.

“My role in helping the students figure out what the right fit for them is,” Nevins said.

Nevins takes students to two big college fairs each year — the Savannah Independent Schools College Fair and the PROBE Fair at Brunswick High School.

Colleges and universities from across the country participate in the Savannah Independent Schools College Fair, Nevins said.

“It’s really exciting because a lot of times students won’t have the opportunity to visit a college unless it is at a fair like this, to speak with someone from that school,” she said.

This support, from college admissions counselors and from staff members like Nevins at Frederica Academy, are valuable resources during this challenging time in a high school student’s life, Pappalardo said.

“With the school giving us all these opportunities, it’s great, and it makes it way easier — instead of having to just go into it without any guidance,” he said.

Spotlight on Schools appears Thursdays. Contact Lauren McDonald at or at 912-265-8320, ext. 322 to suggest a topic for a column.

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