Gym, tan, laundry, college degree. Yup. You probably never thought the word “educated” would be used to describe the cast members of MTV’s Jersey Shore, but it’s true — some of these reality TV stars have pretty impressive educational histories. Nikki “Snooki” Polizzi, Vinny Guadagnino, Jenni “J Wow” Farley, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino, and the rest of the gang might come across as party animals who are only looking to have a good time, but don’t be fooled by their seemingly never-ending drunken antics or criminal pasts. If this whole reality TV gig doesn’t work out, many of these smarty pants stars have their schooling to fall back on.
Prior to fist pumping their way into television history, the majority of this cast decided to hit the books in pursuit of higher education … and some were even able to obtain their degrees in various fields! When (and if) Jersey Shore ever comes to an end, you might see Guadagnino enter the political world, Farley could potentially create a stunning animation for you, and your furry friend may just get treated by Polizzi. Here’s how far these Jersey Shore stars got in school.
Jersey Shore's Snooki can 'induce an animal'
Chile-born Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi was adopted as a baby and grew up in the town of Marlboro, N.Y. The pint-size guidette was the captain of her cheerleading squad during high school and later decided to shake her pom poms at Brookdale Community College, as well. “Cheerleading was my sport,” she told Good Morning America in 2019. “It was my outlet. I loved it.”
When this little ball of energy wasn’t getting the crowd pumped up during game day, she was studying to become a veterinarian tech. Polizzi was proud to show off her knowledge of all things related to the industry during a 2011 interview with GQ: “Test me and bring me to a hospital. I can induce an animal, do surgery, do anesthesia, and take blood. So if you want to tell me I’m stupid again, let’s go to an animal hospital.”
We love an educated meatball! However, as former co-star Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola later said on Naughty But Nice, “I don’t know if Nicole finished college” (via HuffPost). Meanwhile, we couldn’t find any evidence that Polizzi completed her studies either. That said, she once expressed how much she missed training to work with animals in 2015, tweeting in part, “My favorite part had to be pre surgeries. Loved everything about anesthesia & endotracheal tubes.”
DJ Pauly D looked a lot different in high school
Information on what Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio was like as a high school student is admittedly lacking — but thanks to a shocking prom photo unearthed by Life & Style, we do know that the blowout king opted for a short buzz cut instead of his signature gelled hair and donned a pair of hoop earrings during his school days (yes, we’re serious).
Unlike some of his Jersey Shore cast mates, DelVecchio didn’t score a college degree, from what we can confirm. The Rhode Island native attended Johnston High School and focused on his career as a DJ following graduation. He would later return to his old alma mater in an episode of the Pauly D Project. According to MTV News, the television personality left a note on his old locker as a special memento … at the encouragement of his favorite teacher, Mr. Russo, no less. All in all, his trip down memory lane was a success, especially since DelVecchio was able to escape one last detention over the stint. He also wound up deejaying his former school’s dance. In a follow-up tweet, DelVecchio declared Mr. Russo the “#fistpumpin champ” during what he described as the night of his life.
Vinny Guadagnino studied to become a lawyer before Jersey Shore
The Jersey Shore cast member who has one of the most impressive credentials is none other than Vinny Guadagnino. According to Vulture, the Staten Island native began his college education at the State University of New York at New Paltz, before transferring to the CUNY College of Staten Island, where he studied political science. While in the mood to brag about his college years in 2011, Guadagnino told US Weekly, “I graduated from CUNY College of Staten Island with a 3.9 GPA in three and a half years.” Not too shabby!
Having worked for Staten Island state assemblyman Michael Cusick at one point, Guadagnino planned on attending law school after obtaining his bachelors degree, and even began studying for the Law School Admission Test (LSAT). However, reality TV show fate intervened. “That’s when somebody sent me the casting thing [for Jersey Shore],” he previously told Vulture. “It happened right when I graduated; the first opportunity that really came my way.”
J Woww graduated from school with a 3.92 GPA
Jenni “J Woww” Farley has been a fan of art since she was at least 17 years old. Don’t believe us? Gawker was once able to dig up some of her old artwork, and it’s actually pretty good! After graduating from Columbia High School, the New York Post reveals the Franklin Square, N.Y. native headed off to the New York Institute of Technology. Farley proved that she was a star student when she told the Gazette Review in 2017 that she graduated with a 3.92 GPA — slightly higher than Vinny Guadagnino’s own 3.9 GPA. That means she’s officially the Jersey Shore‘s college-educated queen!
With a “degree in computer programming and a BFA in fine arts and animation” in her hands, Farley told the Gazette Review, “My first job was painting a mural in the Grimaldi’s in Queens.” That’s one heck of a first job, no? Prior to getting cast as the mother hen on the MTV series, Farley owned her own graphic design company called Jenni Farley Designs, Inc. We love it.
Angelina Pivarnick's training might just save your life
Angelina Pivarnick may have been referred to as a “dirty little hamster” by Jersey Shore co-star Mike Sorrentino, but one thing she’s not is dumb! Solid information about the Staten Island native’s educational history is limited, but IMDb has her listed as a graduate of Susan E. Wagner High School, so we’ll go with that for now.
After getting fired from the Shore Store and subsequently evicted from the Shore House in season one, Pivarnick was catapulted back into the real world. In a 2016 Instagram post, the starlet shared a picture of herself all decked out in a New York Fire Department EMT uniform, which she captioned in part, “16 hour work day. Keep em coming.”
As we now know, Pivarnick made her reality television return on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation in 2018. Thankfully, she was able to play nice on the popular reboot and went from being the most-hated cast member to a more tolerable addition to the entertaining MTV program. But if she slips up and ticks off her co-stars again, we’re sure she could suit back up in her EMT uniform and easily head back out into the workforce!
Mike Sorrentino bounced around to different schools
When Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino made his first appearance on Jersey Shore, he admittedly came across as a total “gorilla juicehead” with a questionable IQ. But in real life, Sorrentino was very studious. “I went to Brookdale Community College and received an associate’s degree,” he told Fox News in 2010. The reality TV star later transferred to both Kean University and Monmouth College, and told the media outlet that he always had an interest in the business world and even worked in the mortgage industry for a bit before the market crashed.
Even though it’s unclear whether Sorrentino graduated from college, we know for sure that school helped him earn a wife instead! He and his longtime girlfriend, Lauren Pesce, met in math class at their community college, according to People. The cute couple tied the knot in November 2018, just ahead of Sorrentino’s eight-month prison sentence for tax evasion, might we add.
Shocker: Jersey Shore's Ronnie Ortiz-Magro was a 'lazy' student
Ronnie Ortiz-Magro has had some bumpy relationships play out on television. One was with former Jersey Shore co-star Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, and the other was with his baby mama, Jen Harley. Perhaps the TV star’s parents foreshadowed his penchant for getting into messy situations with women, because as a teenager, he attended an all-boys high school. Hard to imagine, right?
According to Entertainment Weekly, Ortiz-Magro was far from being a star pupil. In fact, he was described as a “lazy student who was a regular in the detention hall.” Surprise, surprise. Ortiz-Magro went on to dish all about his rowdy behavior during his school years to EW, including the time he allegedly tied up one of his teachers with extension cords! Another incident involved his friend lending him his grandmother’s Toyota Camry, in which Ortiz-Magro reportedly lost his virginity while his friends watched from afar. Um, okay. Moving right along…
After high school, Ortiz-Magro skipped college and worked in real estate with his dad, according to CNN.
Deena Cortese: the community college cheerleader
Brookdale Community College must be a popular institution because Nicole Polizzi and Mike Sorrentino weren’t the only Jersey Shore cast members to attend the school. According to the New York Post, Deena Cortese graduated from New Egypt High School in 2005. After obtaining her diploma, she also became a co-ed at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, N.J. NJ.com states Cortese was the captain of the school’s cheerleading squad, so she definitely has a lot in common with longtime friend Polizzi. And it was Polizzi who actually helped Cortese get cast on the show! Thanks, Snooks!
Cortese’s life has done a full 180 since her college days. According to NJ.com, she once described herself as single and “not looking for anything” on her old MySpace profile. That all changed when the college-educated reality star married Chris Buckner in October 2017, according to People. In January 2019, she gave birth to their baby boy, Christopher John Buckner. Congrats, mama meatball!
Jersey Shore alum Sammi Sweetheart was a soccer star
Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola may not be featured on Jersey Shore: Family Vacation (aside from a blowup doll version of herself, of course), but she’ll always be one of our favorite guidettes and OG cast members. For that reason alone, we did some digging to uncover her educational resumé. And, take it from us, Giancola has brains and beauty!
Her life revolved around soccer as a kid. After being crowned a “four-year varsity letter recipient in high school” for the sport she loves the most, Giancola was invited to represent the USA in “international tournaments in Costa Rica,” she wrote on her official blog. After graduating high school, she attended William Paterson University, where the athlete-turned-television personality kept super busy with her course load and extracurricular activities. Not only did she major in sociology, she also played for the school’s Division III soccer team.
For anyone who thinks Giancola and her former Jersey Shore co-stars are nothing but a bunch of dummies, she had this to say in an interview with Naughty But Nice: “We all are very smart in our own way” (via HuffPost). Cheers to that!
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