I am trying to introduce my friend to the amazing that is GNOME Shell. So I opened a terminal and ran
sudo apt-get install gnome-shell
and all went apparently well. After restarting, on the login screen I selected the "GNOME" option from the drop-down menu. However, upon logging in, the desktop looks (and acts) exactly like Gnome Classic. From everything I have read it seems there are no other steps involved, and I have installed GNOME Shell myself on a nearly identical laptop, just one model older than my friend's (they are school-provided models). In case it's relevant, the laptop in question is the Lenovo W500.