Where can you find great weather, nationally ranked athletic teams, 20 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, and a college that is a world leader in…citrus science? Look no further than University of Florida, which is located on 2,000 acres (you may want to bring your bike) of forested terrain in northern central Florida. There you and about 30,000 other undergraduates will also find nationally recognized programs in engineering and business, as well as strong pre-professional programs in accounting and pharmacy, and extensive facilities for agriculture education (and not just for citrus fruits).
Here are a few quick facts about University of Florida:
4-year Graduation rate: 68%, 6-year: 90%
Freshman retention: 97%
Freshmen out of state: 12%
Most popular majors: psychology, biology, mechanical engineering
Student Community Diversity: 6% Black, 22% Latino, 2% International
Housing: About 22% of students reside on campus in dorms that can be described as comfortable. UF’s Cypress Hall is one of only five in the nation that is recognized for being designed specifically to be accessible to students with severe physical impairments. Most undergraduates live on campus during freshman year to get the residential life experience, but then move after that. While the campus dining halls get a mixed review, there are a suitable number of vegetarian and vegan options available.
Academics: University of Florida’s general education program includes courses in liberal arts, including classes that focus on themes of internationalism or diversity and multi-disciplinary courses on current topics. A couple of UF’s gems include the College of Journalism and Communications, with its impressive Innovation News Center, and the Graham Center for Public Service, which prepares students for careers in public service with courses in languages, cultures and other fundamental skills.
Even though there is a large campus population, nearly half of undergrad classes have fewer than 20 students. Professors are said to have deep professional experience, but for the introductory-level classes, you are more likely to find a graduate teaching assistant behind the lectern. For those who are looking for enrichment opportunities, it should be noted that half of UF’s undergrads are involved in research and about six percent study abroad in over 70 countries.
Similar colleges to consider: UC Berkeley, UCLA, University of Virginia, University of Michigan
Social: University of Florida, and surrounding Gainesville, has a social scene for every type of student. Greek rush, which claims 18% of men and 23% of women, happens right before classes start in the fall and again in the spring.
University of Florida boasts one of the top intercollegiate athletics programs in the country, making Division I sports a year-round obsession. Florida State and University of Georgia remain the Gators’ biggest rivals and homecoming festivities, known as the “Gator Growl” is the largest student-run pep rally in the nation. If you aren’t involved in varsity sports, you can still get active through 50 club sports, 40 intramural leagues and tournaments and 1,100 student organizations. Another perk to being a student at UF is being able to utilize the 60,000 square-foot fitness park.
Gainesville, which is between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, is very much a college town. There you will find a plethora of stores, restaurants, bars, a sports arena and a performing arts center which puts on a variety of productions, including Broadway plays. For the student who likes to get outdoors, UF owns a nearby lake, and there are plenty of parks, forests, rivers and streams nearby for backpacking, camping and canoeing as well. Orlando, St. Augustine and Jacksonville are some of the most popular getaway destinations.
Financial: University of Florida offers mostly need-based financial aid and grants, and a small percentage of non-need based merit and athletic scholarships. The average percent of need met is 99%, with 29% being fully met. Although the tuition and fees for in-state and out-of-state students are $21,430 and $45,898, respectively, the average financial aid package is $16,655. 96% of incoming students receive scholarships and financial aid.