Impressions Of
University of Florida

Academic Experience

Male Public Relations Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel that the Public Relations department does especially well or poorly?
It cares about its students and wants to see them get involved. The professors do a good job of putting you in the right direction based on your area of interest. Sometimes people get the perspective that at a big school like Florida you may not get that tailored experience, but if you approach a professor they are more than willing to help you find your passions. There is nothing especially bad. I know at a big school some things get lost in translation, which I have experienced a couple of times. This could be emails not getting replied to, or a lack of communication overall. In person, the professors are very helpful.

How would you describe the learning environment? Is it particularly competitive or collaborative?
It’s very competitive. I think the majority of students are competing to hold these high leadership positions in organizations. Academically, it’s competitive but also collaborative, and the people you get to know the best are those in your own college. For me, I’ve gotten to know a lot of really cool people in the College of Journalism, and we all work together to succeed.

Male Mechanical Engineering Major C/O 2022

Can you describe your weekly coursework for your major?
Last semester I was in a lot of big lecture hall classes so I had a lot more exams. This semester I have more group classes, so I only have one true exam. My classes are more class activity based. I’ll have to do Calculus homework, SolidWorks applications, and computer design work. I also have group work in one of my engineering classes where we build things and do some computer programming.

How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
It depends on the class. When I was in the big lecture hall classes, it was pretty competitive. Now it seems more collaborative because I’m in a lot of group classes. It’s competitive because the classes were really hard and the exams were heavily weighted, so you had to do well on them or you’d fail.

Male Business Administration Major C/O 2021

Is there anything you feel the business school does especially well or poorly?
They do a good job of accommodating for a lot of students. They don’t always have enough infrastructure to fit the thousand students that could be taking one class, but given what’s available, they do a good job. There will be online lecture options with non-mandatory attendance in person. [In the 2017-2018 academic year there were 219 classes with 100 or more students and 31% of all classes had 30 students or more.]

How accessible have your professors been?
They are very accessible, which has been surprising given some of the large class sizes. If you give them time in advance, they are usually easy to meet up with.

Do you like how some classes don’t have an in-person mandatory attendance policy?
Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. I like the fact that they are flexible because I have a job, so it’s easy to plan my studying around my work by picking when to read or watch the lectures. I don’t like the impersonality of it. You don’t engage with the professor or material directly, but I understand why they do it this way.

Social Opportunities

Male Public Relations Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Florida?
Florida is transitioning into a big bar school. Greek life is on the edge, but it still exists. Where I’ve had the most fun is in either in downtown or midtown, at a fraternity function or just going out with my friends.

What nights of the week do you regularly do things?
It depends on what your social calendar looks like for the week. I may have a fraternity function on Thursday, so I may not go out the night before. Taking Greek life out of play, you can pick and choose what days you want to go out on from Wednesday to Saturday. You typically won’t go out all of the days unless you want to.

What’s an alternative to going to a party or a bar that you like for a night out?
I’ve done a bunch of cool stuff that’s not the typical going out. I like going out for dinner and a movie, and there’s a lot of cool spots in Gainesville for dinner. Orlando and Jacksonville are close by, and you typically know people from Orlando, Jacksonville, or Tampa, so the opportunity to stay over at a buddy’s place one night on the weekend is a possibility. I’ve been to a Magic game, and the Florida vs. Georgia game is one of the biggest of the year.

Male Business Administration Major C/O 2021

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
I’ll either do something chill with my friends, go to a house party, or a club. The house parties are usually just my friends or large parties where addresses get spread around.

What nights of the week do you regularly go out? Are there certain things you do on certain nights?
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Usually Thursday night the clubs have cheaper covers, so that’s the only thing that is consistent.

How has identifying as LGBT influenced your nightlife experience?
I usually go to the gay clubs, but outside of that not much. It’s pretty available to anyone and I haven’t had trouble anywhere.

Is there a strong LGBT nightlife scene in Gainesville?
I wouldn’t say it’s crazy. There is a parade every year, but outside of that, I wouldn’t say it’s terribly strong.

How happy were you with the nightlife? Is there anything you would change if you could?
The transportation to and from is really good, and we get a variety. I wouldn’t change much.

Male Public Health Major C/O 2019

What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you participate in at Florida?
It depends what I’m looking for. If I want to go to the club, it’s very segregated. Downtown is where Black cultural celebrations happen. The type of music they play and the organizations that reach out in the downtown areas are majority White, except for the places we go to.

A lot of the Black organizations host cultural celebrations. Especially during Black History Month, the Black Student Union is doing an event every day. There isn’t a culture of going out all the time because since the community is small, so many people have responsibilities to their organizations. I can’t speak for everyone, and I think my circle is mostly made of other student organizational leaders, but a lot of us are focused on how we can uphold the health and sustainability of the organizations. A house party happens once in a while, but it’s not a big thing. People don’t even go to the clubs that much, it’s mostly kickbacks and just hanging out at someone’s apartment.

How happy are you with the weekend options at Florida? Is there anything you would change?
A lot of my weekends at UF are committed to other things, or I’m just tired. I’m not too worried all the time about what is happening on the weekends because I’m just tired. I’ll sleep in, but there are things to do. You can go hiking, go to Lake Wauburg, Paynes Prairie, or go to Disney and Universal.

Campus Culture

Male Economics Major C/O 2020

How would you describe the overall social scene?
It’s okay. It’s a lot better than I expected. At first, it might feel intimidating because there are so many people, but over time you get used to it. A lot of people here are friendly.

To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
They don’t really mix too much because people will form into cliques. When people do mix together it’s not a big issue because people are accepting of others and if somebody wasn’t they wouldn’t outrightly show it. There will be one big group of African-American students, groups of East Asian students, but another Black student will most likely want to hang out with another Black student instead of another White student.

How would you describe the Black community? How strong is it?
There aren’t many of them, they make up about 6% of the campus. There’s not many of us, but we’re strong because we’re close to each other. I probably know about a third of them, which is a good enough amount. [About 53% of students are White, 6% are Black, 18% are Latino, and 7.5% are Asian.]

Male Public Relations Major C/O 2021

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think Greek life could be more diverse. It’s primarily Caucasian, and there is also a case to be said that it takes a certain amount of privilege and fiscal flexibility to join a sorority or fraternity, so that could be a factor. Races mix from time to time. I don’t think my friend group is particularly diverse, but it’s what I said before the Greek life is primarily White. [The undergraduate population at UF is about 57% White, 15% Hispanic, 7% Black, and 7% Asian.]

How do you like the size of your school?
I love it. I’m really glad I picked Florida over a smaller school. At first, people think that going to a large school is intimidating, but your social circle gets super small. I can walk through campus and see five people I know within any given time. The student body size is great. [University of Florida has about 36,400 undergraduate students.]

Male Public Health Major C/O 2019

How did you meet your closest friends?
Through organizations and my involvement. I don’t think I’ve met a friend through class.

How would you describe the overall social scene at Florida?
It’s a social place. I think people get comfortable in their groups and there isn’t too much mixing and mingling. People are driven in their academics and involvement. It’s a high achieving place.

To what extent do people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
I think it happens but is not a normalized thing. There are some places where it happens and is understood, but it’s very homogenous in a lot of spaces.

Gainesville, FL

Pros of

  • “I think there are very active community activist organizations. They do grassroots organizations and community change stuff. I think Gainesville has a good presence for that.”
  • “There are a lot of cool springs and nature around the campus. It’s a very green campus that I like.”
  • “It’s a good place for a college student to start learning to be independent because it’s a college town.”
  • “Familiarity. You get to know the area, and it’s nice having your go-to places for food, haircuts, and knowing where everything is.”

Cons of

  • “Sometimes you feel like you’re stuck in the middle of nowhere. It’s a bubble, but a fun bubble.”
  • “As an out-of-state student, if I need to fly home the cheaper flights are in Orlando or Jacksonville which is an hour and a half or two-hour drive away, so it’s bittersweet.”
  • “The disparities are very present. Working at the health department and driving to the East side of Gainesville is a very different environment than where UF is. There doesn’t seem to be much effort to expand accessibility for the people in this community.” [The poverty rate in Gainesville is about 35%.]
  • “The weather is just ok, but some people really dislike the humidity.”

Advice for Prospective Freshmen

Male Public Relations Major C/O 2021

What is something somebody interested in Greek life should know that we haven’t touched on?
A lot of students get caught up in social hierarchies of which fraternities and sororities are good or bad. The main goal should be to join a group of individuals who align with your values and stand for the things you believe in. Try to focus on how the people around you will make you into a more well-rounded individual.

What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
They tour you around the main campus where a lot of stuff is. I think the cooler end of campus is where the sports stadiums are lined up.

Male Mechanical Engineering Major C/O 2022

What is something you wish you knew about Florida before entering as a freshman?
Being in a dorm doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have a super social dorm where you meet a ton of people. Because I was in an apartment style dorm, I didn’t meet a bunch of people in my building.

What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The Florida Museum of Natural History is one of the coolest things on campus.

Male Business Administration Major C/O 2021

What is something a prospective business school student should know that we haven’t touched on?
It’s very easy to change your major. They lay everything out well, so the first two years [of classes] are pretty much the same for the business majors.

What is something that a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
The recreational sports are very good. Between the intramural and fitness classes, there are a lot of outdoor activates available. You have to dig into it to see what there really is available.

Reasons to attend and not to attend University of Florida

To Attend

  • “The resources are vast. You can get involved with anything you want to, which is something you may not get at other schools.”
  • “Saturdays during football season.”
  • “The school spirit is insane.”
  • “If you want to join Greek life, that’s a big thing here.”
  • “The student body is diverse. Although there definitely are the dominant groups, you can find people from a lot of different places.” [The undergraduate population at UF is about 6% Black, 17% Hispanic, 53% White, and 7% Asian. About 35% of the Class of 2022 are from out of state.]

To Not Attend

  • “The class sizes can get pretty large.” [In the 2017-2018 academic year there were 219 classes with 100 or more students and 31% of all classes had 30 students or more.]
  • “Location. If you want to go to a school more so in the city, Gainesville is not the place for you.”
  • “It’s a very big school, so if you’re intimidated by the size.”
  • “People will say that the University of Florida was built on racist intentions, so that might throw off some Black students.” [See Tampa Bay Times article, “At UF, black students feel a reckoning on race is long overdue.” Additionally, in September of 2018 the University of Florida received an F ranking for racial representation by a University of Southern California Race and Equity study.]
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