Is the University of Florida a Good School?

A senior member of the State University System of Florida, the University of Florida (or UF) is widely considered the solitary flagship school in The Sunshine State.

The University of Florida is a good school for students who want a degree from a flagship school. It’s also ideal for those who love sports and parties — it has great athletics and social life. However, with a low acceptance rate of 37%, most of those who apply to it don’t get accepted.

Just a fun (and refreshing) fact before anything else: Did you know that Gatorade was invented by a team of scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1965, and it was initially considered being named Gator-Aid”?

But don’t let that be your sole reason for attending UF.

Here are some other quick facts on the public institution every college-bound high school teen should be aware of before choosing UF as their top-choice school:

  • Location: Gainesville, Florida
  • Founding date: 1853
  • Motto: Civium in moribus rei publicae salus (the welfare of the state depends upon the morals of its citizens)
  • Campus size: 2,000 acres
  • Campus type: Suburban
  • School type: Public land-grant research university
  • Reputation: Party school
  • Selectivity level: Selective
  • Number of majors: 125
  • Popular majors: Social Sciences, Business, Engineering, Biology, Health Professions
  • Student body: 53,372 (as per Common Data Set 2020 to 2021)
  • Students per class: Fewer than 20 in most classes
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 17:1
  • Retention rate: 97%
  • Graduation rate: 87%
  • Athletic affiliation: NCAA Division I
  • Color: Orange and blue
  • Mascot: Albert and Alberta Gator
  • Number of varsity teams: 19
  • Sports: Baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, volleyball.

Don’t stop reading now if you are thinking about adding the University of Florida to your college list. Below, you will come across some of the most important matters you need to know about it, especially admissions-related ones.

University of Florida
University of Florida

University of Florida Rankings

The University of Florida is #5 in Top Public Schools and #28 in National Universities by US News. It is #1 in both Best Colleges in Florida and Best Value Colleges in Florida by Niche. UF is #1 in Best Public Colleges in Florida and #8 in Best Public Colleges in the US by College Simply.

Just like what was stated earlier, the University of Florida is the sole flagship school in The Sunshine State. Due to this, it isn’t surprising why it is one of the frontrunners in various college rankings in the state and country, too.

One of the things that make UF a standout is its phenomenal athletics.

As a matter of fact, it is on the Colleges With the Most NCAA Championships listing by the NCAA itself — UF has a total of 36 NCAA titles won across 14 different sports. And this is the reason why the public institution is #1 in both Best College Athletics in America and Best College Athletics in Florida by the popular college ranking site Niche.

Here are some other rankings by the University of Florida by various college rankers:

  • #1 in Best Value Colleges in Florida (College Simply)
  • #2 in Colleges With the Best Academics in Florida (Niche)
  • #4 in the South (Forbes)
  • #6 in Public Colleges (Forbes)
  • #8 in Best Big Colleges in America (Niche)
  • #10 in Best Colleges for Veterans (US News)
  • #25 in Top Colleges (Forbes)
  • #29 in Most Innovative Schools (US News)
  • #40 in QS World University Rankings (
  • #77 in Best Colleges in the US (College Simply)

What is the Acceptance Rate at the University of Florida?

Less than half of all applicants to the University of Florida get admitted. With an acceptance rate of only 37%, it is a most selective institution. In Florida, UF is one of those with the lowest acceptance rates. To gain admission into the public school, one’s application must check all the boxes.

Since it’s one of the best institutions for higher education in Florida, it is safe to assume that getting into the University of Florida is not that easy. Well, its acceptance rate is a testament to that.

The national average acceptance rate at public colleges and universities in the US, according to data from the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), is 69%. This means that the acceptance rate at UF is almost twice lower than most.

Due to this, for many applicants, it is more of a reach school than a match or safety school.

To see just how selective UF is, here’s a table of institutions in Florida with the lowest acceptance rates:

University of MiamiCoral Gables27%
University of South Florida – St. PetersburgSt. Petersburg27%
Johnson University FloridaKissimmee31%
The University of West FloridaPensacola31%
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical UniversityTallahassee36%
Florida State UniversityTallahassee36%
University of FloridaGainesville37%
Florida Memorial UniversityMiami Gardens40%
Warner UniversityLake Wales41%
Webber International UniversityBabson Park42%
University of Central FloridaOrlando44%
The University of TampaTampa45%
University of South Florida – Main CampusTampa48%
Southeastern UniversityLakeland48%
Barry UniversityMiami51%
Florida Hospital College of Health SciencesOrlando51%
Beacon CollegeLeesburg51%
Florida Southern CollegeLakeland52%
Northwood University FloridaWest Palm Beach54%
St. Thomas UniversityMiami Gardens55%

Does the University of Florida Offer Early Decision?

In the past, the University of Florida offered Early Decision for applicants who are willing to commit to the school if accepted. These days, there are only two admission plans UF offers: Priority Application and Regular Decision, which starts after November 1 and follows a space-available basis.

Although there is no longer such a thing as Early Decision at the University of Florida, you can still apply to the school and get a response from its admissions office ahead of everybody else, especially if it’s your top-choice school.

That’s because the Gainesville-based institution offers Priority Application for first-year students. Simply put, this admission plan serves as a guarantee that your application will be evaluated, which is vital for increasing your chances of getting an acceptance letter from UF as there are still plenty of available slots to fill.

Submitting your application past the deadline for Priority Application, on the other hand, can lower your chances of getting accepted considerably since all Regular Decision applications will be reviewed based on the remaining slots.

Needless to say, it’s a good idea to apply as early as you can to the University of Florida — application begins in the middle of August. What’s nice about UF’s Priority Application is that, unlike Early Decision, it is non-binding.

This means that you are free to apply to another college or university even after getting an offer from UF.

Here are the most important dates all applicants to the University of Florida should never forget:

Priority Application1-NovLate February
Regular Decision1-MarLate March

What GPA Do You Need to Get Into the University of Florida?

According to the website of the University of Florida, applicants must have a cumulative grade of C in high school. This means that applicants need to have a GPA of 2.0 at least. However, according to the Common Data Set 2020 to 2021 of UF, none of the first-year admits had a GPA of 3.0 or lower.

Like many US colleges and universities, private and public alike, the University of Florida has a holistic admissions policy. So, in other words, its admissions officers evaluate applicants by considering many things, not just their grades.

Still, your high school GPA will be the most important academic factor in the admissions process.

Most high school graduates that get accepted into UF have GPAs that range from 3.75 to 3.99. As a matter of fact, nearly half of all applicants that receive an offer to attend the public institution have GPAs within this range. Many applicants welcomed on its 2,000-acre campus have perfect 4.0 GPAs.

Wondering whether or not your high school GPA is high enough to wow the school’s admissions officers? The following is a table of the percentage of admits at the University of Florida and the range of their GPAs:

3.75 to 3.9945%
3.50 to 3.7415%
3.25 to 3.491%
3.00 to 3.240%
2.50 to 2.990%
2.0 to 2.490%
1.0 to 1.990%
Below 1.00%

What are the Requirements When Applying to the University of Florida?

The admissions officers at the University of Florida say that because the school is competitive, most students who get admitted into it tend to exceed minimum requirements. They include anywhere from the filled out Common App or Coalition App to completed admission essay and short-answer questions.

Anyone who wishes to apply to the University of Florida should have a high school diploma from a regionally-accredited or state-approved institution. Those with an equivalent, such as a GED certificate, may apply, too.

It’s also important for high school graduates to have at least 16 academic credits, distributed as follows:

  • Four years of English (with substantial writing)
  • Four years of Mathematics (including Algebra 1, Formal Geometry and Algebra 2)
  • Three years of Natural Sciences (two units must include a laboratory)
  • Three years of Social Sciences
  • Two years of a foreign language (must be sequential)

As mentioned while we were talking about whether or not UF offers Early Decision, application starts in mid-August. The earlier you apply, the better. And here are the most important steps to take when applying to the school:

  1. Fill out either the Common App or Coalition App — the school does not favor one over the other.
  2. Complete the essay questions and UF Supplement, which consists of short-answer questions.
  3. Create your Student Self-Reported Academic Record (SSAR).
  4. Submit test score (official score or self-reported) — the school superscores SAT and ACT scores.
  5. Pay the non-refundable application fee amounting to $30 (or a fee waiver if you are eligible for it).

While the University of Florida is a flagship school that’s selective, it does not require applicants to submit a lot of things, some of which many colleges and universities in the US require.

Here are the different academic admissions factors considered and the relative importance of each one:

  • Academic rigor – very important
  • GPA – very important
  • Admissions essay – very important
  • Standardized test scores – important
  • Class rank – important

UF does not require applicants to submit recommendation letters — many institutions, especially competitive ones, require students to submit multiple letters or recommendations from several different people. So, in other words, applying to the University of Florida isn’t as stressful and time-consuming.

Meanwhile, here are the various non-academic admissions factors considered and each one’s relative importance:

  • Extracurricular activities – very important
  • Talent or ability – very important
  • Personal qualities – very important
  • First-generation – important
  • Volunteer work – important
  • Work experience – important
  • Geographical residence – considered
  • State residency – considered

Various non-academic factors are not taken into account at all in the admissions process. They are interviews, alumni member relations, religious affiliation, demonstrated interest, and race or ethnicity.

University of Florida Stadium
University of Florida Stadium

How Much Does It Cost to Attend the University of Florida?

Based on the academic year 2021 to 2022 rate, the in-state tuition and fees at the University of Florida cost $6,380. For out-of-state students, the tuition and fees increase by more than four times: $28,658. This brings the total cost of attendance to $21,430 (in-state) or $43,708 (out-of-state).

The college or university you wish to apply to should have a cost of attendance whose amount is within your family’s means. This is true no matter if you will put it on your college list as a safety, match or reach school.

If you are from a low-income background, you will be more than happy to learn that the combined tuition and fees at the University of Florida is lower than those at public institutions ranked by US News ($11,631).

Related Article: 425 Colleges Charging In-State Tuition for Out-of-State Applicants

Alas, it’s a completely different story if you reside outside Florida. That’s because the tuition and fees go from $6,380 for Florida residents to $43,708 for non-Florida residents. So, before you apply to UF as an out-of-state student, make sure that you have an estimate of the net price — the total cost of attendance after grants and scholarships.

Here’s the estimated breakdown of the cost of attending UF for a year, as of the academic year 2021 to 2022:

Tuition and fees$6,380$28,658
Books and supplies$810$810
Room and board$10,400$10,400
UF Cost of Attendance

How Much Do the University of Florida Graduates Make?

The average first-year earnings of the graduates of the University of Florida equal $47,000. After 10 years upon initial admission into the public school, alumni members, on average, make $62,600 yearly. The major and other factors such as location and work experience can affect annual earnings.

Based on data available online, UF graduates make 83% more every year than most others who hold different occupations 10 years from the time they first attended the Gainesville-based institution.

Wondering which major you should declare as a UF student to enjoy higher salaries in the future?

Check out the table below indicating the average initial annual earnings of the University of Florida graduates. Take note that not all majors offered by the school are included.

Computer and Information Sciences$74,200
Electrical Engineering$73,100
Communications Engineering$73,100
Computer Engineering$72,500
Systems Engineering$72,100
Chemical Engineering$70,900
Mechanical Engineering$63,700
Civil Engineering$60,300
Registered Nursing$58,700
Nursing Administration$58,700
Design and Applied Arts$44,900
Business Administration$43,200
Visual and Performing Arts$40,900
Political Science and Government$29,300

Which Famous People Went to the University of Florida?

Some alumni members of the University of Florida went on to become governors, senators and congressmen. Others became scientists, some of whom received awards for their exceptional contributions. Then there are also UF former students who ventured into writing, sports and the entertainment business.

Armed with a degree from the University of Florida coupled with hard work and dedication, you could end up where people know your name. So, in other words, you could be a UF student today and a famous person tomorrow.

These are the former students at the University of Florida whose names may ring a bell:

  • Marco Rubio – Senior US Senator from Florida
  • Reubin Askew – Served as the 37th governor of Florida (1971 to 1979)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz – US Representative from Florida’s 23rd congressional district
  • Holly Benson – Former member of the Florida House of Representatives
  • Marshall Warren Nirenberg – Biochemist who co-received the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine
  • Norman Thagard – The first American astronaut to ride to space aboard a Russian craft
  • William Frederick Fisher – NASA astronaut who retired to practice medicine full-time
  • Kevin A. Ford – Retired United States Air Force Colonel and NASA astronaut
  • Rita Mae Brown – Feminist writer best known for her autobiographical novel Rubyfruit Jungle
  • Michael Connelly – Detective and crime fiction author and former president of the Mystery Writers of America
  • Cris Collinsworth – Sports commentator who played in the NFL for eight seasons
  • Joakim Noah – Former NBA player who played for UF when it won its NCAA championships in 2006 and 2007
  • Emmitt Smith – Considered the all-time leading rusher in the NFL
  • Tim Tebow – Quarterback who played in the NFL, as of this writing, for three seasons
  • Ryan Lochte – Professional swimmer who is a 12-time Olympic medalist
  • Darrell Hammond – Regular cast member on Saturday Night Live (1995 to 2009)
  • Faye Dunaway – Award-winning actress
  • Yoanna House – Fashion model best known for winning America’s Next Top Model (second cycle)

Just Before You Apply to the University of Florida

The University of Florida is a public institution that is considered a flagship school not only of the State University System of Florida but also in Florida. Needless to say, it’s not that easy to get into it, as evidenced by its low acceptance rate of 37% — it’s one of the colleges and universities in the state with low acceptance rates.

It’s not just your GPA and test scores that should impress its admissions officers but your entire application, too, as UF has a holistic admissions policy.

Before deciding to add the institution to your college list, carefully consider all the information above.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

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