Florida Blog part 2

Posted on 19th December 2023

Over the summer, our College Counsellor Martine visited Florida colleges as part of a counsellor bus tour. The Sunshine State is home to options for all different types of students: the previous instalment of the blog, linked here , covered some of Florida’s public and private research universities and arts colleges, and this blog will focus on liberal arts and technical colleges in the state.

Eckerd College

Eckerd College is a liberal arts college located in St. Petersburg that is part of the Colleges That Change Lives . It has many unique offerings for its students, including its own beach (wi-fi reaches the beach, so students can study there!) right on the Gulf Coast of Florida where students can take advantage of Eckerd’s world class Marine Biology and Sciences programmes. Another outstanding offering is its Engineering 3+2 programme with WashU and Columbia, and its Law 3 + 3 programme   with Stetson Law (or any law school). Eckerd students are open-minded, accepting, adventurous, active and love animals: it’s a pet-friendly campus, and even holds a pet graduation ! The campus makes the most of its seaside location and offers a sailing club and water sports hub where students can borrow (for free!) wakeboards, kayaks, fishing gear, snorkels, and much more.

The academic year at Eckerd includes an August term, with three weeks’ intense orientation: academic coursework, campus activities, faculty mentoring, and community service. Their curriculum includes four classes per semester, and then three weeks (one intensive course) in August and January. Mentoring is also a big part of the Eckerd experience: students mentor local high school students, and are mentored by field-specific faculty.

New College of Florida

The New College of Florida is a small, good-value public liberal arts college also located in Sarasota. It is sunny, warm, friendly, hospitable, and diverse: a green and lush surprise full of hidden gems and great educational opportunities. New College of Florida requires the SAT or ACT and has no application fee. They are part of the Cross College Alliance with other Florida colleges like Ringling , State College of Florida , and University of South Florida .

The curriculum at the university is unique, featuring ‘narrative evaluation,’ in which the academic focus is on pathways to success and a holistic view of education; there are no grades at the university. There is no core curriculum, but ten required classes (three electives and seven from a variety of fields, focusing on interdisciplinarity). Students also have the opportunity to study ‘abroad’ at another US university.

The New College of Florida is a great fit for independent students: its programme is unique, and suits highly motivated learners who don’t need much structure. With no grades, and no competition or comparison, students here work hard doing what they love and what they choose.

Embry Riddle Aeronautical

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University , located in Daytona Beach with branch campuses in Arizona and Singapore, offers amazing opportunities for students with a passion for aviation and engineering.

Well-funded by donations from Boeing and other industry giants, the university uses the most recent programmes in the industry and has a range of excellent facilities, including a viewing deck for rocket launches at Cape Canaveral, an Aviation Learning Center, a satellite mission control center, a creation lab in which students use concrete to build a range of objects, a wind tunnel lab, and a Cessna aircraft design lab! In addition to all this, Daytona Beach airport is actually located on the university’s campus. Students are supported by former engineers, who come in and evaluate student projects to help them improve. Unsurprisingly, 94% of Embry Riddle’s well-prepared graduates get jobs right after college, and 97% work or go to graduate school within a year. Additionally, 25% of American pilots graduate from the university!

With all this to offer, the aviation programme is highly selective, and applicants are encouraged to apply early (Embry Riddle has its own application portal and is not on the Common Application). Successful applicants have an average SAT score of 1250-1300, and 1400+ for honours and scholarships.

Florida Institute of Technology

Florida Institute of Technology is located in Melbourne, in the heart of Florida’s Space Coast. For students, that translates into amazing job and internship opportunities at places like NASA-Kennedy Space Center, SpaceX, Embraer, Melbourne-Orlando International Airport, National Weather Service, Brevard Zoo, WFIT radio station and many more. With its emphases on engineering and hands-on experience, FIT is a great fit for students who like to make and break things!

Another college with excellent aeronautics and aviation programmes, FIT was founded by NASA in 1958. They have a flight programme with no wait for students to start flying, and business majors for students who want to work in a STEM industry, as well as engineering (aerospace and mechanical, with a dual major possible). An ocean engineering programme is also offered, and with the Atlantic ten minutes away, there are lots of opportunities for hands-on experience. Other options include a Planetary Science major (and a huge telescope on campus), a Marine Biology major (the university owns coral reefs for research), and an animal behaviour concentration in the Psychology major (with a zoo nearby and the aforementioned marine opportunities)!

Some features of FIT’s curriculum are a five-year combined bachelor and master’s degree, on an accelerated fast track. There are opportunities for co-op, internships, and research, helping prepare students for the world of work. Also offered is short-term CPT (curricular practical training in the form of a work programme) during college, and OPT (optional practical training in the form of paid training in students’ chosen field) after graduation.

FIT uses the Common Application. For admission, students need to have studied pre-calculus. The university is test-optional for international students, but required for domestic students (so if you are an international student, but hold a US passport, you will need to test!). The profile of admitted students is 3.67 GPA (mostly As) and SAT 1150-1320 and ACT 23-30, so it has strong academic standards without being hypercompetitive.

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