University of Florida Guide

The Ivy Scholars guide to the University of Florida’s culture, admissions, and other essential information for prospective students and their families.

Location: Gainesville, Florida

Mascot: Albert the Alligator

Type: Public State University

Population: 52,000 (38,000 undergrads)

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About the University of Florida

The University of Florida wears many faces as a public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. As a senior member of the State University System of Florida its roots began in 1853, and the Gainesville campus has been its home since September 1906. Recognized as one of the best public research universities in the country, the school has strong athletic and academic traditions.

University of Florida Statistics

Year Founded: 1853

4 Year Graduation Rate: 68%

Gender Distribution: 56% female, 44% male

Acceptance Rate: 39%

Residency: 75% in state, 16% out of state, 9% international

Location Type: Urban

Schedule System: Semesters

Student/Faculty Ratio: 18:1

Average Class Size: 18

Demographics: 50% Caucasian, 22% Other, 14% Hispanic, 8% Black, 6% Asian

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National Rankings

US News Rankings:

  • #7 Real Estate Program
  • #11 Accounting Program
  • #34 Best Undergraduate Engineering Program
  • #34 National Universities
  • #49 Best Undergraduate Teaching

Independent Rankings:

  • #1 Best College Athletics in America per Niche
  • #16 Colleges with the Best Student Life in America per Niche
  • #17 in Public Colleges per Forbes
  • #20 Best Value Colleges per Forbes
  • #21 Best Colleges per Money
  • #40 Research University per Money
  • #70 Top Colleges per Forbes

University of Florida Admissions Information

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Decision: N/A
  • Regular Decision: November 1st
  • Transfer: By Program

Notification Dates:

  • Early Decision: N/A
  • Regular Decision: Mid-February

Acceptance Rates:

  • ED: N/A
  • RD: 42%
  • Transfer: 47%

Average Applicant Pool: 45,000

Average Number of Applicants Accepted: 6,500

Application Systems: Common App, Coalition App

Average GPA: 4.42 weighted

SAT Scores: 25th% – 1360, 75th% – 1440

ACT Scores: 25th% – 29, 75th% – 33

*Test mandatory. Writing sections are mandatory.

Demonstrated Interest:

U of F considers demonstrated interest.

Recommendation Letter Policies:

Not considered in freshman applications.

University of Florida Essay Prompts:

  • Common App Personal Statement (650 words)
  • Answer all five of the following prompts (250 words each)
    • List and describe your community service activities. Please include your role in the activity and level of responsibility.
    • List and describe each job you’ve had, including dates of employment, job titles and hours worked each week.
    • [OPTIONAL] Do you have any employment or family obligations that limit your participation in extracurricular activities? Please describe.
    • List any programs or activities that helped you prepare for higher education, such as University Outreach, Talent Search, Upward Bound, etc.
    • Is there any other information for the Admissions Committee to consider when your application is reviewed

UF Essay Writing Tips

Special Notes:


  • Transfer admission is based on both the college and the major you apply to.
  • You need to have completed 60 credit hours and maintained a minimum GPA of 2.0 to be eligible for transfer admission.
  • The application must go through the UF portal.
  • Transcripts are required, as is proof of proficiency in at least one foreign language. Specific colleges and majors may have additional requirements.

University of Florida Admission Strategy

Admissions Criteria:

The parts of the application which are important are: course rigor, test scores, and talents.

The aspects the school considers are: essay, extracurricular activities, interview, level of interest, and character.

The school has minimum requirements in order for students to be accepted: a C average and test scores of 500+ on SAT sections and 19+ on ACT sections. These are a minimum, students are expected to do better than this. 

Recruited athletes need to meet the academic minimums to be accepted, although some athletes have more of an advantage than others. The most heavily recruited athletes are the only students allowed to skate by on the minimums.

What is UF Looking For?

UF uses a holistic review process, and while academics are very important, they are not everything. That said, good academics are one of the most important parts of an application to the school. Each application is read by at least two people before a decision is made. Once recommendations have been made by initial readers, committees and deans will make the final admissions decisions.

The most important aspect of an application is the academic side, as evaluated through a student’s high school record and standardized test scores. A student’s character and potential to contribute to the community are also important, and these are judged based on the student’s extracurriculars and essays. While character is important, it will not overcome weak academics in most cases.

The essay should demonstrate who a student is, beyond what can be seen from academic scores or extracurriculars. The school wants to see what each student will bring to the campus community, and how admitting them will help the school as a whole.

The school does not compare students by high school, and there are no quotas or maximums for the number of students accepted from any given school.

The school is trying to increase both their geographic and racial diversity, by increasing their recruitment of under-represented demographics. The school is also trying to produce alumni who go on to be leaders in their fields and shine a positive light on the university in their careers. They are looking for students with that kind of academic or entrepreneurial potential to admit.

UF Strategy:

There is no advantage or disadvantage for applying to different terms, or in submitting your application early (beyond the peace of mind finishing an application brings). Choice of major also does not affect admissions chances.

The best way to improve your chances of admission is to improve your academic standings, either grades or test scores. Depending on where you are in high school, test scores are possibly the only one still within reach to alter significantly.

The school does consider demonstrated interest, and showing interest in the school is an easy way to improve your chances slightly. While it won’t take you from a deny to an admit, it can nudge you ahead of a tie. UF has been climbing in rankings in recent years, and part of how those are calculated is seeing how many admitted students attend. By signaling an eagerness to attend, you both show the school you are serious about your application, and give them a boost in the rankings.

While one of the five essay prompts is optional, you should still answer all of them. UF does consider academics most important, but showing your character, convictions, and desire to learn for learning’s sake will help boost your candidacy.

University of Florida Academics


Core Requirements:

  • The school requires the following courses be taken by all students: 3 credits of Composition (C), 3 credits of Diversity (D), 9 credits of Humanities (H) (Three of the 9 credits must be HUM 2305 What is the Good Life), 3 credits of International (N), 6 credits of Mathematics (M), 9 credits of Physical and Biological Sciences (P) and (B), 9 credits of Social and Behavioral Sciences (S) 
  • Comprehensive Degree Requirement Information

Courses of Study: 

  • 90 Majors Offered
  • Students are generally not permitted to pursue more than two majors. A student completing multiple majors that grant the same degree within the colleges of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Business Administration, Fine Arts, or Liberal Arts and Sciences will receive one degree. A minimum of 15 credits without overlap are required when completing a second major, therefore majors with extensive overlap will not be approved.
  • Popular majors include Engineering; Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services; Biological and Biomedical Sciences; Social Sciences; and Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs.
  • 48 Minors Offered
  • Course Catalog

AP Credit Policies:

Special Programs

Honors Programs:

  • Honors Program you have the option to concurrently apply to the honors program on your application. Students must indicate their interest in the program and write two additional essays.
  • Graduating with Honors
  • Each school offers three levels of honors that are represented on your diploma. They vary from Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude and Summa Cum Laude, however each school has different criteria for each level.
  • Honor Roll is when students appear on the president’s honor roll and must achieve a perfect 4.0 in a semester of a minimum of 15 classes and or 12 in the summer.
  • Honors Residential College provides housing for students in the honors college.
  • Academic Honor Society

Research Availability:

  • 15% of undergraduates participate in research during their enrollment.
  • UF helped launch more than 190 startups based on researchers’ technologies in the past 15 years.

Study Abroad: 

Business Options: 

  • The College of Business offers three degree programs in business, with eight possible majors among them.
  • A Business Minor is available for students who are not majoring in business, and may be taken by students outside the school.
  • An accelerated MBA is offered via online courses.

Pre-Med Options:

Pre-Law Options:

  • UF has no “prelaw” major. Their philosophy is that students should choose a major to correlate with their interests and select a broad, diverse, and challenging array of courses from demanding instructors in order to prepare for success in law school.
  • Pre-Law Advising Program
  • Pre-Legal Honor Society

Computer Science Options: 

  • UF offers Computer Science majors through both the College of Engineering and the College of Liberal Arts.
  • Students not in the major may take the CS minor.
  • There is a joint BS/MS program which allows students to earn both degrees in 5 years.

Additional Specialty Programs: 

  • 56 Certificates offered from Urban Pest Management to Visual Arts Medicine.
  • Combination Degrees allows students in their junior and senior year  to get a head start on their graduate degree by counting up to 12 credit hours of graduate level classes for the undergraduate degree. Nearly all undergraduate colleges offer this option with varying requirements.

Programs for High Schoolers:

Student Life at the University of Florida

Motto: The welfare of the state depends on the morals of its citizens

Mission and Values:

  • Mission: To enable our students to lead and influence the next generation and beyond for economic, cultural and societal benefit. The university welcomes the full exploration of its intellectual boundaries and supports its faculty and students in the creation of new knowledge and the pursuit of new ideas.
  • Values: Commitment, Communication, Cultural of Hospitality, Honesty Humor, Respect
  • Additional Information
  • Student Testimonials (Niche, Unigo, Students Review)

Residential Housing System:

Typical residential colleges are not an emphasis at U of FL. Most of the student housing living options are dormitories. Living Learning Communities are available, but not the norm. Residential Experience and Learning Model have five themes including: community belonging, academic achievement, leadership development, multicultural engagement, and intentional wellness.

Housing Statistics:

  • 64% of Freshmen live on campus.
  • 22% of undergraduates live in on-campus housing at any given time

Campus & Surrounding Area:  


  • An above-average amount of students have a car while attending University of Florida. The school runs a free shuttle service for students and staff with routes around campus.
  • Parking Information (Freshmen are allowed to have cars and have designated parking lots they can use.)


  • The Pride of the Sunshine fight song sung by the student body at every football game when the Gators score a touchdown.
  • Football doesn’t get much bigger than at UFL, with traditions including the Gator Cheers, Chants, and Chomp. 
  • Gator Growl celebrates the beginning of football season with fireworks and live music. 
  • Tailgating before the games. 
  • Suffice to say, if you are a gator you have a lot of orange and blue clothing and a lot of school spirit.

Student-Run Organizations: 


Greek Life: 

Since 1884, students have participated in Greek life. Currently, 15% of the student body is active and there are currently four Greek councils, the Interfraternity Council, Multicultural Greek Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and the Panhellenic Council, with a combined total of 64 chapters.


  • Midtown bars right off campus are a big part of nightlife. Particularly well known bars include: Salty Dog Saloon, 101 Cantina, The Swamp Restaurant, Balls, Gator City Sports Bar and Grill and much more.
  • Many bars allow underage students inside with a special wrist band to designate that they are not of age. 
  • Gator Nights are put on by the university every Friday night and there are various events from pancakes at midnight to comedy shows.
  • Frat parties are popular and are available most weekends.
  • Princeton Review ranked UF at #16 for party schools.

Financial Information

Yearly Cost of Attendance (Out of State):

  • Total: $46,454
  • Tuition: $28,659
  • Fees: $2965
  • Room & Board: $13,980
  • Books: $850

Financial Aid:

The University of Florida offers four types of financial aid—grants, scholarships, loans, and part-time employment. Grants and scholarships are considered gift aid, as they do not have to be repaid. UF offers financial aid for the express purpose of helping students pay their educational-related expenses. Roughly 70% of students receive some form of financial aid.

Additional Financial Aid & Student Loan Information


The Office of Admissions currently offers a limited number of merit-based Presidential scholarships designed for our in-state high-achieving students: Presidential Scholarship: $5,000 per year (Fall/Spring, total $20,000 over 4 years). Athletic scholarships are offered to a number of students each year and vary on the amount based on availability.

Fun Facts

  • The Florida Bat Conservancy has a bat-house on campus.
  • The largest student-run newspaper in the United States is the Independent Florida Alligator, the daily student newspaper at the University of Florida. 
  • In 1965, Gatorade was formulated by a team of scientists at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
  • Gators can take pride that they are ranked second overall in the United States for the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to African-Americans and third overall for Hispanics.
  • One of the largest collections of butterfly and moth specimens in the world is housed at the University of Florida McGuire Center, rivaling that of the Natural History Museum in London.
  • One of only two D1 Florida Based Schools to win multiple national championships in two most popular NCAA sports:  football (1996, 2006, 2008) and men’s basketball (2006, 2007).
  • Famous alumni include Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, Senator Marco Rubio, and several astronauts.
Wendy Y.
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