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)
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.
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
US News Rankings:
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.
U of F considers demonstrated interest.
Recommendation Letter Policies:
Not considered in freshman applications.
University of Florida Essay Prompts:
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.
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.
Courses of Study:
AP Credit Policies:
Computer Science Options:
Additional Specialty Programs:
Programs for High Schoolers:
Motto: The welfare of the state depends on the morals of its citizens
Mission and Values:
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.
Campus & Surrounding Area:
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.
Yearly Cost of Attendance (Out of State):
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.
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.