Imagine the Possibilities

There’s more to college than what you see on TV.

Do you ever feel like all movies and TV shows about college life are always the same? You know the plot: A group of recent high school grads are dropped off on this huge campus by their parents. They all live in dorms with wacky roommates and attend classes taught by nerdy professors. On the weekends, they go to football games and toga parties. We’re here to tell you the truth: In real life, college is completely different. But in a good way. For one, you have options. Lots of options. You don’t have to attend a giant university. You don’t have to live on campus. And when it comes to the weekends, there’s way more to do than football games and toga parties. Here are the four types of schools you can attend in Florida, plus tips from students on why each type was the best choice for them.

BUILD A COLLEGE LIST Building a college list is the first step of the application process. Before you can map out deadlines, await acceptance offers and evaluate financial aid offers, you’ll have to decide which colleges and universities you’d be interested in attending. Tips for building a college list. Source: Cooke Foundation
 

Make it Possible Choosing the college, university or career center that’s right for you will help you shine. FloridaShines.org

State Universities

By the Numbers Florida is home to 12 state universities, ranging in size from smaller schools like New College of Florida to bigger campuses like the University of Central Florida.

Heads Up! Admission is competitive. If you want to attend a state university, talk to or check with your guidance counselor to make sure your grades and test scores are on track.

“A public university seemed like the best fit for me because they’re relatively affordable. I felt like they give you the most bang for your buck.”

Travis Hills, 22, 2019 graduate of Florida Polytechnic University, graduate of Tampa Bay Technical High School

 

Private Colleges & Universities

By the numbers Florida has 54 private, not-for-profit colleges and universities offering four-year degrees. Plus, 11 private not-for-profit colleges and universities offering certificate and associate degrees.

What’s the difference between public and private? Public colleges receive funding from the state. Private colleges generally don’t. Because of this, private colleges typically have higher tuition, but they may also offer students large financial aid packages.

“I went to a small high school and thought I wanted to attend a large state university. But after I toured Florida Southern, I realized there were many benefits to attending a smaller school. My largest class had 30 students, and it’s much easier to make new friends in a class of 30 than a class of 300.”

Victoria Cangero, 21, senior at Florida Southern College, graduate of Pine View High School

 

State Colleges

By the numbers Florida’s 28 state colleges offer associate and bachelor’s degrees in everything from business to marketing, nursing to aviation.

Did You Know? More than 60% of high school grads start their college careers at a state college.

“At a state college, the benefits are endless, and there are opportunities everywhere. I’ve joined so many clubs and even studied abroad. I don’t know if I would have done the same at a bigger university.”

Danielle Tjon, 20, 2019 graduate of Broward College, graduate of South Plantation High School

 

Public Technical Colleges

By the numbers Florida has dozens of career and technical schools — both public and private — offering super-specialized training in a specific skill or field.

Who are they best for? If you know exactly what you want to do for a living — be it a professional chef, hairstylist or mechanic — these schools give you the skills you need to succeed. Many also help you find a job after graduation.

“I didn’t want to spend too much time in school before starting a career that would carry me through the rest of my life. Trade schools are a great option, especially now with the strong demand from the construction sector. You’ll also have a skill that you could always fall back on for the rest of your life.”

Adam Meyer, 29, 2019 graduate of Florida Technical College, graduate of Edison High School, Huntington Beach, CA

 

Let’s Go to the Fair!

Attending college and school fairs is a great way to learn about all your options. Talk to your school counselor about college fairs at your school and in the community. The National Association for College Admission Counseling also offers free college fairs in larger cities like Tampa and Orlando. To learn more, visit nacacfairs.org.

Ask Questions
What’s college life like? What majors are popular on campus? Chatting with representatives from a variety of colleges can help you cement your own preferences.

Gather Information
Pick up brochures and other materials about the schools that interest you. Ask admission reps to scan your barcode — an easy way to help colleges follow up with you after the fair.

 

Need help deciding?

Not sure which type of school is best for you? Consider these factors:

What do you want to be when you grow up? We’ve got tips to help you answer this important question

How important are extracurricular opportunities to you? Some schools offer a lot of ways for students to get involved on campus. Others don’t.

What’s the ideal class size for you? Do you want to attend classes with hundreds of other students? Or do smaller classes sound more appealing?

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