What You Need to Know about College Admissions
College admissions is a somewhat mysterious process, but one thing has always been clear: It’s tough. In the past decade, admissions has become even more competitive. While the national average acceptance rate is around 70%, that percentage is radically lower at top-tier state universities. At UF, it’s about 24%; at FSU, it’s 25%.*
Despite these admittedly scary numbers, the conventional wisdom that “most schools admit most applicants” remains true. Nearly all Florida students are encouraged to apply to UF or FSU, which drives up the number of applicants. Meanwhile, we have 170 four-year schools, 92 community colleges, and more than 120 professional and technical schools.
There is a school out there for you!
Try to keep in mind during the busy and stressful process of applying to college that admissions really is relative. Because the decisions are made by people, there will always be a component of personal bias and preference in who is accepted and who isn’t. And it might be that, even if you have the right test scores and grades, a particular school is not the right fit for you; the admissions committee may see that before you do.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of colleges and universities suspended their standardized test requirement, and not all of them are reinstating it now. Experts have long suggested that these exams are not accurate predictors of college readiness, nor are they a fair and impartial measurement tool. For a long time, college admissions was trending toward more data and less personalization (in the form of writing samples and recommendation letters). In 2023, that trend is reversing.
Applicants can fall victim to a “make or break” mentality, believing that they have one shot to get into their dream school. But there are so many pathways to higher education, especially here in Florida. We have a 2+2 program, which holds that any student who completes an associate’s degree at a state college is guaranteed admission to a four-year university. The SUS also has transfer agreements with many independent colleges and universities. You can apply for Spring admission, which may pit you against fewer applicants (albeit for fewer available spots). You can also re-apply the following year. Don’t give up!
My passion is planning, processing and creating my own gory special effects. I love watching my designs come to life. The mind can come up with great ideas once you allow yourself to think creatively.”
Elzbieta “Ellie” Donohew Fall 2023 • AA degree
Hillsborough Community College • Tampa