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Answering Questions High School Me Wanted to Know About UF

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UFL chapter.

Being a senior in high school is overwhelming, especially when you have to decide where you will spend the next four years of your life. Picking a college is one of the first large decisions a person must make. There are so many factors to consider and so much uncertainty about your potential experience at a university. Here are the answers to questions high school me wanted to know about the University of Florida (UF) to help you decide whether UF is the college for you:

1. How would you describe the students at UF?

The students at UF are incredibly motivated and dedicated to achieving success. Students are eager participants in courses, willing to get involved in external organizations and always impress me with their desire to do more. Their love for the school is very clear, which is why UF has the highest alumni donation rate out of all public universities, according to UF Advancement

2. What is the best part about UF?

School spirit. Something I really considered when deciding where I would go to college was school spirit – my high school was small so there wasn’t much to cheer about. I wanted to go to a college that people loved and spoke highly about. The Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is almost always at maximum capacity for football games, attendance records are being set for gymnastics meets, the baseball field is usually full of fans and all other sports have plenty of spectators. Not only is the school spirit contagious at sports games, but Gator pride can also be seen all over campus with orange and blue clothing.

3. What is the worst or your least favorite part about UF?

Truly, when trying to come up with some of the university’s flaws, I drew a blank.  There are so many more positives than negatives about the university. If I had to come up with my least favorite parts about UF, it would be the rain and parking. Rain is obviously out of the university’s control, but due to the large campus, when it rains, you will likely have to walk in the rain. This can be annoying when walks to class are long, and you arrive to class with soaked shoes and damp clothing. You always have to remember an umbrella, a rain jacket or both.

Parking is a challenge at UF. There aren’t too many spots and there are a lot of parking passes distributed. If in a pinch, it is wise to not rely on finding a spot in a particular place. On the weekends and at night, it is a lot easier to find a parking spot than during the busy week.

4. Is UF just too big?

NO! Do not be discouraged by the size of the university. Many students are completing undergraduate and postgraduate education at UF. Quickly, the university will feel small. I see people I know multiple times daily while walking to and from classes. I have made so many connections with people during my almost two years at the school. I promise UF is not as big as it seems.

5. Are your classes huge, and can you actually form a relationship with your professors?

No, but your class size depends on your major, the particular course’s popularity and the necessity of taking that course. This is something I was really worried about when deciding whether or not I would attend UF. I was used to having twenty or fewer people in all my classes from elementary until high school since I went to a small private school. During my freshman year, my largest class had 100 students, which sounds like a lot, but it was a lecture-based one-credit media course with guest speakers. As a sophomore, my largest class has 25 students (this could be because I am an English major and most English courses have a limit on the number of students eligible to take each course). To answer the second part of this question, yes and no. I have been able to form relationships with my professors. Many know my name, I have talked to most during office hours or after class and I participate in my classes. One of my professors last spring saw me recently and said hello. It is easier than you’d think to connect with your professors, and these relationships can be super beneficial. It is up to you to introduce yourself and make yourself known to your professor.

6. How is class registration, and is there advising?

This is my honest take on registration. It’s slightly stressful, but it’s manageable. Despite being worried about not getting what I wanted to take, I have always gotten the necessary classes. Class registration should not be something that makes or breaks your decision to attend UF. Also, there is advising. It is the student’s responsibility to make appointments with advisors and to use the resources to benefit themselves. I have had to take the initiative to set up appointments and find my own advisor at the university.

7. What are the involvement opportunities?

Involvement opportunities at UF are endless. There are so many organizations that students can join. Name it, and I bet it exists. Some clubs and organizations are more competitive than others, and admittance into organizations is not always guaranteed. Do not be discouraged by this. Instead, consider it a blessing because you will become exposed to other opportunities.

8. Does everyone join Greek life?

No! Joining a sorority or fraternity is not necessary to make friends and have a social life at UF. While I am in a sorority, I still know plenty of people who are not in Greek life who have the same number of friends and fun. There are pros and cons to joining and deciding not to participate. I have met so many incredible people, have been exposed to countless opportunities that will benefit my future and have been able to get advice from older members on just about everything. It is completely up to you whether you decide to join or steer clear of Greek life.

9. How is dorm living?

Different. Dorm life is definitely an adjustment. There are a bunch of dorms that house mostly freshmen at the university. There are suite-style and traditional-style dorms with communal bathrooms. There are also living-learning communities, which are groups of students who share a common interest and live together. Living in a dorm had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for the world since I met so many amazing, lifelong friends.

10. Where do students study?

Students study all over campus. There are multiple libraries and other study spots on campus, such as Newell Hall and Norman Hall, that have many different comfortable seating arrangements for students to utilize. Students can be found studying outdoors when the weather is nice, and students also choose to study in their dorms or apartments. There are plenty of places to get your schoolwork finished on campus.

11. What do students wear to class?

Students wear just about everything. Since it is hot in Gainesville and students usually walk around campus, athletic wear and casual clothes are common. I wear workout clothes just about every day because they are comfortable, I’m sweating while walking around campus and I feel put together. Some students wear jeans and a cute top or sweater as well. It is truly up to you.

12. Does UF have on-campus dining?

Yes! According to UF Dining, there are 42 restaurants for students to choose from located on the University of Florida’s campus in addition to the two dining halls. Some of my favorite on-campus dining options include Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and SweetBerries.

13. What do you do when you’re not in class, and what do people do on the weekends?

When students have free time, they can complete schoolwork, visit the natural springs, go on long nature walks, attend sports games, run errands, hang out with friends and more. While Gainesville isn’t a big city like Miami, there are still things for students to do when they have time off. I am rarely ever bored and can always find something to do.

14. How do people get around campus?

People walk, bike, use an electric scooter, utilize the bus system or have a moped scooter. Something different about UF is the number of students who drive a moped. They can be found in just about every parking lot and on every street. I walk because I find it to be most convenient and I want to get the extra exercise. The campus is large, but definitely walkable so another mode of transportation is optional.

15. What career services are provided?

The Career Connections Center is ranked the second best in the nation, which makes sense considering how much they assist UF students, according to UF Student Life. This service can assist students in picking a major, educate students about different career options, set up mock interviews, give students access to a large database with internship and full-time job opportunities, assist students in their search for a job, provide students with business professional clothing, review resumes and more. This is an incredible resource for UF students to use.

16. What makes UF’s campus different?

UF has a large and beautiful campus with lots of grass space and bodies of water with real alligators. There are fun sculptures, such as the fries outside of Marston Science Library and the rock in front of Turlington Plaza. The campus has two museums: the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Harn Museum of Art. There is a theater, the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, that features operas, Broadway plays, ballets, orchestras and philanthropy performances, according to UF Student Life. We have an enormous student union, called the Reitz Student Union. There’s an arts and crafts center, a game room, an art gallery, a barbershop, dining options, study and meeting spaces, dance studios, a hotel, an expansive bookstore and more – it has everything you could imagine. There are two gyms free to all students and swimming pools on campus, as well. While not on campus, there are multiple dining options just a few steps from the campus, such as Chick-fil-A, Raising Canes, Jimmy Johns, Insomnia Cookies, Cava, Just Salad, Bento, Starbucks and Dunkin.

17. What services are available for UF students that one might not expect?

UF offers many additional and unexpected services and amenities to its students. For one, the Student Nighttime Auxiliary Patrol, known as SNAP, is a nighttime driving service that can transport students around UF’s campus. This service is at no additional cost to students and helps keep students safe from walking alone or in the dark. The university has its own police department with more than 90 officers who patrol the campus 24/7, according to UF Student Life. The safety of the students is prioritized, and I definitely feel comfortable on campus. The Counseling and Wellness Center is another resource available to UF students that offers free therapy sessions to improve mental health and to break one of the main barriers, cost, limiting people from seeking help. Additionally, the university owns Lake Wauburg, a water area a short drive from the main campus. Students can participate in water sports, such as swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding and canoeing, or play volleyball, spikeball, soccer, disc golf and more on land.

Attending UF was a scary yet incredibly rewarding decision. I have absolutely loved my time at the university and would highly recommend all seniors who are accepted to consider becoming a Gator in the summer or fall of 2024. Good luck with your decision-making!

Hey everyone! I am Neenah Brown, a second-year English major at the University of Florida. I am so excited to be able to pursue my passion for journalism on the Her Campus UFL team! In my free time, I like to work out, play tennis, shop, spend time with friends, go to the beach and eat at Chick-Fil-A. My writing is usually about shopping and clothing trends and college life as a Gator. After graduation, I plan on attending law school.