So your student wants to be a Gator?
That is understandable; Time Magazine ranked UF as the best school in Florida. UF is a great university right down to the beautiful brick buildings, deep-seated traditions and is filled with opportunity. The question is, how does your son or daughter get in?
I remember back to 2008 when I went to a UF Alumni event titled, How to get your child into UF. The takeaway was that most of us in that room would not meet their current standards (hard to hear but so accurate). They were moving from being a selective admittance school to very selective. Today, they are extremely selective looking not only at grades and test scores but student involvement, leadership roles and an essay that stands out.
Record High for Applications
Applications reached a record high this past year with over 40,000 applicants for approximately 6,500 seats. The statistics, 4.3 – 4.6 average academic GPA; 29-33 ACT; 1330-1460 SAT total, are pretty clear cut in regard to what UF is looking for in a student, but here are a few thoughts as to how your student can tweak their high school preparation.
Grades and tests scores are (obviously) important, but so are showing that they are not only about the scores. Show UF that there are more to them by being involved in clubs, teams and/or organizations that show they have a passion for something other than school work.
Don’t just join; lead. Showing them they are not just a member, but a leader in some way. Take a leadership position in one of those clubs or teams. On a side note, my older daughter ran for every position possible in the clubs she belonged to and for Student Government. Her class numbered well over 600 students so she did not get selected. There is a section in the application where they can mention other pertinent information they feel UF should know about. This was a great place to state that she had attempted to get a leadership position. Use this area to mention anything that is not stated already in the application.
Show some rigor in their class schedule. While A’s are really nice; it can be better to get a lower grade in a class that shows they are challenging yourself. So don’t rule out AP Physics or AP Spanish.
They should write an amazing application essay. Do you have any idea how many essays they read and how they all begin to sound the same? They need to stand out; be different. Stating they bleed orange and blue is not going to work nor will stating that they have dreamed of being a Gator all their lives. Remember most of the 34,000 prospective students also bleed orange and blue. If they are unsure how to go about doing this, feel free to seek help. We recommend Essential Essays College Essay Consulting, assisting students with brainstorming, planning and writing college essays that will reveal their personality and gives their application a positive edge. Learn about them here. The essay is a huge part of the application as it is the only opportunity your student has to stand out as more than grades and test scores. It gives their application personality.
When applying to UF, be extremely careful about what you are applying for. Not only do you have the choice of applying for Summer B instead of Fall, but also Innovative Academy and their PACE program. See our blog on these two UF specific programs here. I know students in both of these programs that are very happy. Do not rule it out if UF is truly the only college you want to attend. Learn about PACE here and Innovative Academy here.
If UF is your dream school and you don’t get in, do not rule out some Florida’s other great universities. Consider what you want to study because other colleges may offer a better program for their major.