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Finding a Roommate

First time living with someone you’re not related to!  Living in a dorm my freshman year was probably one of the best decisions I made while attending UCF. Like most freshman, I didn’t have a car so being off campus would have made it ten times harder to get to campus. I was able to roll out of bed and walk to class, without having to worry about parking AND I was also able to get some exercise in! I was lucky enough to live in the Nike apartment dorm during my Summer B term and in Neptune during my Fall/Spring term. In Nike, I had my own room, kitchen and living room so I felt like I had plenty of space for my things and it was an easy transition from home. In Neptune, I didn’t have my own kitchen and living room, but there was a community area on my […]


A Nice Place to Stay Keeping in mind that Orlando is not only a college town but also the fun capital, there is a vast selection of hotel options. There are all different things to take into consideration when booking. Some may want a suite type of room, free breakfast and/or to be able to walk to campus, or perhaps, a trendier hotel with a Starbucks in the lobby. Some look for hotels that allow them to bring their pets. And others, but not many, don’t mind traveling a little bit and want to be more downtown, near Disney or even stay in the Winter Park, a quaint little town not far from UCF. Pet-Friendly For those who are traveling with pets, the hotels that are pet-friendly include:  TownePlace Suites Orlando East La Quinta Inn & Suites Orland UCF Best Western Orlando East Inn & Suites Park Plaza Hotel in Winter Park […]

Retail Therapy

A Little Retail Therapy There is plenty of shopping in Orlando – maybe too much – and although your student is up there for school, there is always something that he or she will need, particularly at the start of the first semester. Whether you go to an actual retail store or order online, you will be buying stuff. It’s a good idea to order some things online or at your home store and have them waiting for you at a store in Orlando. This can be done at Target, Walmart and Bed, Bath and Beyond, and can be extremely time-saving as well as freeing up space in your vehicle or if your student is flying into town, making shipping far easier and less expensive. There are many other major box stores near UCF as well, including Best Buy, Dollar Tree, Sears, TJ Maxx and a few department stores. And since they […]

Fix It!

Repair Shops Car, scooter or bike, oh my! What if it breaks down, and you need a fix it shop? At UCF, you will find all in large numbers. Talk to any student about which is the most useful at UCF and you’re likely to get an equal number of answers. No matter the transportation your student is using, they may, at some point, need a repair shop. There is nothing worse than having your main mode of transportation break down. You might want to remind them that there is a great bus system right on campus, but prepare for the eye roll response. Below you will find a list of repair shops. Bike Shops UCF Bike N Gold 12715 Pegasus Dr · 407- 823-6484 Open until 5 PM Bikes can also be reserved here as part of the Bike Share program. Bike Shop Cycle Spectrum Orlando Waterford Lakes Town Center 407-482-9111 […]


UCF Sports If I think back to touring UCF when it was down to decision time as to which college, one of the first things I realized was that I better learn a little something about sports. Don’t get me wrong; even when you don’t know what’s really going on the court/field; the enthusiasm and excitement can’t be beat.  The important part is to know when to karate chop, cheer and jingle your keys (I’ll explain shortly). You also might benefit from a few other bits of information, like where to buy tickets or where to sit during a game. (Hint: The key is learning where in the stadium to sit based on time of game and shade.) Student Tickets Did U know…UCF students get in FREE to all Knight athletic events, including football? Football, basketball, and baseball are most popular, but tickets are available to view golf, lacrosse, soccer, swimming & […]

FAFSA, all you need to know!

What is – FAFSA? First Applicants Find Substantial Assets, of course! FAFSA is the national Free Application for Federal Student Aid but, based on how aid is distributed. Because aid is distributed on a first come, first serve basis, every student that hopes to receive aid for college must fill out this form to even be considered. Every college has their own deadline. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students were able to file using prior-prior year (PPY) tax data. As a result of this change, you could submit the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year on October 1, 2018, using your 2017 tax and income information. (Summer applicants for 2019 need  to submit a 2018-2019 application using the 2016 tax and income information). If you have not done so already, you will also need to complete that year’s application as well.  In addition, if an amended return was filed, the IRS will […]

Care Packages

We Know You Care For six summers I worked in the office at the sleep-away camp that my kids went to. Watching the elation on the camper’s faces when they opened the care packages that arrived from home was priceless. I even put together a few of my own even though I got to see my kids scoot by the office daily. I didn’t want them to miss out on the thrill of knowing they were being thought of or opening a little piece of home. When they began college, although I realize they were considered adults, I started sending care packages to them at school. The contents certainly differed, but the sentiment was the same. I sent them for various reasons; holidays, midterms or finals or sometimes just because. Don’t Wait Why wait for midterms or finals to send a little something to your student? They may not admit it, but […]

Knights Spring Debut

They’re Back At It!  After last football season’s remarkable performance, our UCF Knights are itching to get back out on the field to play more football. They will debut on April 21st, 2018 at 6 pm and it will be our first opportunity to see Josh Heupel, the Knight’s new football coach, lead the way at Spectrum Stadium at the 2018 UCF Spring Game. General admission tickets are free. Spring Game prices for premium areas are as follows: Tower Club – $20, Stadium Club – $10, Carl Black & Gold Cabana ($5).  As usual, admission for students at Spectrum Stadium is free with a valid UCF student identification card. Don’t worry if you can’t make it; the game will be televised. More information on activities surrounding the UCF Spring Game will be announced in the coming weeks. To learn more or to buy tickets, click here. As always, admission for students at Spectrum Stadium […]

Wakey, Wakey Eggs & Bakey

Our favorite meal of the day! Like any college town and/or city where many residents carry a yearly fun pass,  there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. The more time my daughter spends up there, the more places to eat we have discovered. You will find your burgers, pizza, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean; a restaurant for every palate and every price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Orlando, who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal, the options are plentiful. Some things to consider beforehand are price and time. It is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, on a game weekend or graduation, at some of the more popular selections. Please note some are in Orlando and others in Oviedo, […]

First Time Student Loan Borrower?

You’ll Need to Do This. What is Entrance Counseling? In July of 2016, the U.S. Department of Education made it a requirement that, in order to have student loans disbursed, all students must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This counseling includes information needed to successfully repay the federal student loans they will be receiving to help pay for college costs. You can get more information here. If you have not previously received a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), the federal government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming. You must complete entrance counseling before you can receive the proceeds of your first Direct Loan. If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow a loan as an undergraduate student, then the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. If you are completing […]

Send a Little Halloween Love…

Have Some Halloween Fun! When my daughter left for college, I sent her a Halloween care package.  It was nothing fancy; just some dollar store decorations, candy for her to share with her suitemates and some fun things that could be used for a makeshift costume. Remember that UPS shipping within the state of Florida is typically overnight at no additional cost; a perk I have often enjoyed. If you are creative,  Pinterest has some great Halloween themed care package suggestions.  Some sayings you can put inside include: I Miss you Boo (with a ghost next to it) No tricks just treats! Hey Pumpkin, you deserve this Going batty without you Well… you get the point. We’ve taken the guesswork out of what to send and went right to the source… our interns. They may be adults but they are still not too old for a good, old-fashioned Halloween gift. Here are the […]

Dorm, Home Sweet Dorm

Just Like Home You may be surprised at how one can transition a mass-produced, industrial-looking dorm room into a warm and inviting room/suite. And there is plenty of help out there to spur ideas and help you organize. Organization is a primary concern, because after all if your kids are anything like mine, they will take enough stuff from home to settle them in as though there are no laundry facilities or stores in the vicinity. It took us two packed cars to get our daughter’s stuff up to school. The more well known retailers will carry just about everything you need for a dorm room – we like Bed Bath & Beyond, Target and Walmart. Pinterest alone has enough ideas to make your head spin.  Of course, decorating for a girl’s room is drastically different from a boy, but both will need a little extra organization. Either way, check the size […]


All Round Good Times. It seems almost silly to write about things to do when visiting your student at UCF simply based on the fact that our kids are literally going to school in the family fun headquarters of the country. Yet, not every weekend needs to be about Disney when you visit. To begin with, if it is football season, get ready to cheer on those Knights. Actually, there is often a sport worth watching on campus somewhere. Check out our blog on UCF Sports to find out more about the Knight traditions and where to sit in the stadium, etc. More than football… Undoubtedly a good meal is going to be in the plan, but beyond that, there is plenty to do not far from campus. You can catch a movie at the Regal Cinema Movie Theater where there are literally 20 theaters and an IMAX. And if there is […]

They’ve Been Accepted, A New Knight!

Here’s what you do now… Your son or daughter is going to be a Knight!! Congratulations!! It is great to be a Knight for so many reasons. You can now take that sigh of relief that a decision has been made and then take a look at our list of what to do next. First, this may sound silly, but check your admissions letter for accuracy regarding their name, entrance term, address and major. If any changes need to be made it needs to happen in writing or online at myUCF. Next, you are going to want to get that $200 deposit and form in by May 1 for summer and fall semesters and December 1 for the spring semester. Without the deposit, they won’t be able to register for the mandatory orientation, etc… This can also be done through myUCF. Register for a Knights email account. They will need one; all official UCF […]

Study – The Best Places to Study around UCF Campus

Finding a good place to study is very important for students.  However, they all need a few other options for good places to study. Fortunately, there are quite a few places to study on and off the UCF campus. My son closes his bedroom door in his apartment and puts on headphones to study.  My daughter likes to study in the laundry room, perhaps it is the idea of getting two things done at once or the whir of the machines that block out distractions. On campus, the most obvious would be one of the four libraries. Be sure to check the hours as they tend to extend hours as it gets closer to finals, but presently the hours are as follows: John C. Hitt Library – 7:30 am to 1 am – The 4th floor is the silent floor, but keep in mind that due to constant construction it may not be […]

Computer and Phone Repair

OMG. It’s Broken.   The day my daughter’s phone broke, and she thought the world would come to an end, was nothing compared to when her computer stopped working. I have to admit, I could live without a phone temporarily, although our kids’ phones have become their life-lines; but when a computer malfunctions and all the work you did previously can’t be accessed, or worse, may have been lost; it may feel like the world is coming to an end. The good news is that it isn’t. There are plenty of (more competent than I) repair services available right near campus for those moments. I do, however, highly recommend a backup system for computers. I presently use Mozy for myself and my student’s computers. It simply backs up our computer daily (or as often as you deem necessary) so if they ever run into a jam there is no need to panic; all […]

Spring Break

Popular Ways To Spend Your Break. You haven’t seen them since January and are looking forward to some time with them home again over Spring Break. UCF’s 2019 Spring Break is Monday, March 11th through Saturday, March 16th. I recognize the scenario. They, our students, may have other plans though. Just thought I would give you the heads up. It is not uncommon for students to go away with their friends for Spring Break. It’s what they saved all summer for, right? Remember cramming 10 college kids into the Holiday Inn in Ft. Lauderdale for Spring Break when you were their age? Perhaps that is what is frightening you. Probably the most popular Spring Break trip these days is a cruise…with 422 of their closest friends (think group rates). My son has been on two. Based on his stories, I pity the family that was also on that cruise ship thinking they […]

Tax Time

Seems like it always almost time for Uncle Sam.  April 15th is right around the corner. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of your student’s education). Two Credits Available There are two tax credits available to take, The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The AOTC (American Opportunity Tax Credit) was made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act signed in 2015. It now includes required course materials (think books, supplies, equipment) in addition to tuition and required fees (local, technology – you know, all those fees not included in tuition). The AOTC allows credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student for which $1,000 is […]

Shopping Guide for New Students

Top 7 categories of what they need! Back to school-college is the second biggest consumer spending season right behind winter holiday season. Parents expect to spend an average of $1,347 on their soon-to-be college student. College shopping is big business. Is it too early to shop? No, definitely not. HaveUHeard how much there is to shop for? Look at the college checklist from the top retailers and you will see an average of 126 items. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping with your student for college; the lists can get overwhelming so we tried to break it down for you. You may also want to read our blog on Dorm Décor. There are lots of good ideas there as well. The average traditional dorm size is only about 130 square feet and most likely, that is shared space. It is hard to think that all […]

Let’s Do Lunch

Best places we know! Like any college town and/or city where many residents carry a yearly fun pass,  there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. The more time my daughter spends up there, the more places to eat we have discovered. You will find your burgers, pizza, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean; a restaurant for every palate and every price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Orlando, who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal, the options are plentiful. Some things to consider beforehand are price and time. It is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, on a game weekend or graduation, at some of the more popular selections. Please note some are in Orlando and others in Oviedo, which is […]

Happy Birthday Care Packages

Blow out those candles!  When their birthday rolls around, it can be just one more reminder that you won’t be celebrating together so putting together a care package takes the sting out. Once I filled a box with party hats, blowers, balloons, popcorn, candy and her gift. The pictures my daughter sent of she and her roommates sitting around with all that silly stuff and big smiles made me happy. If I couldn’t celebrate with her, at least I knew she was having fun. Some of the local places like Insomnia Cookies and Sweets by Holly will deliver the most amazing cupcakes (12 cupcakes for $20, plus a delivery fee). Who wouldn’t appreciate a customized cookie cake or cupcakes on their birthday? You can also have a cake delivered from Publix through Instacart. Also, read our blog on delivery companies here to see what else you can have sent. Another great birthday suggestion […]

What to Get Dad on a Limited Budget

Don’t forget dear old dad!  My sister and I are daddy’s girls but not in the way you would think. We grew up playing sports and having him as our coach. He would bake cookies with us, rough house with us and talk to us in the same way he would talk to my brother. That was until we were teenagers wearing makeup, dressing in what he would consider too short dresses and skirts and showed an interest in boys. Then he became a protective dad. No matter the relationship, the one thing my brothers and I had in common is that we have a very limited budget when it comes to picking out a Father’s Day gift. Many college students are in the same position. So we pooled our money together to come up with one great gift. We’ve always managed to be as creative as possible when it comes to […]

Safety Tips For Using Rideshare

Important  Reminders I remember when I first heard about Uber and thought it was a brilliant concept for so many reasons; one of which was that it should cut down on people driving after drinking and provide a way that my college kids didn’t walk home late at night or alone. I still think the idea is great and encourage my kids to continue to use Uber, Lyft, Wahi Ride or whatever their choice may be; however, before more scary stories show up in the news, we have had to create some new rules to be sure that they remain safe. Of course, the first rules are that whenever possible ride with a friend and when you feel the slightest bit uneasy, do not hesitate to call for a campus police escort. And just so you know… UCF SGA now works with Lyft and if you use Lyft as a business account […]

Florida Prepaid

What Does It Pay For? Many of us who have lived in Florida, planned for our students’ education by taking advantage of the Florida Prepaid program. The program allows families to prepay for their child’s education at a guaranteed fixed rate. Many of us, also, were practically in shock when our last payment came due, possibly because that meant that college was right around the bend. If you are anything like me you made your payments habitually, but when it came time to actually register my kids for a university in the state of Florida, we weren’t completely sure what all those years of payments were going to cover. Now we know. We will admit we learned along the way. For instance, we did not pay for dorms for more than one year as we were advised not to since many students choose not to live in the dorms beyond freshman year. […]

Moving In

Let’s Move! Once your student has been given their move in date and dorm/residence assignment, the process of handling what can be a stressful, labor intensive and often expensive process begins. Traditionally, female students tend to take a full on decorating approach complete with wall décor, signs, pictures frames, string lights, desk accessories and many other decorative items. Male students do not quite go that full in and often just want a comfortable bed, maybe a poster or two and perhaps a rug. It is quite humorous after each drop-off, whether it is for summer or fall, to see my friends postings on Facebook and Instagram, (because that is the social media that parents are most comfortable with), and see the obvious difference between a completed dorm room. This may be one of those sticker price shock moments. According to the National Retail Federation, back to college spending averaged $969.88 in 2017. […]

What U Should Do Before Heading to UCF

Before you leave Before you leave to take your kid to college, there are a few items you will want to take care of that are extremely important. Most college students are 18, although a few are younger, which means they are considered to be legal adults. With that comes a whole lot of independence from their parents, regardless of who is footing the bill for their education. Unless they give you permission or their login information, you will be unable to have access to their health records, grades, pretty much anything that has HPPA laws behind it. Talk to your student about signing over permission for the college to speak with you. Make certain they understand that without that signed permission, everything, and we mean everything, pertaining to the college from medical records to financial aid, cannot be discussed with any other person but themselves. While you may be footing the […]

Budget 101

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees At orientation we were inundated with information about all sorts of things; from FAFSA forms to meal plans. No one ever really elaborated on the best way to handle finances or learn to budget when it comes to how much to give your new student. Perhaps this is because it will vary based on need, ability, preparedness to handle the responsibility, what an allowance should cover and so on. I first realized that we needed a plan when our daughter announced, during our fifteen minutes together during orientation, that she was excited to learn that there are places near campus that provide student discounts on manicures. Budget 101. I wanted to sign her up right away, but realized that it wasn’t just her that needed this class, but we, as her parents, needed to have a better handle on how much we would be doling out, how […]

Nature vs Nurture, there is more than the “Mouse”

As they say, after Disney… Once you’ve completed your obligatory Disney trip, your most recent trips to Orlando have probably been about seeing the school, orientation and move in (which means shopping too). By now you know that UCF is really a beautiful school. To boot, there is no denying that Orlando also gets some pretty awesome weather year-round (well, minus the ridiculous summer heat, but that is a great time to check out a water park or local lake). The winters are cooler than I expected; having lived in S. Florida for so long I had no idea it got that chilly at night, but they are still spectacular. Good weather makes us want to be outside and drink it in. Great news; there is plenty to do in and around Orlando (other than the typical commercialized Disneyesque sort of stuff) that will keep you enjoying nature and the outdoors. It […]

Are You Ready for Some Football?

Knights Athletic Events.  After the Knight’s undefeated football season and Peach Bowl win over Auburn, UCF fans are stoked as the 2018 season should prove to be just as exciting as 2017’s was. The Knights finished last season 13-0; their best in UCF’s history. Did U know…UCF students get in FREE to all Knight athletic events? Student tickets are in high demand and now have to be pre-purchased via UCFStudentTix.com using an Android or iPhone. fKeep in mind though that some student tickets only allow entrance through specific doors, so if you want to sit with your student, their free ticket may not work well. Non-Student tickets can be purchased on the Knight’s official website as well as through Stub Hub, Vivid Seats, SeatGeek.com or Ticketmaster. Season tickets are on sale now. Click here to purchase. Try to map out which games are of interest to you now; the earlier you purchase […]

Care Packages … Because Sometimes They Get Sick…

You just want someone to make you a cup of tea.  When our kids are sick, regardless of the fact that they are supposedly considered adults, it feels awful when they are far away; rendering us unable to tend to help. However, you would be amazed at how quickly a care package can get to them and it will surely make you both feel better. (UPS is generally overnight from one Florida destination to another.) Depending on what is ailing them, even the most simple of care packages filled with soft tissues, lozenges, some Kind bars, Emergen-C, a few fun teas, Sudafed, Clorox wipes, cozy socks and maybe some homemade brownies can feel so good. For those of you that think a little matzoh ball soup can cure anything, the Hillel at UCF will deliver hot soup to your ailing student through the Jewish Penicillin Hotline. (You don’t have to be Jewish […]

Dinner, Early or Late!

The secret to getting a good dinner.  Like any college town and/or city where many residents carry a yearly fun pass,  there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. The more time my daughter spends up there, the more places to eat we have discovered. You will find your burgers, pizza, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean; a restaurant for every palate and every price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Orlando, who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal, the options are plentiful. Some things to consider beforehand are price and time. It is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, on a game weekend or graduation, at some of the more popular selections. Please note some are in Orlando and others in […]

Making the Most of Summer B

This is when summer gets fun!  Summer B for freshman is probably one of the most exciting times. It is most likely the first time living with thousands of other students your age and able to make decisions like when you wake up, when where and what to eat (read our blog on restaurants), and how late you stay out. It can be a little overwhelming at first and I think it’s normal for every person to be a little nervous at first. I know my roommates and I were. The campus is huge and it’s hard not knowing your way around, so one of the first things I did was go with a friend to discover the campus to make it easier for us on the first day of classes. Summer B on campus offers so much, such as the first Pool Party of the Summer. You’ll meet so many people […]

Food for Thought

No Student Hungry Much like the national campaign No Kid Hungry®, there are many students at colleges throughout the United States that are barely getting by, some putting their nourishment behind paying for college and all of the expenses that go along with college; tuition, books, rent, utilities, to name a few. The USDA average monthly cost of food for a college-age student for a moderate-cost plan, following the recommended Food plans, is $223.55. Many students who are struggling just to keep up with the cost of college even while working and getting loans, often feel uncomfortable saying anything about struggling to maintain a balanced diet. As a college student who relied on school loans, I would often make light of this, kidding around and saying my meals consisted of ramen noodles. But knowing the importance a healthy diet plays on one’s health, sleep patterns, stress, capacity to think and be strong […]

Money, Money, Money

When Will They Get Their Financial Aid? The time has come to pay for your college costs and panic sets in.  I remember receiving my tuition statement for my son when he attended UCF and yet his student account showed no Prepaid Florida (which I was fortunate enough to have 4-year college and 1-year dorm)  In addition, his bank account did not reflect his Bright Futures Scholarship funds. So when does this money get disbursed? Can you get a deferral for books, living accommodations, and student fees? For your student’s specific account details you should log into their account at myUCF portal and create their New Knights Email Account. Here is how you set up an email account. Here are some specifics: Florida Prepaid For any enrolled student who has an active Florida Prepaid College Plan, the University of Central Florida automatically extends the tuition and fee due date after the add […]

Teaching Them to Budget

My Best Advice as a Parent Three times the charm. Well, I suppose that isn’t fair; all three of my kids are charming and adorable. The difference is that not all three are very good with money and frankly I blame myself a little for that. I am not one to preach, but since you asked, the best advice I would give to a parent of a new college student is to give them a budget and make them stick to it. With my first college student, there was no real budget. She called and said she needed more and I supplied. Her requests never seemed too unreasonable. I paid her rent, credit cards, car expenses, food and so on. It all seemed so logical. Why then, as a college graduate in the real world, did she have such a tough time navigating bill paying and budgeting? Because she never had to. […]

Gameday Outfits for UCF Parents

Show Your Team Spirit! I love going to college football games- there is nothing like game days but, TBH, I am not going to wear some of the outfits that I see my daughter wearing – been there, done that when I was a student. I’m all about the Gold & Black on game days and I am somewhat about the fashion. But I also want to be comfortable especially on those Florida humid days when you are packed in a stadium and it is more than 90° out and the humidity is stifling. You can wear officially licensed Knight wear or just dress in Gold & Black. Here are some great suggestions for us Moms and Dads from cotton tops and t-shirts to comfortable dresses for the moms and collared shirts, polos or jerseys for dads or just a super comfortable, breathable tee. Throw in some accessories including a regulation stadium bag […]

Fun Classes to Take

When You Need Electives At orientation before freshman year, had started, advisors asked that students declare a major. My daughter left there practically in tears, feeling as though the pressure was on and her course needed to be set. There was a course catalog, per say, in front of her, but she felt limited to just the pages within her major. We encouraged her to explore. Take all different sorts of electives, because you just never know what may spark an interest and possibly change an intended path for something even more grand and exciting. Sometimes students’ schedules are just so jam-packed that an easy and fun elective is the perfect way to round out a schedule. Electives can serve many purposes: fulfill an individual’s major requirement, supplement more rigorous courses to complete a minor, fill a schedule, or simply to have fun. For those who have the time and space in […]

Flu Season Ahead

The Flu ends with “U” It’s that season again – and I don’t mean hurricanes. Flu season is generally from October through May; peaking in December. Given that the flu is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact – and what gets closer than dorm life and classrooms – your student may want to consider getting vaccinated. UCF makes it incredibly easy and free too. The UCF health center is open 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Students can walk in for a flu shot or make an appointment by contacting the center at 407-823-2701 or StudentHealth.ucf.edu. Bring a valid student ID. They can also check out the dates, times and various locations around campus that UCF has a Mobile Flu-Clinic. The vaccines given on campus do not contain any live influenza virus and take about 2 weeks for protection to develop. UCF will […]

Interning in New York City

Who doesn’t want to live in New York City? Ok, I am a little partial. I am a born and bred New Yorker, living in S. Florida for 25 plus years, and I still love it. And so do many of our students, which is why New York is so popular for summer internships. They will need a place to live. Where to look for housing? There are many options. Most interning students live in dorms in various colleges throughout the city. New York University – is most popular and fills quickly. My daughter lived downtown on the border of Little Italy in an NYU dorm one summer. The dorm wasn’t very fancy, but the security was tight and the living space was huge, well for NYC. NYU has multiple dorms in a few parts of the city. To save money living in the NYU dorms students can share a room. Depending […]

Credit Cards for College Students

What Every Student Should Know Recently I told my daughter to go pay something with a check. She responded by asking me if she had those somewhere. She literally had never written one. In a day of Venmo, Zelle, debit and credit cards, people, students included, just don’t seem to carry cash anymore and checks are becoming more and more archaic. Credit cards, though, can be scary for students; particularly when they see the word “limit” and somehow skip over the fact that those balances have to get paid. Given that we made some serious errors with our oldest regarding money management, we decided to approach things differently with young adult #3. As she entered her sophomore year, we actually encouraged her to get a credit card. We began by explaining the reasons why: Establish credit Learn to manage money Provide ease and convenience when paying for things Take advantage of offers […]

The Next Four Years

Do you know what a true Knight does with their keys during a football game? Do you know what a true Knight does with his/her keys during a football game?* If you have a student ready to spend the next four years at UCF and plan to visit, you best get a good collection of keys in order. You can feel the school spirit by just getting near campus. Orlando is both, in character and appearance, generally known as one of the country’s most fun cities. Centrally located (consequently UCF’s appropriate name) in the heart of Florida, Orlando is home to more than a dozen theme parks. Chief among its claims to fame is Walt Disney World, comprised of parks like the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, as well as water parks. Another major destination, Universal Orlando, offers Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Remember, being […]

Safety Matters

Their Safety is Really All that Matters I’m not a helicopter parent. Really, I’m not. (Ok, some may disagree.) Regardless, once we have moved our student in and they are ready to embark on a new independent life, we still want to know they are safe at all times. Once the tears have stopped (ours, of course), it becomes easier each time you realize their growing autonomy (this is what we are supposed to want for our children) and happiness. Knowing they are safe is a forever thing. Therefore, it may be helpful to know that UCF has a few very supportive resources available. The UCF Police Department provides Student Escort Patrol Service, which is a free service. Student employees of the police department use special carts or walk with students to their destination. The service runs seven days a week when classes are in session. It does not, however, run on […]

Off Campus Living

Economical to Extravagant It happens before you know it. They are really living it. Literally. In about October or November of your student’s freshman year, they most likely will tell you that they want to move off campus the next year. And that they will start looking at apartments in October. This is not a joke.  I know you have just about adjusted to having them leave and getting them settled in the dorm, but the good ones go fast, so when it is time to sign a lease, they want to know where and with whom they want to live. On average leases are signed as early as February for some places and sold out by the end of March. There are many apartment complexes that cater to students; some within walking distance of campus. Some even have free shuttles to campus with multiple stops on their properties. Generally, the further from […]

Radio and TV Stations

Media Details. For students coming from larger cities who are accustomed to nationally syndicated stations, rest assured, there are plenty of radio stations in Orlando that will meet your listening tastes. I must admit that every student I spoke with said they didn’t have cable or listen to regular radio, because of Netflix, Spotify (which gives a student discount), Apple TV and so on. Students generally listen to streaming music and with free Wi-Fi on campus; a great alternative to radio.Yet, for those of us that want the basics, here are a few choices. Radio There are 76 radio stations within range of the UCF/Orlando area. Click here to see the list. Of course, this includes the station that is broadcast directly from UCF’s studios right on campus that plays jazz music and other non-commercial programming.  WUCF-FM 89.9    TV Students are typically too busy to watch television, but they do have […]

Bright Futures

Scholarship Shining Bright! On Friday, March 9th, Governor Rick Scott signed the SB4 bill, which amongst other items encourages universities to graduate students within four years and increases funds for Bright Futures scholarships and scholarships for low-income students, Academic scholars in Bright Futures can now receive 100% of tuition, Medallion scholars will get 75% of tuition and recipients will be able to use the money for summer credit hours beginning in the 2018 Summer term for the Florida Academic Scholars award, and Summer 2019 for the Florida Medallion Scholars award   A Florida Academic Scholar who is enrolled in a certificate, diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree program at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution is  eligible, beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, for an award equal to the amount necessary to pay 100 percent of tuition and fees and is eligible for an additional $300 each fall and spring academic semester […]


They’re Back… Thanksgiving break is the first official long break when students come home.  I do not know about you, but after two months of texts, phone calls, and Facetime, there is nothing like being able to hug your student for the first time…. And then the tug of war begins – sometimes hours after they arrive. At school, they come and go as they please. They keep their rooms, dorms, apartments, and houses the way they want, do laundry when they run out of clothes, have their personal belongings thrown everywhere (although this dropping of personal items everywhere was the norm before college for my daughters too). I feel strongly that it’s “my house; therefore my rules.”  Just like when they lived at home, I have curfews and they must help with chores around the house.  Family dinners and keeping the common areas clutter free are two of my biggest issues. […]

More Veggies Please

Vegan/Vegetarian Dining Slowly, but surely, more and more young people are going vegan or vegetarian. I can’t blame them. Sometimes the choices on or around campus just aren’t that healthy. So more veggies, please! My daughter was a vegetarian for about two years until could no longer resist a big, juicy burger. Now she is vegetarian most of the time with an occasional burger or piece of fish. Whichever way works for your student; the good news there are plenty of restaurants around UCF that cater to our vegan Knights. Favorites: Market on South – is a deli-cafe with planted-based meals and sweets with a great Bohemian vibe. Hummus House Pita & Salads – right behind IHOP on University. Veggie Garden  – on E. Colonial. Yes, it is Vietnamese but it definitely caters to vegans. Dixie Dharma – Southern-inspired vegan meals & desserts. Counter-service and oh-so-hip. Green Day Café – Eco-friendly, health-conscious […]

Valencia First

Then Transfer to UCF Some students may not be ready for a big university, but want the excitement that goes along with it. For this reason, many students choose to start their college career or even just take some of their classes at the local, much smaller, Valencia College that is located about 30 minutes from UCF. Their classes are definitely smaller than those at UCF and tuition is less. UCF Connect offers collaborative programs and services like DirectConnect to help students get their A.A. or A.S degree and transition from college to the university. If students enroll in DirectConnect, Valencia actually teams up with UCF to help make your transition to UCF easier. Students who participate in DirectConnect will receive: Joint advising from UCF and Valencia to help ensure a smooth transition. The ability to take UCF courses at the main campus or on West or Osceola campuses. Access to UCF staff […]

GAP Year

Should Your Student Take a Year Off Before Graduate School? I remember when I started graduate school and on the first day of class, we were assigned to read over 300 pages and write a paper before the next class. My jaw dropped and I wondered if the professor was serious. Not every class is like this, but after four years in college, some students may choose to take a break before jumping into graduate school; whether it’s medical school, law school, an MBA or just about any other advanced degree. Graduate school can be a grind. There are other reasons students choose to take a break; or gap year, before going on to pursue an advanced degree. Many graduate programs prefer students to have some time out in the working world before grad school. It is not uncommon for students to partake in internships that will provide them with experience in […]

Where to Pre-Game at UCF

Tailgating Season Has Begun! Football season is upon us and other than making sure you will be properly attired in black and gold and have your keys ready to jingle (this a Knight tradition), you will need to know where to go to pre-game. Pre-gaming, according to Urban Dictionary, generally means drinking before going to an event where drinks that you will purchase are more expensive. I believe the term crazy fun was included in the description as well. Pre-gaming at UCF mostly occurs by Lake Claire where fraternity houses set up tents with their big wooden letters out front and Memory Mall, the giant grass lawn (no cars allowed) between the Student Union and the Arena where you will find mostly donors and the official SGA setup. This is also where the Marching Knights and live bands perform and there will be lots of food and drink. Students who participate in […]

Storage UCF

Where Will They Put All Their Stuff? That time between semesters when they want to bring everything home for a few weeks or a summer and you are wondering a) how you will get it all there and b) where you are going to store it all. I remember my daughter’s freshman year, I went up to get her and when we finished packing the car with barely enough room for our bodies and the car feeling as though it was skimming the pavement, I wondered if her belongings seemed to multiply over the past 10 months. Then when we began unloading everything into the garage, sorting out what could stay in our hot garage for the summer and what needed to find space in the house, I became a bit flustered. Well, not panicky, but I did begin to dream of those people that come to your home and teach you […]

Midterm Blues Care Package

Surprise Them With a Box of Love! Midterm and final exams can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it […]

Grocery Stores

Let’s Eat Whether your student lives on campus or off, they will need groceries. Orlando has plenty of places to shop right near UCF in this regard. For those new to Florida, let me first introduce you to Publix. Publix is a Florida-based supermarket with every department found in most grocery stores including produce, deli, meats, canned goods, seafood, frozen foods, flowers, bread, soda, and stationery, candy, dairy and so forth. There are two Publix supermarkets close to campus. The other major chain supermarkets you will find nearby include Walmart Neighborhood Grocery, and Aldi, which was new to me.  Aldi is a retail chain selling a range of grocery items, including produce, meat & dairy, and some organic foods at discount prices. When shopping at Aldi, bring a quarter to use a shopping cart and your own grocery bags. There is now a Lucky’s Market as well. Lucky’s is most comparable to a […]

Sick at School

Mom….. It’s bound to happen.  At some point, while our kids are at college, the phone will ring and suddenly our mature, independent college student will sound like a preschooler again. There is little worse than when they tell you how sick they feel and you are far away. Hopefully, and most likely, their illness will be a result of their new-found independence that includes lack of sleep and exercise, stress, not-so-healthy food, hygiene habits that don’t embrace enough hand-washing, and can be cured quickly and easily. I sent my kids to school with a little box that I literally labeled, “Things you may need that Mom can’t squeeze through the phone.” Inside the box, I put all sorts of things from a tiny sewing kit to Tums. When my daughter got her first cold she was happy to find a thermometer, cold medicine and Vaseline for her chapped lips. When my […]


…… is days away. You can actually check out the countdown on the UCF Homecoming website. If that doesn’t prepare you for the excitement that surrounds Homecoming week, what will?  FYI, I am not referring to the kind of Homecoming where our kids announce they are coming home for the weekend, although that can be equally as thrilling. From the beginning of the week’s activities on November 5th to the big football game; this year we are playing the Navy Midshipmem on Saturday, November 10th, then the Spirit Splash on November 9th; there is plenty to do and the excitement is contagious. There is a condensed list at the bottom of this blog, because the week is truly jam-packed with fun. University of Central Florida’s Homecoming has been a tradition since its earliest years, but it has grown in size and enthusiasm over the years. At the beginning stages, UCF actually had […]

Beauty & The Beast

Look your best! When planning for college, we rarely think about the fact that our kids may still have to visit hair salons and barbershops or get the occasional manicure and so on. Let’s face it; they want to maintain their magnificence (and sometimes even hygiene). We certainly can’t expect them to go from August until Thanksgiving without an eyebrow wax now, can we? So, I’ve asked around and my own daughter and her friends have tried many of these. Barbershops Floyd’s 99 (12101 University in the Plaza) is moderately priced. Supercuts (Alafaya and Waterford) A UCF student ID will get a 10% discount. Sign up for coupons while you’re there. Stadium Barbershops (right off University 12050 Collegiate Way) Lady Jane’s Haircuts for Men (on University) Sport Clips (3402 Technological Ave.) A UCF student ID will get you $3 off your cut. Stop Barber Shop (11917 E. Colonial Drive) If you swing […]

Working While Attending College

Make Some Moola While at School.  Some students have to work to pay for college, some consider their school work their only job and fortunately don’t have to find work outside their studies, and others choose to work while at school to supplement their spending. Whatever the reason, it is rarely a bad idea when a student gets a job, whether it is to pay tuition or housing, plan for their spring break trip (see our spring break blog for more information on that), backpack throughout Europe after graduation or simply to augment their wardrobe; working while in school is not new. Students can check on CraigsList, Indeed, SimplyHired, SnagaJob, Monster, ULoop, and WayUp for possible part-time job opportunities. Each is updated regularly. Check out what students are doing at UCF to make money. SEPS (Safety Escort Patrol Services) –Students drive golf carts around campus at night so students don’t have to […]

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Sent With Love for Valentine’s Day As far back as I can remember we always celebrated Valentine’s Day; not in the religious sense; it was a tradition I grew up with and continued when I became a mom. My daughters (a UF graduate and a current UF student) have not been home for Valentine’s Day for years so I use the holiday as an opportunity to send them a little love from home. There are so many gift ideas for Valentine’s Day. Just sharing the love from HaveUHeard. We’ve added links to websites and products, (and yes, the ads and links that appear on our blogs are partners of HaveUHeard. ALL opinions about products mentioned in our blogs are 100% our own. We hope you will patronize these businesses. Partnerships like these make HaveUHeard possible)   SWEETS FOR THE SWEET!   What student doesn’t love candy? For that matter, I don’t know […]

Student Accessibility Services

Access for all!  When my oldest began college, which can feel tremendous by way of size alone compared to high school, she was relieved to know that some of the accommodations for her ADHD would follow her. The idea of sitting amongst hundreds of pencil tapping students was somewhat intimidating. Of course, she still had to show necessity through diagnosis and jump through a few hoops to make it all come together, but it was well worth it. UCF is large and frankly, can be rather overwhelming, but Student Accessibility Services (SAS) is there to create an inclusive educational environment for all students. Recently the offices of Student Accessibility Services and Inclusive Education Services at UCF merged which can only enhance the ways they can assist students with disabilities of all kinds. The first step for any student that will be requesting accommodations would be to visit Student Accessibility Services located in […]

Parking at UCF

For my next magic trick, I will conjour up a parking space! You sent them to college with a car and they are grateful. However, although it will make a weekly Publix run easier, no one really thought about the fact that parking at UCF can be pretty inconvenient and tends to be a problem every year. There are not enough spots for as many students who drive to campus. Unless you need your car (coming from an apartment complex), we highly suggest using the free UCF shuttles that go to almost every surrounding UCF affiliated apartment complex. In addition, many apartment complexes provide a shuttle to campus. My daughter claims it is easier and closer to her classes than trying to park, so she rarely brings her car to campus. Where do they expect students to park?  Well, students can only park in D lots. However, after 5:30 pm and until […]

Take the LEAD

Apply for LEAD Academy. Looking for a leadership opportunity while at UCF? You may want to consider applying to be part of the LEAD Scholars Academy. UCF’s LEAD Scholars Academy is a two-year academic leadership development program. The program emphasizes academics, community service, and leadership. Scholars commit to many hours of community service each year. Acceptance into the program is pretty competitive; we are talking an average SAT score of 1342 or ACT score of 28, a high school GPA of 4.2 and having done a fair amount of leadership activities and community service along the way. Students interested should apply as early as possible. Applications also include a resume, essay, and project. If selected students will need to commit to the program and pay a one-time Student’s Association (LSA) fee of $125. They must also attend one of the LEAD Scholar sessions offered during Orientation. If you are selected early enough, […]

Health Insurance

Plans and Requirements Students at many colleges today must have a health insurance plan that meets their university’s minimum requirement.  The University of Central Florida only makes this a requirement if your student is an international student or a medical or nursing student. While this does make life easier in that it can eliminate some paperwork, it is still wise that your student has some sort of health insurance. UCF does have an available Student Health Plan, underwritten by United Healthcare Insurance Company and serviced by Gallagher Student Health and outlined here should you want to purchase a plan for your student. Regardless, as part of your student’s tuition fees, there is a mandatory health fee of $130 a semester (that you will pay and probably not even know it.) Deciding on which health insurance plan your student should be on may require a degree in economics. There are so many variables to […]

Eating Healthy – Healthy Students

It really does help concentration!  It can be hard to be eating healthy when at college. Meal plans, rushing to and from classes and activities, budgets, the amount of burger, pizza and fast food restaurants surrounding UCF, and, of course, late night food runs definitely compromise our student’s plan to not gain the Freshman 15 and stay in shape. (Please note I did not mention the calories that come with a few drinks, but the reality is they often work into the equation.) Don’t get discouraged yet though. Today’s college students are demanding higher quality foods varied in taste and economically priced. There are several apps that many students can download for the latest promotions and deals at some of their favorite places. These include Hooked and Pocket Points. Below are some of UCF students’ favorites and a few ideas that may help your student stay on track and healthy. Wellness & […]

Trick or Treat

Halloween, the most fun time!  Trick or Treat That Was Then… I would race home from school so my mom could put together some sort of costume for me then rush to meet my friends to go trick-or-treating. Somehow, by the time I had my own kids, Halloween included much more; carving pumpkins, putting up decorations, more formal costumes, and, of course, trick-or-treating throughout our neighborhood, but not without a parent escort. This is Now… Halloween traditions in college are, well, a far cry from the pumpkin carving, candy apple making gatherings we had in our driveway before the kids started their trick-or-treating. Many places, including frats, will have parties – all week. Halloween week, I’m not going to lie, gives a whole new meaning to the BOO in Booze. Keep in mind this is Orlando and there is a lot of Halloween-themed partying going on in general. It may not be a […]

The Best Apps For Students

UCF and College Studying Apps Remember when you were in college and everything was easily accessible via an app on your phone? No? Well, me either. Our kids, however, do live in this world and there are literally apps that provide things like food delivery, tutoring services, how to create a budget or the perfect bibliography. Below is a list of the ones I thought most useful. Forgive me if it is a little too long, but truly there is something for everything and it was hard to narrow down.   UCF and College Studying Apps UCFMobile:  gives students access to UCF resources, including campus maps, Web courses, Knights Mail, the library, dining, shuttle service and more. You can now handle Knights Cash and add small gift cards to Knights Cash. LiveSafe, because the first thing on my list is always my child’s safety.  With LiveSafe,  students can report a problem silently via […]

Favorite Apartment Rentals

Living Off-Campus. Here are our best tips for rentals at UCF. With each of my kids, I have three, not one stayed in the dorms beyond their freshman year. My youngest considered staying in the Towers next year, because she loves the location so much. However, with the new lottery system for dorms, she didn’t want to risk not getting the dorm she wanted next year and recently signed a lease to live off campus. The choices are plentiful. Below are some of the more popular apartment complexes students live in near UCF. Some provide buses to campus (which can be important since parking on campus can be a nightmare), some have facilities that rival a fancy hotel (pools, hot tubs, volleyball courts, lounges), some provide reserved parking spots for a fee, some are gated and provide constant security and all have various options from studios to 4 bedrooms. Prices vary and […]

An Insider’s Guide to Living on Campus at UCF 

The inside scoop for real!  You can certainly read about the dorms and where to live on campus on the UCF Housing and Residence Life pages, but we asked my daughter and our interns for the inside scoop…which is probably what you really want to know before you choose where to live when you become a Knight. Here’s what they had to say… After spending my freshman summer in Academic Village, and my fall and spring in Towers, I’ve grown to know a lot about campus housing and have friends residing in just about all the different living communities.  Academic Village is awesome to live in. You have close access to the pool and the gym, but parking can, at times, be a task. Academic Village houses the majority of freshman students (Nike, Hercules, and Neptune), but it can be a bit of a hike to campus classes and during the hotter […]

21 and Oh So Fun

Becoming an official adult.  My daughter will turn 21 in October of her junior year at UCF as do many students during their junior year. How fun! This birthday is often coined as pretty significant, but mostly, for college students, because they can now legally get into places that they could not get into before. Some schools have traditions that students participate in (and we don’t get the opportunity to say no anymore, but we can still throw in a few “be careful and make good choices” beforehand).   On “Sign Night,” a bucket list of things to do is created by the friends of the birthday person. People use a marker to sign their signature to one’s body for each shot done together. Often a bottle of champagne is popped open for the crowd from atop the bar. These are amongst the night’s activities.  It sounds to me like a themed […]

Sorting Out College Life – A Guide to Laundry, Dry Cleaning & Alterations

The least favorite chore! I tried to teach my kids to do laundry before they each left for college. Really. I did. Yet, somehow when they went away to school they each managed to do laundry so rarely that, at last count, one of my daughters owned approximately 54 pairs of underwear so she could prolong doing the wash as long as possible. My son either paid other more ambitious students to do his laundry occasionally or waited until he came home and then brought so much, there was little room for anything else in the car. And finally, child number 3, and I have spent many happy hours Facetiming from her laundry room on campus so I can walk her through the process a few more times (ie: cold water? hot water? delicate? dryer vs hang to dry?). Eventually, they get it or find a place where they can drop it […]

Game Day Attire

Get ready for the big game with these tips. There is definitely no better feeling than knowing that your Peach Bowl champs are back, after an undefeated season. Kickoff is either at 12 p.m. or 6 p.m., so you know you’ll have a day full of tailgating to prepare for the big game. Tailgate season is a serious fashion attire statement and if you want to start preparing your closet now, you’re in the right place. UCFs colors are simply black and gold, so if you want to keep it simple, you can deck out in a black bodysuit, crop top, a cute halter, or tank with any pair of shorts or skirt. It is WAY too hot in the fall to be wearing jeans so I would eliminate that option right away. If it does cool down, a cool pair of ripped jeans or leggings is also super popular. Just add [...]

Away for the High Holidays

Celebrate with a New Community Generally, our kids get to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for those who celebrate the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, it may be your first one without your students at your holiday table. While it may feel strange having that empty seat, it can feel better to know that they are celebrating the holidays with a new community of their peers. There are options for Jewish students at UCF. You may want to let them know they exist and then hope that they will choose to participate. Time Off Not all colleges give days off for every holiday and it doesn’t look like UCF is any different. Students can certainly inform their professors, in advance, of their absence for the holiday, but chances are class will go on and they will be responsible for any work. If a student has an exam on the date of […]

Get on the Bus

A Guide to UCF’s Bus System If you’ve ever been to UCF’s campus, you know that driving and parking can be a hassle. Getting to and from campus can be stressful – worrying about arriving to class on time with morning and evening traffic is tough. For those students who live off campus without a vehicle or do not want to purchase a decal, the UCF shuttle system is the next best option. Students with a valid student ID receive fare-free access to the off-campus shuttles. As long as you manage your time as to when your next class is and the times of the shuttle, you can conveniently get a free ride to UCF campus without dealing with the struggle of the parking garages and limited spots on campus. For off-campus students, taking advantage of this shuttle system saves you the cost of a UCF decal ($90 for the year) and […]

Meal Plans

To Buy or Not to Buy – Meal Plans  Some of us will miss those family dinners. Others will find some relief. Either way, we all want to know that our kids are eating…and hopefully eating right. College, or at least when I went, didn’t have a whole lot of good options, particularly if you lived on campus; as most freshmen do. That is not the case anymore. This is not to say that those dreaded freshmen fifteen may not happen; there may still be late night deliveries and food runs. There is a vast array of food choices on campus; some choices wiser than others, but a great deal right at the students’ fingertips. Whether they hit the salad bar or stick to burgers, pizzas, and fries (oh my), I can’t say. Experience says that their newfound independence tends to sway them in directions you may not have selected for them, […]

Parent’s Weekend UCF Style

The Big Weekend I had been accustomed to booking for Parent’s Weekend the second it was announced, based on my older children who went to other colleges. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that price gauging and availability are not as big an issue at the hotels near UCF. As of today, Parent’s Weekend is scheduled for September 28-30th, 2018. The earlier you book your hotel, the better your choices will be. However, if your choice hotel is booked you may want to keep trying as sometimes rooms open up. Many hotels will give a discount if you tell them you are coming for UCF Parent’s Weekend too. Most the local hotels are pretty flexible on cancellations (48 hours being the norm), but be sure to check all this out when booking. Our blog on hotels may help. So your Knight spirit with great suggestions here including adorable clear game day bags (yes, […]

Places of Worship, Keep it Traditional

Continuing Traditions of Worship If you’re wondering about keeping up the tradition of worship, here are some thoughts. Shortly after my daughter started college, the first of the most important Jewish holidays were coming up (think the equivalent of Good Friday and Easter Sunday).  We had always gone to services together and had huge family dinners with the entire extended family. Since the holiday fell on a weekday, it did not make sense for her to come home. So, she did what many other Jewish students did; she went to services at the Hillel Student Center. For all students, being able to continue to worship, pray and adhere to their religious beliefs is extremely important for several reasons. Having a place to worship on or near campus allows them to meet other students and have a Rabbi, Minister, Bishop or Priest to turn to should they need spiritual guidance. At or around UCF, there […]

Eating on a Budget is More Than Just Ramen

This is a life lesson that will serve you in the future! Some students actually keep to a budget. I know this is true because I have had three of my own and they all struggled at the beginning, but eventually got it (for the most part). I admit, it was hard telling my daughter, as I watched her weekly allowance dwindle, that she better be a bit more cautious or stock up on peanut butter for her next few meals until her next allowance came. I knew though that the gift of teaching her to budget her money would be far more useful than the pain I was feeling saying so or even when she had to stay back when her friends headed out for sushi. The good news is that there are plenty of places around UCF’s campus that make sticking to a budget possible. There are also a few […]

Roommates and Residential Life

How to manage shared living space.  For many students entering college, this may be their first time away from home for an extended period of time. While dorm living can be an enriching and wonderful part of the college experience, it can also be a source of great stress and discomfort if the roommates are not a good match. Granted, the fit does not have to be perfect; as a matter of fact, my kids all did well with random roommates as opposed to handpicked ones. We had previously set a precedence that they couldn’t live with friends from home for the first year because we wanted them to meet new people; all part of the college experience. Students do, however, need to be able to comfortably and safely co-exist in their shared living space. Teach your student before leaving home what it means to be a good roommate. Students can often […]

Dropping A Class

Grade Forgiveness to Drop a Class I’m not sure which class it was; business calculus or accounting, but the horror stories were coming true. When my son called and asked if we would pay for private tutoring, we knew something was up. He studied and studied. He was up for so many hours at some points his contact lenses had given him an infection. Then the call came when he literally asked us what he should do. Should he drop the class or not. No matter how hard he tried he was struggling. I retorted with my infamous line that I only break out when I believe my kids have given it their all, “C’s get degrees.” This would not suffice this time. The pressure he had put on himself was making him sick; worried that his scholarship may be at stake, or that his beautiful cum could be ruined or that […]

Volunteering Turns Your Compassion into Action

There are many reasons Volunteering lets you give back to the community, to make a difference in the world, to gain experience and to change a person’s life. During your four years in college, it is incredibly important to give back to the community for many reasons. Depending on what major you are and what kind of grad school you plan on attending, it could increase your chances of getting in. When you start applying to graduate schools, you want to stand out. Why should the graduate program pick you over another person? Graduate schools look for more than just the book smart student. They look for well-rounded students who want to make a difference. Being altruistic is such an important quality to have. Another great quality graduate schools look at is being able to balance your time. If you are able to take rigorous classes, be involved in extracurriculars, have a […]

Types of Student Loans

What are your options? When I attended school back in 1979, my Dad had four of us in college at the same time. It was through student loans that my parents were able to manage the costs of all four of us attending school along with some parental financial support. Unfortunately, as far back as I can remember, many students including myself, have used their student loans for entertainment, shopping, vacations, etc. The Department of Education loans money for school and it is imperative for your student to understand that student loans should not be used for frivolous spending. Trust me, I learned the hard way. The loans and interest (depending on the type of loan you have) add up very quickly. Repayment of said loans can be a huge monthly cost; therefore, understanding all the terms of student loans is, in my opinion, essential. In all cases, you must begin with […]

The First Few Weeks

We completed the drop. We unloaded the car in the treacherous Florida heat and we set up their rooms. The bed was made, everything had been put away and it only took two trips to Target for things we didn’t realize we would need. We said our see-ya-laters and shed the appropriate amount of tears. It was when I got into the car without our new college freshman, all the advice we meant to give them about those first few weeks lay dormant somewhere between the big lump in my throat and my empty heart. Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but the truth is there is a great deal to be said at that time. Whether or not they take to heart is another story. Perhaps starting the conversation a few weeks before drop-off is a better idea. Getting Started Those first few weeks of college are a crucial time for […]

Advice to my Freshman Self

What Every Freshman Should Know College life seems like the dream. It’s the first time living away from home and not by parents’ rules. College classes aren’t daily, like high school and, bonus: you don’t have to wake up before dawn if you don’t want to. So many great things come from being in college, but there are also some big pointers that you should be aware of now that you are a Knight. One of the biggest differences between being in high school and college is that you have to buy your textbooks and scantrons. Where to buy or rent books is up to you, but maybe this will help you decide. Scantrons can be purchased at the bookstore and in vending machines in classroom buildings. But you can save yourself money by picking up a scantron at the Student Union. They give out one free pink or brown scantron per […]

Finals Are A Bear – Send A Care Package!

Send Help Now! Finals can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it takes to make sure they are prepared. […]

Staying at UCF for Thanksgiving

Make it a Friendsgiving Although UCF is officially closed from November 22nd-25th, 2018, not all students will be going home for the holiday. Flights can be incredibly expensive around this time. Some students may have to work and others may go home with a local friend for a little turkey dinner. Perhaps, instead, you’ve decided to switch things around a bit and this year go to Orlando for Thanksgiving. Whichever way it works out; there is plenty to do if you are going to be at UCF for Thanksgiving this year. Let Someone Else Do the Cooking! Restaurants Many restaurants put together a great traditional meal for Thanksgiving. Some are less traditional but sound delicious. Check out some of these: Seasons 52 – It is about a 30-minute drive to Altamonte Springs, but the food is delightful. Indulge in their traditional Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings, but leave room for Pumpkin […]


….It’s a Good Thing Students who attend UCF, are no different than many other highly sought after colleges, they will be faced with challenging classes, taught by respected and renowned professors. Using tutoring assistance to keep up with studies is an excellent idea. They are no longer in high school where a student can often coast by; succeeding at UCF requires taking classes seriously. At the same time, there are many opportunities to get involved and enjoy these four years including football games, Greek life, and outdoor activities. A student needs to be able to balance all of this, which can prove daunting to many. But since the admissions process has grown more selective, the understanding is that many of these students have already been faced with balancing academics, social and civic activities. Just in Case If your student mentions they are having difficulty, there are many places they can turn; including […]

Move. In. Day. at U.C.F.

U.C.F. M.I.D. UCF’s move-in day is …well…a lot of work. Be prepared for many trips to the car and possibly one or two to the store for the inevitable forgotten/overlooked item (ours was not enough Command hooks last year).  The heat does not help, but a hand truck does. I will not get into the emotional goodbyes at the end of the day, but I will say that large sunglasses to cover my watery, red eyes were my savior. M.I.D. August 17th The big Day this year begins on Friday, August 17th – Sunday, August 19th (9 am to 4 pm) and continues through Sunday. On Saturday, there is usually a pool party and barbeque mid-afternoon. It’s a great way for students to begin to meet and make new friends. Early M.I. is an option for students participating in programs such as Sorority Recruitment (RUSH), Marching Band, LEAD Scholars Retreat, Theatre Auditions, […]

Mother – Daughter Time

Spending Time Whether you are coming up for a mother-daughter sorority weekend or just to spend time with your daughter, you will find plenty to do together. Shopping in Orlando is easy to find. There is a plethora of shopping right near UCF, including plenty of big box stores (check out our blog, A Little Retail Therapy, for that sort of shopping information), but the kind of shopping that may come after the call that cries, “I have nothing to wear,” exists too.  These also may be the stores you may want to visit should you get lucky enough to partake in a Mother-Daughter weekend. The Waterford Shops has many stores including Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, and Francesca’s.  There are literally three outlet malls about 30 to 45 minutes from campus. Six28 is a favorite boutique for many girls; as are Downtown Divas, Forema, Lizard Thicket, FYND, Blossom and Henri Girl.  You […]

Graduation Restaurant Reservations

Make them sooner than later!  UCF holds graduation ceremonies three times per year with May being the largest ceremony, broken down by each college. Spring Graduation dates are May 3rd through May 5th at the CFE Arena. Hopefully, you have read our blog, Graduation at UCF and made your hotel reservations. But if you are coming up with your entire family, you may want to make your restaurant reservations as many of the restaurants get extremely busy. To help you out, we are including in the listings the restaurants that take reservations and if they require a deposit to hold the reservation (some do). For other restaurant recommendations, see our blog on restaurants. We will continue to add to this list regularly as we find more information but our suggestion is to make your plans early. 310 Lakeside – Downtown. Make a reservation as far in advance as you like. Can make the reservation online. […]

Preparing for Grad School

The fun never stops! I know it feels like you just finished studying for the ACT/SAT’s and left for college, but before you know it, graduation will be looming and many students will be preparing for graduate school of some sort. And that means preparing for your grad school exams. Getting familiar with the vast amount of programs out there would probably be a good first step. If you are considering graduate school at UCF, check to see if they have an open house. Consider visiting other college graduate programs as well. This will give you the opportunity to meet professors and ask questions about specific programs. Start talking to an advisor early to be sure you have all the correct prerequisites, shadowing or research hours you will need. Whether you are preparing for Medical or Law School or a particular graduate program, researching the continuation of your education may feel overwhelming. […]

Bucket List for UCF

If you have committed to becoming a Knight…fill this bucket. There are a few things that you might want to check out over your next for years at UCF. Consider them part of your Knighting-ing; sort of like your own personal dubbing. Some are just plain fun and others sort of obvious. Either way, your time at UCF shouldn’t just be about studying. There is so much more to UCF and Orlando. Check out our “bucket list.” The Reflection Pond – eventually you are going to want to make a splash in the recently renovated pond. Don’t wait for Spirit Splash and definitely not as far off as graduation. There will plenty of other things to celebrate along the way, but don’t tell them we sent you. CFE Arena – Don’t wait for graduation to first go to the arena. There are always things happening there from sporting events to concerts. Check […]

The David Project

Israel, however, is not just for Jews It’s true that Birthright is a fabulous (and free) program for Jewish individuals from 18 to 28 to visit Israel. Israel, however, is not just for Jews though. So, we did a little digging and found The David Project, a pro- Israel campus advocacy group. The program promotes building diverse pro-Israel support on campuses and is for students of all religions, having reached 10,000 Jewish and non-Jewish students this past academic year on 45 campuses, cultivating student leaders and organizations as allies for Hillel and the pro-Israel community. There are three main components to The David Project: Israel Uncovered – 10-day Israel mission for The David Project’s Core Schools. Each school sends one Israel advocate and two to three non-Jewish campus leaders. The campus leaders represent many mainstream campus groups, including student government, College Democrats and Republicans, fraternities and sororities, black, Indian, Latino and Asian […]

Recreation & Wellness Center at UCF

Because Balance is Important Going to college isn’t just about studying; no matter what parents think. Finding your balance while at school is incredibly important too. Fortunately, the RWC (Recreation and Wellness Center) at UCF offers plenty in this regard. Get to know your campus and all it has right from the start so you don’t miss out.  And, to boot, I recently read that students that use the RWC at least 11 times a year or more do better in school. That, in itself, is a great incentive to have a little recreation and fun in between study sessions. The RWC has state-of-the-art facilities that include a custom rock climbing wall, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, a disc golf course, indoor track, basketball and racquetball courts, numerous sports fields, leisure and an outdoor lap pool, among many other things. They offer all sorts of events that are a great way to disconnect; […]

Orient Yourself – Orientation Tips

Overwhelm Potential If two nights and two days can make your head spin, these might be the two. Orientation, is not a bad thing, of course; it is just the amount of information you and your student will take in at that time that can get a bit overwhelming. I believe the first orientation I spent taking pages of notes, marking things I wanted to talk with my daughter about later and highlighting things I wanted to keep close in case situations came up that may make those notes useful (ie: tutoring, healthcare, safety on campus…. honestly they touch on everything you can imagine and many things you haven’t yet.) Later I learned that parents took pictures of the slides – much easier. Besides, you will get to keep the packets they hand out. My other kids went to other state schools, so I expected orientation to be the same. There were […]

Moving Out

Time to be Moving On Moving out can be almost as hectic as moving into the dorms and apartments. It did not make sense for us to drag the entire dorm supplies home for the summer, only to send them back up in the fall. Some parents don’t mind making that round trip, packing up their car(s) and bringing it all home to store for the summer. We opted to have our kids rent an air-conditioned storage facility that they shared with friends. (Sharing a unit is recommended to keep the cost down and air-conditioning is key because Orlando in the summer months can be brutal.) You may be lucky in that your student may have a friend that will let them store their belongings in their apartment, but that is unusual. My kids were able to move their belongings into storage themselves by packing boxes in between studying for finals (think […]

Just Desserts! In a good way…

Our favorite meal!  Eat dessert first or getting your just desserts. Either way, desserts are often our favorite meal! Sometimes, we think the best part of the dinner is the dessert; here are some of our favorites! The Pop Parlour, a popsicle shop offering locally-sourced pops in creative flavors plus coffee and tea, is located at 431 E Central Blvd. It is open from 8 am to 10 pm on weekdays and noon to 8 pm on weekends. It is definitely something different and there is something for everybody. Le Macaron French Pastries – Located in Winter Park, they serve up those authentic French macarons and freshly made pastries we’ve all come to love and thank the French for. Also serves espresso and gelato. Sno Tea Caffe on N. Alafaya Trail is walking distance to UCF. They have a good variety of shaved ice and Boba tea flavors. Sno Tea Caffe often […]

Father Daughter – Father-Son Weekend

The Best Things to Do With Your Dad at UCF My first father-daughter weekend was freshman year when my dad and I didn’t really know what to do for the weekend and we ended up hanging in my apartment all weekend. When he came up the following year, we had more of a game plan. You may want to check out this blog if you too are wondering what to do. It is very popular to take your dad to tailgate, except my dad isn’t the type of guy who wanted to go. Instead, we went downtown to World of Beer to watch the game. Being in Orlando, a central hub of entertainment, there are so many options of things you can do. So far, my favorite thing I have done with my dad is going to NASA and actually seeing a launch. NASA posts on their websites all of the launches […]

Lost and Found, more than a box of junk

Oh No…it happened! It’s Lost! Have you ever lost your phone or wallet, you get that sudden sinking feeling? My daughter spent the summer studying abroad. She was warned about pickpockets by friends. And, she has made it through almost two months without incident… until last week.  That is when I got the hysterical call that she was pickpocketed in broad daylight and now without her driver’s license, her debit card, credit card, transportation card, and about €50. Thankfully her passport was not in her backpack. We did not cancel her debit card but tracked the activity. That allowed her to Venmo friends who paid for her subway, meals and anything else she needed. Losing It My other college student lost more Student ID’s, keys, driver’s licenses than any person I know (or at least I thought). Conduct a search on the student UCF page, and you will see daily posts for lost keys, […]

Are Your Student’s Valuables Safe, Protected?

But Is It Safe? Right up there with the call from my college daughter that she lost her phone, keys, student ID, (fill in the blank), is the call you get when they tell you someone took their cell phone, watch, or whatever valuable item your child has had taken. Keeping their stuff safe is just as important as keeping them safe.  And it has been through their tears and yelling about an item of theirs’ being taken, that I find myself, once again, asking if they had locked their door. You see, my daughters have lived in dorms, apartments, sorority houses and off-campus houses and consistently, I have personally witnessed them forgetting to lock their room doors (not the front door, although they have done that on occasion). Usually, when I make a mere mention of that fact, I get a sassy response along the lines of “I’m just running down […]

Birthright Israel

Young Jewish Adults Trip. What is Birthright Israel? Birthright Israel is the gift of a free, 10-day trip to Israel designed for young adults of Jewish heritage, aged 18–32.  I admit that when my oldest daughter first signed up I was concerned about potential unrest in Israel. I found out though that every group travels with Israeli soldiers. The kids felt very safe the whole trip and this is what I constantly hear from others. On Birthright Israel with Shorashim and UCF, you spend all 10 days with Israelis and get to see Israel through the eyes of the locals. From exploring Israel through unbelievable hikes and touring incredible cities and major sites, to spending the night under the stars in the Negev, and developing an amazing bond with a great group of college students and Israelis, you will be a part of the adventure of a lifetime that you will never forget. Plus, […]

Namast’ ay at UCF: A Guide to Yoga Classes

Om Shanti! For years I tried to get my daughter to enjoy yoga with me, but she had multiple excuses. I knew it would be good for her mentally and physically, but like many other things, she had to realize this on her own. I am happy to say she now takes advantage of a fair amount of yoga offered at and around UCF. One of her favorites is doing her own poses on a paddle board out on Lake Claire on campus. She also attends classes right on campus. If your student is resistant, as mine was, you may want to remind them that the practice is over 5000 years old. There has to be something to that. In addition, it has been proven to alleviate stress; and what college student doesn’t have some stress? Research indicates that within seven weeks of regular practice, students enjoyed significantly reduced stress levels and […]

Rushing Her Way – What is Rush?

The Rush For parents of incoming freshman, you have probably started to hear whispers about sorority rush. The way rush is handled for sororities are somewhat different than fraternities, but I am glad to give you the parent perspective on both (check out our blog on UCF’s fraternities). Either way, you will not find too many who love the process.  But like it or not, Greek life does have its advantages, especially at a large college; and kids are probably not going to forgo the rumors about rush if it means not joining. So buckle up; the ride can get a bit bumpy. UCF’s sorority recruitment this year goes from 8/11 to 8/17/18. Here you will find a day-to-day schedule of events. My first child to rush is a girl so I got to experience the sorority rush thing as part of my initiation to having my first child leave home. Having […]

Where the Wind Blows – Storms and Preparation

South Florida Knows…Storms Having grown up in South Florida, I have gone through more than 40 Hurricane seasons. I prepared for my first potential hit with Hurricane David in 1979. Thankfully, he turned away from the coast sometime in the middle of the night. Now as a high school student and a novice when it came to what damage a hurricane could cause, I remember thinking “boy this is a lot of work.”  (I am sure my 17-year-old self, worded it more dramatically with several expletives). We had the old-fashioned hurricane panels that had to be screwed in and it took about five hours to put all of the shutters up. The fact that it also caused me to have to cancel a party I was having was even more upsetting. Today, with many hurricane preparations under my belt and many, many decades living in a Hurricane prone area, I can say […]

Rushing His Way

Frat. Rush. Rushing. For parents of incoming freshman, you have probably started to hear about fraternity rush. The way rush is handled for fraternities are radically different than sororities, but I am glad to give you the parent perspective on both (check out our blog on sororities ). Either way, you will not find too many who love the process.  But like it or not, Greek life does have its advantages, especially at a large college; and kids are probably not going to forgo the rumors about rush if it means not joining. So buckle up; the ride can get a bit bumpy. Pledging a frat is fairly similar at most schools, but the first thing I learned about pledging a fraternity at UCF is that it is long. Rush formally begins shortly after school begins and ends somewhere around Thanksgiving break. Over Summer, frats are looking to meet freshman and do […]

After The Hurricane

Post-Hurricane Irma Prior to Hurricane Irma, our blog talked about hurricanes that had impacted Florida. It had been twelve years since a major hurricane in the state. Hurricane Irma will be remembered not only for its strength but for its impact on the entire state of Florida causing damage and destruction on both the east and west coast. I live in South Florida where the hurricane was forecasted to take a direct hit on the Thursday prior to its Saturday landfall. And as a resident for over 25 years, I felt anxious, worried and concerned as meteorologists threw out words such as catastrophic. You could see it in their facial expressions and hear it in their voices as they described the latest track. I had planned to be at Parent’s Weekend, like many of you, that weekend. When I first realized I wasn’t going to be able to attend, because I couldn’t leave […]

Staying Fit

Freshman 15 – No Way! The Fit Way! We all know by now the advantages of staying fit, exercise, stress relief, healthy heart, maintaining weight (or losing if those freshman 15 do start to creep up) and so on. The question is will our students work out when they get to school. The truth is many do. I love seeing students jogging around campus; an inexpensive way to exercise. I also loved that my daughter called to tell me that she went paddle boarding on Saturday….for free, right in the lake behind her dorm. There is also a climbing tower, multiple pools including a lap pool, racquetball, basketball and volleyball courts, plenty of intramural teams and the MAC gym which is a 13,000 square foot facility that allows different activities such as floor hockey and indoor soccer…all on campus. Many students prefer the gym to teams though and there are plenty to […]

What Not To Bring To College, You really don’t need THAT!

Nope, Don’t Need It Actually what I wanted to share here was that given that this is my third child to head off to college, I have learned that there are a few things you really don’t need to purchase and bring. If you haven’t started shopping for your incoming freshman yet, whether for things for their dorm or clothes; well, then, I am here to tell you that if you reside in South Florida, you probably shouldn’t bother. You see, my daughter has cleaned out just about every store and depleted me of my savored stack of Bed Bath and Beyond coupons. Ok, so I am kidding… sort of.  With so many great deals out there on  Overstock, Wayfair, Dormify and Amazon in addition to the traditional big box stores like Bed Bath & Beyond, Kohl’s,  Walmart and Target, if you plan in advance, you may be able to save some money too and not end up running around trying to […]

Sorority Girl

So They’ve Joined a Sorority Congratulations if your daughter has found a place to call home. Being in a sorority opens the door to so many wonderful experiences. My older daughter made some of her closest friends in her sorority.  Every sorority is a little different as it relates to living and eating meals at the house – if they have a meal plan. They also have specifications in regard to academics, philanthropies, and social requirements. Your daughter will be expected to attend chapter meetings, eat their meals at the house (if they provide meals, which would also be included in the fees) and participate in their sorority’s events. Sororities are paired up with fraternities for socials. Some sororities require you to dress up for dinner or chapter meetings; others do not care if you come straight from the gym. Some may require you to live in the house with your pledge […]

Managing the Gap

Where Will They Live- Managing the Gap Although it feels like you just moved your students into their dorms, you now have to move them out. The worst part, aside from the grueling heat, is that some may be returning in just a few weeks to move back in somewhere. And, if they have to be back early in August, whether it be another dorm, sorority or fraternity house or an apartment, having to schlep their stuff back home to return in just a few weeks seems a little silly. I know how many carloads it took to get our daughter moved in and, frankly, I am not prepared to rent a U-Haul to get her home and back again. So, my first piece of advice is to recommend that they start bringing things home over Spring Break or if you visit, take home a few things that they really aren’t using. […]

Getting There – All the Transportation Options

The First Time That first time you drop your student off at a college you will probably want to go with them and get them settled. Many of you will drive there. Some may fly to town. There are many transportation options when it comes to getting to Orlando. The key is that as time goes on, you most probably won’t be delivering and picking your student up very often. Here are some ways to get to them or get them back to you. First, we are so lucky, because we have an (international) airport just 30 minutes from UCF. This makes flights plentiful and it is often easy to find fair prices on flights. Orlando airport serves as a hub for Silver Airways and a focus city for Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, and Southwest Airlines. It is also frequented by Delta Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Alaska Airlines, […]


You Can Dance If You Want To When my kids were in high school, they each did some sort of volunteer work; all noble and worthy. Then they got to college and their involvement in philanthropy expanded tremendously and brought them each an amazing source of altruism and a whole lot of fun. Some of it was through Greek life, but at UCF the largest student-run philanthropy is Knight-Thon; the University of Central Florida’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon and it is for everyone. Dance The Night Away Knight-Thon is a 20-hour dance marathon and year-long fundraising effort directly benefiting the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. There are many opportunities for students to get involved starting when they first step foot on campus and not just as a dancer. Some sororities encourage involvement, but once students see the impact they make on the children and families lives, they will be counting down the […]

Exam Care Packages

Give Them A Little Boost! Midterm and final exams can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it takes to […]

Study Abroad UCF

The World is your Classroom The world is your classroom. I am a big believer in this adage. Apparently many students agree as Study Abroad programs have become increasingly popular. When researching this topic I was amused to read not only a plethora of information about the various things to look for in a program but also some amusing blogs written by students about how to convince one’s parents to allow them to study abroad. Well, this parent is sold. My oldest daughter studied in London for a summer and it was fantastic. She loved everything about it (except for the mouse that set up camp in her flat, but we have decided that was all part of the learning experience being that she never before had to deal with such a circumstance) and we took advantage of the situation and went to visit and used one of her long weekends to […]

It’s All About the Delivery

There’s a knock at the door… Taking time away from studying can be the difference between dinner or a bag of chips and a soda.  Sometimes it pays to turn to delivery services. Here are some of the ones we found and what they deliver and/or how they work. Bite Squad – There is a chat option if you would like to review your order or ask why your order is taking so long. You can schedule a delivery for later in the day and check the order status. Gift cards are available. Doorstep Delivery – Powered by Bite Squad. Order from anywhere anytime  – even in the park Panera – will deliver but only within a certain radius in the Tallahassee area. Some Noles literally live beyond the cutoff. Penny Deliveries – Delivery fee for every order is only a penny; just tip your driver. Sounds too good to be true, […]

Honor Roll

Did you get a letter? It is that time of year when students receive notifications that they have made a collegiate scholar society. The cream-colored linen envelope arrives with its gold embossed logo of said scholar society organization makes me smile just thinking about it. As a parent, you do a mental cartwheel as you see the invitation; as you should. Then take a breath and read the fine print carefully. There are many Honor Societies and it is important to be aware of what stands behind each of the various invitations to join. Educate yourself as to what they provide in exchange for this membership. Honestly, there are many organizations on campus that your student can get involved with that will be far more beneficial to their resume and postgraduate application than membership in a society that either profit from the fees they collect. Read their annual report to see how […]

Trouble in Paradise

Sometimes it happens.  I began our conversations about walking alone at night, binge drinking, hazing, and drugs, among other things many months my kids left for college. I felt confident, as most of us do, yet, some of us may still get the phone call we dread. It happens. Your student got into trouble; now what? Remain calm, because most likely your child is freaking out and frankly, someone has to be the voice of reason. Yes, they may have done something very stupid and immature, but let’s remember they are new to this freedom and still navigating their way around adulthood. UCF’s Student Legal Services offers legal advice, services and court representation in select areas of law that students encounter most often and for which it would be difficult to obtain other legal representation at affordable prices. All consultations are by appointment only. Here is where your student can go to […]

Choosing or Changing Your Major

You Can Always Change Your Mind. Considering the University of Central Florida offers 119 bachelor degrees; how is one to choose? Most students begin college with some idea of what they want to study, but it is not uncommon for them to change majors. My own children; I have 3, each changed majors at least once….so far. My son found that he enjoyed the economics classes far more than some of the finance classes and switched from a finance to an economics junior year. Many of my friends have told me that their kids decided against a career in medicine after a few chemistry classes which, in turn, meant a major change as well. I used to envy those students who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their lives and stuck with it, but then I learned to appreciate the opportunity to explore and possibly find something new that may be […]

Technology Services

UCF Technology Services Students should create a Knights email account which you may use once you are fully admitted. Students also receive 50GB of storage through their Knights email. For instructions, click here. The UCF IT Knowlege Base is built on actual issues and questions we receive, as we receive them. We are working daily to improve the amount of technology knowledge on this site.  For incoming students, they will receive directions for setting up the UCF network. Keep in mind, you may only connect one device. You can read those instructions here. Just make certain you have a 100mb Ethernet cable. The list of items you will need to connect to ResNet may be found here. Read it in advance so your student has no downtime. HaveUHeard that Microsoft Office 365 technology is free for all enrolled UCF Students?  You’ll undoubtedly need to use Word, Excel, and Powerpoint throughout your four […]

Get Involved

Get Involved With an undergraduate enrollment of nearly 60,000; the second largest university in the United States, set in Florida’s home to more than a dozen theme parks, the University of Central Florida spans 1,415 acres. Seems huge, doesn’t it? Yet there are many ways to make this giant university feel smaller. Some students will choose to rush a sorority or fraternity (see our blogs about that here and here), but others will not find Greek life their cup of tea. No worries; there are many other possible ways to get involved on campus. Some of you may believe that your student’s first job is school, and I couldn’t agree more. That said; being involved in some way is rather important too. Firstly, joining a club will help your student build a community. Since they’re leaving their family and sometimes their friends behind, getting involved helps them to discover new friends with similar […]

Books, Books, Books

Reality Begins Now that our sons and daughters are settled at college the reality begins (not ours, which happened for me the second I got into the car and drove away). Their reality means being students again and the real reason they have been sent off to college surfaces. Therefore they will undoubtedly need books. Books today come in many different forms and likewise can be purchased in a variety of ways – including rentals. Deciding which is the most a) cost-efficient and b) the easiest way for your student to use it are important factors. Textbooks can cost as much as a few hundred dollars each. (Please note that some professors will insist on the newest edition of a textbook simply because it is how they make money; therefore last year’s edition may not be considered sufficient; regardless of the fact that the changes in its material may be minuscule and […]

So you want to be a Knight? Here’s How!

Be a Knight! I don’t blame you; the excitement can’t be beaten. To be a Knight, belonging to a superior Universtiy and enjoying all the experiences and benefits that it offers, it is fantastic. Right down to the beautiful modern campus, fabulous location and multitude of possible majors; the University of Central Florida is filled with opportunity. The question is how do you get in? The truth is that for every 100 students that apply to UCF, less than half are admitted. The statistics are in averages: 4.08 – academic GPA; 28.2 – ACT composite; 1320  – SAT total, are pretty clear cut in regard to what UCF is looking for in a student, but here are a few thoughts as to how to tweak your high school preparation. If you haven’t already visited UCF, I highly recommend it. Campus tours are offered Monday through Friday from 9 to 2. Sign up […]

Graduation Tips

Seriously, Graduating Already? Remember how when our kids were little we couldn’t envision them leaving us and going off to college? Now, if you are like me, you can’t believe how quickly the time went. It continues to rush by and before you know it, college graduation will be here. I am not trying to scare you; I just want to give you ample time to make those hotel reservations. Similar to football weekends, graduation weekend hotels are at a premium if you want to stay close to campus. People book them a year out. No joke. I literally booked my rooms a solid year before my son graduated. Being in Orlando though, we definitely have an advantage if you don’t mind staying a tad bit further from campus. (Don’t know where to stay, check out our blog on hotels.) Be sure to check the policy with whichever hotel you choose, but […]

The Stress of College

Here are ways to beat stress at school. Stress. It happens to all of us, including our kids. As though a full schedule and trying to maintain a social life isn’t enough to cause a little anxiety, now our students have completed mid-terms and before you know it will be preparing for finals. Fortunately, UCF is on top of it, offering various programs, workshops, training, and suggestions; most of which are free to our Knights. UCF presents a variety of Wellness Workshops that are free to registered students using their NID and NID password.  One 45 minutes to an hour workshop is called A New Perspective: Stress and How to Manage It. I imagine most of our kids can use this one. They also offer events specifically for stress management. There is quite a list ranging from Taking Charge of Social Anxiety to Paws-A-Tively Stress-Free, which uses human-animal interactions to help reduce stress […]

Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Learn and Work in the Industry Hospitality Capital of the World. HaveUheard that Orlando is officially the most visited city in the nation? I bet that is not a surprise, but what is a surprise is that the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, is part of the University of Central Florida. It is located just minutes from some of the most popular restaurants, resorts, and convention centers. Rosen College provides its students the opportunity to learn and work in the industry’s leading market. With its state-of-the-art, Mediterranean resort-style building containing 18 high-tech classrooms, an executive education center, a 200-seat training dining room, and bar. It also has a beer and wine laboratory, two test kitchens, a 400-seat auditorium, three computer labs, a library, bookstore, and a fitness center. Rosen College is located approximately 30 miles from the University of Central Florida’s main campus; conveniently set in the heart of Orlando’s tourism district, […]

Searching for Scholarships

More Ways To Pay! Almost as soon as the first acceptance to college came in, so did the idea of actually having to pay for their tuition and room and board. When they were small it was something we always envisioned we would do and planned accordingly. We even invested in Florida Prepaid for all three of our kids and encouraged them to get as much as they could from Bright Futures Scholarships. Regardless of that, a little help is always appreciated and, in some cases, far more necessary. There are so many scholarships available these days; the question remains in finding the right ones that they may qualify for. Some scholarships are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something. All make those bills for the next four (or more) years more bearable. The best place to start is probably on some of […]

Finding A Job During Senior Year

Start Your Job Search Soon!  Graduation is only a few months off and depending on the type of job they are applying for your senior should probably start their job search. Industries like investment banking, consulting and accounting are well known as early recruiters and often rely on summer internships between junior and senior year when making job offers. Smaller companies without training programs tend to recruit later in the year; as do employers in fields like communications, advertising, public relations, social media, the arts, and publishing. Starting to network can never happen too early. Preparing a resume and updated LinkedIn page is important too. UCF offers career services (called Handshake) that students should undoubtedly take advantage of as they begin to consider life after college. There they will find various counseling opportunities and guidance workshops. They also offer a career fair; the next one is February 6th at the CFE Arena […]

Finding an Internship

Get the experience you need.  What better way to learn about a prospective field or career than to do an internship? What better way is there to get some experience that will beef up a resume for that real job someday? Obviously, I am a big believer in internships. It allows students to learn, but it also helps them decide if that is actually the career for them. Internships help them figure out, while still in school, whether the career they envisioned for themselves all along may (or may not) be just what they wanted?  The question is how to find one. I’m not going to lie….if you know someone, now might be the time to put the word out there that your student is looking. Internships, full or part-time, in just the right field, can be difficult to find. If it is possible, tell your student to offer to work for […]

Transferring to UCF

You Can become a Knight!  Some students leave for college unsure of what to find and realize when they get there that it is not the place for them. Transferring may be the answer. Perhaps too they never actually went away, but had been living at home for college and are now ready to go away. UCF makes the transfer process fairly simply via a program called “Transfer to be a Knight,” which literally provides students considering a transfer all the information they will need to plan accordingly. According to US News & World Report, more students choose to transfer to UCF than any other school. We can’t blame them. Students can apply up to one year prior to the term they wish to enroll in. If financial aid and housing are something your student will be in need of, it is recommended that they apply as early as possible. UCF computes a […]

Career Showcase- A Student Perspective

It is normal to change your mind. When I first applied to UCF, I didn’t even have a question of what my major would be. I confidently clicked Psychology on my application. From the moment I got accepted, I was so excited to be going to a school with such a great Psychology program. Even during UCF’s Orientation, when they divide the students into groups based on their majors, I was so certain I was in the right place as we were discussing all of the different course options. However, about a year into my college career, I realized that I wasn’t as certain I chose the right path. I think it is so important for college students to realize it is normal to change their minds about their career. On average, about 80% of students change their major while in college; some even change their major up to three times. Most […]

Make the Call

If you think you should, you should do it.  A distraught friend recently called me wondering why they hadn’t yet heard from UCF although they sent in her son’s new SAT scores and first-semester senior grades. “How long do we have to wait?” she pleaded. I told her to have her son call. Of course, this is for students that have previously been denied admission and or have negotiated a sort of conditional admission. Sometimes, if you can show UCF that your grades have improved senior year and/or that you brought up that ACT/SAT, they may be willing to make a deal. Taking some classes Valencia Community College may be part of the deal, but if your student’s heart is set on being a Knight it may be worth the effort…and the call. There is actually a program called DirectConnect by which Valencia graduates are guaranteed admission and a smooth transition to […]

Dress for Success

Time to step it up.  As they get closer to graduation, one of the greatest changes our students are about to experience is abandoning their shorts, t-shirts and yoga pants, as they begin to dress for success in their new roles, or as my older daughter stated, for adulting. Dressing for success can be daunting in different ways, but the one that stands out most may very well be its cost. Starting with the career and internship fairs students are attending, students need to look professional. For the young men, this may mean a suit and tie and for the young women, while they have more options, it may mean a suit, pantsuit, skirt, and blouse or dress. That’s not to mention shoes. For students who may not have the means to go and purchase a new outfit, UCF has The Knight’s Pantry, a lending service where students can rent blazers for five […]

I’m Not Your Maid

Cleaning Services I never thought I would be saying this, but sometimes it is a good idea to hire a cleaning service for students. Hear me out… With flu season and virus’ going around; wouldn’t it give you peace of mind to know those nasty germs have been eradicated and may lessen the chances of your child catching what their roommate has? Of course, this is my strongest reason, but having seen my son’s apartment after a few months of living with 3 other young men, I have others. Some students simply don’t have the time and search for affordable cleaning help. Here are few cleaning services some of our Knights have tried. The Clean Team – (Also known as the Kleen Teem) a husband and wife team recommended by many students and parents who later inspected Two Maids and A Mop – Yelp speaks highly of them and students have found […]

Calendar of Events and Important Dates for UCF

Here is where you can find a list of events and important dates for students and parents of the University of Central Florida. We can’t list everything so here is the official UCF event calendar. DECEMBER 2018 December 8, 2018 – Men’s Basketball game against Grambling State at 1 pm December 9, 2018 – Dorms close December 14 – 15, 2018- Graduation! December 14, 2018 – SantaPalooza @ 8 pm downtown December 15, 20118- Orlando Blues and Jazz Fest- at Eagle Nest Park December 31, 2018- EVE at Universal CityWalk- looking for a fun way to celebrate the new year! JANUARY 2019 January 1, 2019, Fiesta Bowl, UCF vs LSU, Glendale, Arizona January 2, 2019 – Men’s Basketball game against Temple @ 7 pm January 5, 2019, On-campus housing opens, 9 am January 7, 2019 – Spring semester begins January 9, 2019- Paws in the Park (Orlando’s largest dog park and festival) […]


Paws at UCF How many of you have literally Face-timed with your student and been asked to put the family pet near the phone? I have also sent videos and photos of our dog wearing sunglasses, a UCF bandana and on occasion, attempting to lick his way to the bottom of an almost empty peanut butter jar. I do these things for a variety of reasons: 1) My kids miss our sweet dog and I can’t blame them, 2) I am hopeful that this will keep them satiated and not attempt to adopt another and 3) Our dog is just so darn cute. Clearly, we are dog people. Yet, I am not a big fan of students adopting pets. I understand that the unconditional love of a sweet puppy or kitten can be wonderful around stressful times like midterms or finals. UCF often brings therapy dogs to campus during these times for […]

University Central Florida

UCF is an emerging preeminent research university in Florida and one of the largest universities in the U.S. One of the best colleges when it comes to quality, access, impact and value. In fact, Forbes has named UCF one of the nation’s most affordable colleges, while both The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s rank us a best-value university. 4000 Central Florida Blvd. Orlando, Florida 32816 | 407.823.2000