The University of Central Florida isn’t the easiest school in the state to attend, at least for first-time, first-year students.
In a population of nearly 64,000 students in attendance, both admitted straight out of high school or transferred from a community college, UCF bodes a competitive academic environment for those seeking admission.
“We typically do not change the admission criteria that drastically from year to year,” said Gordon Chavis, associate vice president for enrollment services at UCF. “We establish the criteria based off of the previous year’s averages for incoming freshman.”
According to the Common Data Sets for each university, Florida State University had a higher admission rate of 56 percent for first-time, first-year students, whereas UCF had a 49 percent admission rate for the 2015-2016 school year. Other major colleges such as the University of Florida had a rate of 48 percent and the University of South Florida had an admittance rate of 45 percent.
The Common Data Set is a collaborative effort among data providers in the higher education community to improve the quality and accuracy of information provided to those involved in a student’s transition to higher education.
The admissions process for both transfer students and first-time, first-year students varies from each major university in the state of Florida and plays a large role in how students are accepted.
At UCF, the admissions process for first time in-college students is to submit a high school transcript and typically either an SAT or ACT score. Students are encouraged to submit recommendation letters as well as write an entrance essay.
“Freshman admission is a holistic and selective process, and no single criterion guarantees admission,” said Hege Ferguson, director of admissions at FSU. “Rather, we consider all the documentation an applicant submits, and we carefully review their academic record and test scores to ensure they are prepared for the rigorous curriculum they will encounter at Florida State University.”
The process for transfer students at UCF is essentially the same process, with the distinction of a college transcript instead of a high school transcript. An entrance essay is still required, however, letters of recommendation are not typically submitted.
Perhaps the only other exception to transfer students seeking admission to UCF is that the university holds a State Articulation Agreement with numerous 2-year institutions, such as Valencia College, which has the DirectConnect program. The agreement states that if a student graduates from one of the DirectConnect equipped colleges and has at least a 2.0 GPA upon graduation, that student is guaranteed admission to the university.
“Students use the same application online,” Chavis said. “It directs them to answer different questions based on whether or not they are a transfer student or coming from high school. Based on those answers the university is able to create an academic profile.”
However, when it comes to transfer rates, the CDS showed that UCF had the highest rate at 67 percent for the 2015-2016 school year; the University of South Florida had 60 percent; Florida State University had 39 percent and the University of Florida had 38 percent.
“We have a continued commitment to attract and enroll qualified transfer students,” said David Lee Henry, director of admissions at USF.
USF also holds a State Articulated Agreement which allows students who successfully complete their AA degree to be admitted to USF Tampa.
UF uses the application delivered by the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success for its transfer students. The application includes sections in regards to demographics information, a section to list involvement in extra-curricular activity, honors and awards, work experience and leadership opportunities as well as an essay.
Despite the slight differences in each university’s admissions process, there is one thing that remains clear—the steps a student should take when making the decision of what university they are best suited to attend.
“Learn more about the university you have been admitted to and determine how the university fits in your overall long term plans,” Henry said.
Visiting a campus, staying on top of the application process and doing the research on which major a student intends to pursue are all common pieces of advice from each university.
“A student who is happy with their college choice,” Ferguson said, “and who feels at home on their campus is going to be successful regardless of which school they choose to attend.”
Originally published Oct. 3, 2016