FL choices for high stats OOS

Rollins has lots of wealthy students and an excellent reputation for business. It “places” very well throughout the South. Academically, it’s not an easy admit and there are lots of scholarships but they’re quite competitive. In terms of vibe, it’s very close to UMiami’s.
People who would know UMiami because of sports or because “Miami” is in the name wouldn’t really “know” the school but would make assumptions based on their affinity for sports.
Overall, there are so many colleges throughout the US that people simply cannot know them all, nor to they have any idea of their respective ranking (beside putting HYPSM at the top).
I don’t think it’d really matter throughout the South or elsewhere. Internships, skills, relevant courses taken and relevant experience would all matter more than the college’s name (unless the recruiter is a graduate from that college), in which case it can be a positive.)
Resources (= ability the college has to support students’ needs and offer opportunities) and academic quality matter more to student experience than USNWR rankings though.

@PickleParent : is PBA on your list because your daughter is interested in evangelical colleges or just because it’s in Florida?

Have you visited any of the FL schools? We visited Tampa, Rollins and Stetson. My son’s favorite was Rollins but he also liked Tampa. It is a beautiful school. Kids seemed really nice and friendly. We also got that vibe at Tampa (2 different groups of kids stopped us to ask if we needed help). Our tour guide at Rollins was definitely not a partier but you could tell she really loved the school and she said she was always busy. Loved the town and the light rail service to Orlando right off campus. We liked Stetson as well but not as much as the other two.

Daughter goes to Elon. Happy to answer any specific questions you may have. She was a freshman this year so not a normal year due to covid but she liked it a a lot. Definitely a lot of kids that like to party but she had several kids on her floor that did not partake. Campus is beautiful and class sizes are small. They do have a lot of core requirements that my D isn’t all that thrilled with but it is a liberal arts school so that’s to be expected. They don’t give much merit though. Honor students, called “Fellows”, receive around 5-6k a year.


This goes to the adage that where you go matters little. Washington & Lee is one of the top rated schools in the country - yet, even in VA, half the people have no clue about it.

Miami - everyone knows. In fact, at Miami of Ohio, half probably think of “Miami FL”.

In the end, if the school is right for your kid and your kid is a winner, they’ll come out a winner - reputation/pedigree be damned.

You think outside of Florida anyone thinks UF is a top public school? You could tell someone New Hampshire, UNLV, Nebraska…they wouldn’t care.

All the names you mentioned are great - and will produce great grads - meaning Dickinson and Gettysburg. If the student has the “it” factor, they’ll be fine. If they don’t, they’ll struggle like other similar kids.

I’ve definitely seen success come from all sorts of colleges. The right college for student A can easily be less than stellar for student B though. Fit can be very important for students - not always - but often.

With Washington & Lee there’s a very large Greek presence, so if that doesn’t appeal, I never recommend them. If it does, it can be a great school.


I was just going back to the point - no one has heard of them.

You mentioned Covenant - I see it because I drive through Chatt. I promise you no one ever heard of it. But it was great for your son!!! That’s what matters.


But Rollins students are trying to get to the $73k+ price and Flagler is more like $30k and Florida Southern is about $50k

I definitely love Rollins, but there was too much ground for my daughter to make up get that COA to within reach.

For sure. We ended up just saying he went to college outside of Chattanooga because it was easier than answering the “where is that” question (and the people asking aren’t interested in the college itself)! But in his area (he lives in NC now) he can name the college and people tend to know it.

It’s not much different than medical boy. He went to undergrad at the University of Rochester, but most people have no idea that’s a school or even that it’s in Rochester, NY. It’s “only” ranked in the 30s somewhere for National Universities, but without a top sports team to go along with it, that means little to the man on the street outside of NY. So we say, Rochester. People who continue further usually ask, “oh, RIT?” because they’ve heard of that one (quite a few local kids have gone there), and then we have to explain the difference.

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I’d say most haven’t heard of either - and Rice isn’t far off the list and it’s a top school!! But the ones who need to know - know Rice.

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We loved Flagler when we visited…but I’m not sure I’d say it’s for a high stats student. Still…it might be worth a look see. It is very modestly priced and the small campus is gorgeous and in a gorgeous location.

What about University of Florida?

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FWIW, which is not much if anything, I’ve never heard of Flagler or Rollins, and I’ve been on this site for several years. I’m located in CA.

But, not many in the Midwest or East Coast have heard of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, which is the #1 ranked regional public (#3 overall) here in the West.


Check University of South Florida St. Petersburg Campus.
About 5000 Students. Located downtown St. Pete right on the Bay.
Same Degree as Tampa Campus

Dont rule out FSU as others have mentioned. OOS waiver, Beautiful campus, Honors program.

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Another issue is that there’s a big academic mismatch for most of these schools if your kid has a 4.0 with a rigorous curriculum and 32 ACT. (I’ll be using the score as a proxy).
She needs to have academic peers that will challenge her, and in sufficient numbers, as well as classes that aim at a middle student with an average level close to hers - with small colleges, you’d probably want the 25% threshold to be around 29-30 for her to have academic peers in her class.
The type of classes offered when the top 25% students have an act 26 and average is about 23-24 (Flagler) is very different from classes aiming at kids with 30+: more repetition, more busy work, more “checking they understand the basics of the chapter/reading/concept” v. Discussion or application thereof.
Eckerd has some academically serious students, UMiami and Rollins will have strong students with preprofessional ambitions.
Flagler isn’t expensive but isn’t very academic.
To compare, Eckerd’s average is 26, its top 25% 30; Stetson, avg 26 and top 25% 29; UMiami, avg 30, top 25% 32; Rollins average is 27 and top 25% 30; UTampa average 24, top 25% 27. PBA doesn’t report the data but we know they admit more than 95% applicants so it’s basically open admission.


OP’s daughter would be a strong candidate for one of Rollins College’s top two scholarships (either full tuition, fees, room & board =$69,000 or a $32,000 per year award). The top full ride scholarship typically goes to those with a minimum 32 ACT & 3.60 or higher GPA. Up to 10 full ride scholarships are awarded per year by Rollins College.

My concern is with respect to homeschooling. Will OP’s daughter be more comfortable at Furman University or Palm Beach Atlantic or at Berry College–all Christian schools–versus the more socially active schools which have more exposure to alcohol & pot.

@MYOS1634: If OP’s daughter wants to study management / marketing in business, then Rollins College with a major scholarship award should be fine. Otherwise, I agree with @MYOS1634’s thoughts.

My best guess–based on the limited information shared in this thread–is that OP’s daughter should give serious consideration to Furman University & to Rollins College.

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I’ve always wondered how to compare schools from different categories, in terms of rankings.

Thank you so much for this post. This is exactly the type of thought process I was working through. I thought she would like St. Augustine and the Flagler campus, but wasn’t sure if there would be much to offer her academically. She REALLY loves discussion and an engaged classroom.

More background on why Florida, and why some schools and not others that seem in the same category:

My daughter plays a Niche sport (Pickelball) and wants to go somewhere where she can continue to play competitively and have access to tournaments. Florida is one of the epicenters of pickleball (also Utah, Phoenix area, Southern California, Michigan) - she knows lots of Florida players, there are tons of tournaments all winter, and airports to get to larger ones. Unfortunately, schools like Covenant and W&L are just too remote to realistically continue to play competitively. Starting a club at the school sounds good, but she needs something beyond beginner play and it would take years for most beginners to get to her level. She’s not interested in Utah, AZ or Michigan. We are going to SoCal in a couple of weeks. She may fall in love, but I suspect that she won’t want to be that far from home.

Having said that, some areas of Florida are much better than others. Not much play around FSU. She looked at Niche and said “#1 Best Greek Life and #3 Party School. No thanks.” I know that honors colleges would probably get her out of that vibe a little, but

To be clear, academics and the college experience will be #1, pickleball #2. Her sport is not driving the decision, but she won’t be happy taking four years “off” of playing either.

@Publisher she homeschooled starting Junior year mostly because of Covid - her private Christian school went back full time with very little mask enforcement and she and her sister just weren’t comfortable with it. We intended on going back this year, but she only had two classes left to take there, so we just decided the $10,000 didn’t make sense and she would take all dual enrollment instead.

She would be open to a Christian college, but she’s not actively searching for one. She definitely doesn’t want a strict school with weekly religious requirements, etc. I think she’s craving exposure to more ideas, open discussion, etc., and to get away from the ultra-conservative setting that she found in her private Christian school.

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Look at UCF’s Honors Program. Do they have honors housing? They will have out of state students, it’s in Orlando which is probably a pickleball hotspot and not a party school. If she likes it, you’ll save a lot for grad school.

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Thanks for that information, it’s really helpful. Has she considered checking out where other players her age are attending? Having a group of friends sharing a common interest makes college a lot of fun. It’d also make going to tournaments easier logistically via car pooling or similar.

Having discussion in colleges can be tricky to find because so much depends upon the professor and how they run their classes. Two different professors teaching the same class can run it differently. Eckerd has discussion - my guy relayed a bit from his years there. The other aspects of it might not make it a great fit - unless peers are there and then who cares what others are doing? I feel certain Rollins would have discussion too. Palm Beach Atlantic does too, but it’s definitely a solid Christian school vs Eckerd which really isn’t.

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My D21 will attend UCF had 4.0 gpa/33 ACT oos and received $10,500/year knights achievement award and admitted to the Burnett Honors College. On this site, I learned that being admitted to the honors college can help make a large university seem smaller. The honors dorm rooms also were the best of all the colleges she looked at imo ( and hers) although we did not see them in person, just online. There is the question as to whether she will be able to live on campus the following years though as priority seems to go to freshmen. Hope this helps. She also applied to Furman, FSU and several other warm weather schools.

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FYI - https://www.pickleballsouthflorida.com/ is coincidentally right by the FAU Honors College in Jupiter.

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