Florida Atlantic University - is it a good quality school?

Hi, my daughter is very interested in attending this school and is from the Midwest. With so many choices out there, I want to be sure she attends a university that has a good reputation. A lot of rankings are pretty low for this school. We visited the Boca campus in April and she fell in love. But now the question is, is it a good quality school?

I’m instate and toured FAU. I liked the school and it ended up 3rd or 4th on my D’s list. (She fell in love with Eckerd and will attend there in the Fall. It is the perfect fit for her. We are both excited for this new adventure. Thank goodness for FA!!) FAU has a lot of up & coming programs, sports teams, etc. … but of course there are other more premiere universities. I’m not sure paying OOS cost would make it “worth it”, but that is a decision with many factors. For starters, I’m happy that your D found a place she loves! What did she love about it? What is she looking for in a school (size, majors, vibe, etc.)? What are her stats to get into other options if she if open to other suggestions?
I applaud your daughter for looking at options so far away. My mom always told me that part of going away for college was going away. :slight_smile:

FAU is decent for B students.
An issue for top students is that their honors college is actually separate, in Jupiter.
In Florida though the strongest public universities are UF and FSU. Eckerd is a great small college.

Hi, she loved the surrounding area and the campus “feel”. I think if you took away the palm trees and beautiful FL sunshine though she may have had a different feeling (in my opinion). I’m just concerned that not all the teachers are professors (some grad students teach there I guess). Cost is a concern but she qualifies possibly for some of the scholarships including the OOS partial tuition waiver. I appreciate the feedback. I’m just trying to find more people who know about this college first hand

At any large public school, there are going to be non-tenured faculty teaching undergrads. Doesn’t mean the teaching is good or bad. Some people are natural teachers and that can come out when they are 26 year old grad students. Some really good researcher may never be good teachers.

The only colleges that guarantee your student won’t have graduate assistants as instructors are National LACs (Liberal arts colleges, smaller universities dedicated to undergraduates.) Examples would be Eckerd listed above, or Colgate, Grinnell, Scripps, Middlebury (the last 4 are very difficult to get into but you can check out the websites and compare to the FAU website.) Note that Florida has a public LAC with beach front and palm trees, NCF. But it’s very intense and definitely not for everyone.
At other universities, graduate students and adjuncts are commonplace. FAU is not special in that respect it’s the same at UF, FSU, USF… As well as any large public university from UCLA to UNC Chapel Hill to UVermont or Uwash Seattle.
If she likes palm trees etc., USF (u South Florida) is better academically than FAU and if she has a decent academic background she could have a shot at the honors college, which would reduce the odds of having huge lectures and graduate assistants.

FAU isn’t any different than a regional-level university. I’m from MI originally, and what I’d compare it to is something like Oakland University. You might as well go to a community college or a nearby, more local college in-state and save the money. It’s probably not going to be that much different than it is here.

As people above have mentioned, graduate students do teach at most universities - it’s to give them experience as many of them go on to become professors. That said, in my experience both as a student and as a graduate student who taught at FAU, we mostly teach the labs and the lower level (freshman year) courses. Anything “serious” would be taught by someone with a Ph.D. (or equivalent experience).

With regard to whether FAU is a “good” school, I’d say so. With every state it’s a matter of allocating resources; UF and FSU being the oldest and most resource-demanding, get the lion’s share of funding and thus are considered the “best” schools. However, FAU has been around since 1961, has hundreds of majors, over a thousand faculty, >30k students, etc, so it commands a considerable amount of resources itself.

Moreover, prospective students and teachers tend to focus on the overall reputation of the school vs the overall reputation of a certain major in the school; for instance, FAU would be stronger on business, teaching, accounting, pre-health professions, architecture and marine biology than others. If your daughter enjoyed the campus, is interested in those majors and you get the right financial support together to make it happen, you should be very comfortable with this decision.

Hope that helps. Go Owls!

Thank you for all the feedback. She has committed to a different FL University.