Is this school for real?

<p>I'm asking this because I don't know what else to ask. This school seems absolutely perfect, for a person like me anyway.</p>

<p>I've been looking for a good, small but still inexpensive liberal arts school and I never expected it to find it on the Florida coast, or one with <em>gasp</em> schedule flexibility! I'm thinking of studying philosophy, history and English and this place just seems perfect, especially since it seems geared towards self-motivated independent thinkers as I like to think of myself as.</p>

<p>So, I guess a good question would be what are the flaws of the school? Are the professors up to par with other high-ranked liberal arts schools? Do they do medical experiments on low-performing students? That's about all I can think of...</p>

<p>Hi! Mom of a 4th year thesis student here. I'll try to help best I can.</p>

<p>NCF is very strong in the subjects you're interested in with excellent professors. The "contract" system does provide a student the opportunity to design the educational experience suited to their interests and the "no grades" makes it possible to stretch yourself beyond what you may have done if you were confined to maintaining a GPA. You will find that most professors do have very high expectations from students and you will have to work very hard to "sat" (satisfy) a contract. Many students come to NCF not expecting the workload, and quickly find that maybe this isn't the place where you can party and put in minimal effort to pass. This is why the retention rate is so low (a flaw for you). No medical experiments on low performers, but they tend to not come back and it is a bit rough on the remaining 1st years in the spring semester, since NCF is a small, very close-knit community.</p>

<p>If you are self-motivated, though, NCF will provide you an outstanding education and college experience. Try to visit during the school year when students are there if you'll get a much better idea of whether NCF is a good fit for you.</p>

<p>Wow. Thanks for your input. I do hope to visit the campus at some point, I'll try and get there when this next semester starts too if I can. I have a few questions that I hope you can answer, too, if you could. It would be a major help.</p>

<p>Primarily, I hope to know my chances of entry and what kind of merit-based aid I can get. Quick rundown: 1480 SAT (800 CR, 680 Math), 800 US history SATII, 780 World history SATII, 12 AP courses by end of high school, very high GPA (4th out of class of 450). North carolina resident, first generation American with Middle-Eastern background. I don't necessarily expect you to be an admissions expert on the college, but just knowing whether I'm very qualified or more run-of-the-mill compared to other students at the school will put my mind more at ease (I'm really excited about this school)</p>

<p>There's a very high chance I'll qualify for the national merit scholarship, and apparently New College grants a guaranteed $17,500 for that (which I was ecstatic about!)</p>

<p>I'll also probably need a fairly good amount of need-based aid. Do you have any idea how lenient NCF is on that front? They seem to have a large endowment with a small student base...</p>

<p>I'm also interested about the college campus. Are there nice beaches near campus? Is the campus lively? I also don't drink or use drugs or anything like that- is that going to be a major problem at NCF? I'm sure there are going to be people doing those things like at any college campus, but am I going to be feeling left out for it? Obviously none of these are deal-breakers- what drew me to NCF is the innovative curriculum, quality professors, outstanding price tag and high academic standard- but they're still things that weigh on my mind when picking out schools to look into.</p>

<p>Your stats are solid and though I tend to not get involved in chances threads, I would guess you'd have no problem getting accepted. Just take care to write a good essay, I think that's very important to them. NCF is very generous with merit scholarships, even with OOS students. Need-based aid...I don't know anything about, you should ask them.</p>

<p>There is a community of "straight-edge" kids on campus, but I think that doesn't stop them from enjoying the campus-wide parties (walls) that occur every weekend. While there are substance-users on campus, just like most other campuses, there is absolutely no peer pressure to partake in them. There are also all kinds of quirky traditions that go on during the year that involve the whole campus you'll only feel left out if you choose to stay in your room. There is kind of a liberal, free culture vibe to the if you're open-minded and accepting of others, you will enjoy your time there.</p>

<p>2forcollege is spot on in her descriptions of New College. Her guidance was very helpful to us when my daughter was making school choices (she wanted to stay in-state and she chose New College over UF's honors program).</p>

<p>New College puts a lot of emphasis on the admissions essay. Unless you bomb the essay, though, you should feel pretty comfortable because your SAT scores and high school grades are certainly in line with New College's class profile.</p>

<p>There are a lot of New College students with 800s in CR and almost half have 700 and above in CR (second highest percentage of 700+ CR scores among all state schools in the country).</p>

<p>New College has generous financial aid. You should speak to the financial aid office to get ideas about what aid for which you may qualify.</p>

<p>There are very nice beaches nearby and New College is situated on the bay which is beautiful. For a small school, there are a lot of things going on and there are plenty of causes, organizations, and groups with which you may affiliate.</p>

<p>There are plenty of students who don't drink or do drugs, so you wouldn't be alone in that respect. You might consider "Wall-ternatives" which are alternatives to the weekly "Wall" parties at New College.</p>

<p>Probably the worst news for you is that you are unlikely to receive credit for your AP courses. I would discuss that issue with your admissions counselor.</p>

<p>Having said that, we were surprised and pleased at the credits my daughter did receive from New College as a result on her high school work (she got credit equivalent to one contract and one independent study project; essentially one semester's credit at an ordinary college or university).</p>

<p>I think my daughter would agree that New College turned out to be precisely as it represented itself: intellectually-challenging, requiring hard work in a setting where most of the professors are excellent, teach very small classes, care about the students, and get to know their students.</p>

<p>You should make every effort to visit New College and sit in on classes. That way, you will have an opportunity first-hand to get a glimpse of just how extraordinary New College really is.</p>

<p>I should also add that another thing that makes NCF stand-out among other small LACs is the opportunities available to students. My D and most of her friends have had amazing study-abroad and internship experiences. NCF grads have been honored with Fullbrights, NSF awards, etc. Many do extremely well getting into elite post graduate programs.</p>

<p>When you enter as a freshman, you may wonder how you'll ever manage to produce the senior thesis they require to graduate. But as I see my D prepare to write hers, I see she is well-prepared for the task. I'm quite impressed with the education she's received at NCF.</p>

<p>Thank you Senior's Dad. I'm glad your D has been happy at NCF!!!</p>

<p>I'm glad you answered the beach question, I forgot! I love visiting the campus at's so pretty to watch from bay. There are also kayaks and sailboats the students can use.</p>

<p>Wow thanks for the all the info! It's not really too big a deal to me that I won't get all that many credits for AP courses. I took them to challenge myself academically in high school (with disappointingly low rates of success). </p>

<p>My next question has to do with the facilities. The living costs seem to be higher than most schools- are the dorms nicer than the norm? I'm also aware that there are no real competitive sports, but I'd still like recreational places to just play for fun. Are there any soccer fields that the students are allowed to use?</p>

<p>Also, what is their policy for owning a car first year? Is that allowed? And if not (or even if so), is biking a suitable alternative for getting around Sarasota?</p>

<p>Yes, the dorms are quite a bit nicer than most schools. Pei, where most 1st years live, was designed by the famous architect of the same name. The rooms are large with private bathrooms and most have balconies or patios (except for the "fishbowl" rooms). There have also been new dorms added to the campus and they are apartment style. The apartment dorms house 3 to 4 students and include a kitchen, living room, 2 bathrooms with a private bedroom for each student.</p>

<p>You won't find much in the way of traditional college sports at NCF...yes, there are the "Still Undefeated" football shirts. There is some kind of field there (not sure what type), a basketball court, a nice swimming pool, sail boats, kayaks, a giant chess set, yoga by the bay at sunset, dance are active, sports at NCF are more based on student interest than anything.</p>

<p>Students are allowed cars on campus, even first years. You can either get a permit or a NCF license plate to be allowed to park on campus. And yes, most students use bikes...sometimes necessary to get from one end of campus to the other if your classes are scheduled one after the other. You'll find you probably won't leave the campus all that often, it's kind of a self-contained bubble, but it's definitely easier to have a car to go downtown or grocery shopping...though I don't think it's that hard to catch a ride from someone who does have a car, if you don't have one.</p>

<p>I'm an alum of New College (94-98), and grew up in Sarasota. I would echo everything else you've heard in the previous posts. If you are a self-directed learner, you will find what you're looking for at New College.</p>

<p>Since graduating, I've worked at three other colleges/universities, and none of them offered as high quality an undergraduate experience as you'll get at NCF. One was a major research institution, one was a mid-sized state university, and one was a small liberal arts college. At NCF, you really get to know your classmates (all of whom are also high-achieving) and professors, and you have the freedom to craft independent study projects and tutorials geared to exactly what you're interested in learning. These things just aren't available at most institutions of higher education.</p>

<p>Also, as mentioned previously, financial aid is abundant and the cost is relatively low, so you will leave with little or no debt compared to other colleges.</p>

<p>There are lots of intermural sports/activities/clubs, although competition between students is kept fun. Sarasota is a wealthy retirement community with lots of culture and really great beaches, but it can be a bit sleepy if you're used to life in a big city. That being said, there are always things to do on campus, so it's actually nice to be able to get away and relax around town when you feel like.</p>

<p>Like a previous poster mentioned, I'd encourage you to visit when classes are in session, talk to some students and sit in on a class - it's the best way to get an idea of whether NCF is a good fit.</p>

<p>Good luck!

<p>Dredging up an old post here, but I thought I would add my 2 cents, as a NCF alum. I attended other colleges prior to NCF and have some frame of reference. </p>

<p>NCF has a high attrition rate and it is not that the work is harder than other similar caliber schools, but because the workload is self-directed and there is a lot of “wiggly room” for procrastination. Yes, the instructors provide syllabi, just like any other school, but with the system pass/fail (Sat/Unsat) the ambiguity of it all can play tricks on the mind of the student and create lackadaisical and/or frantic attitudes. One is constantly asking oneself “Am I doing too much? Am I doing enough?” </p>

<p>Also, the NCF students tend to be (generalization here) pretty confident in terms of intelligence and many of them have coasted easily on their innate abilities, so it is a shock that they actually have to discipline themselves to study. </p>

<p>It is not a competitive (read that: cutthroat) student body like other schools might have because each student is working on his/her own “thing”. Yet one is competing with oneself, so to speak, and sometimes that can be very stressful. </p>

<p>I found I could survive at NCF if I maintained a healthy lifestyle (no drinking, drugs, or late nights); if I exercised, and if I constructed a schedule and stuck to it. I compare the workload I had there with what I see other college students in traditional state schools doing and I would say that NCF is 50% more work. Definitely a 40 hour workweek! and I treated it like a job. 9 to 5 M-F, more studying on Saturday morning while I did my laundry, and then off the clock until Sunday 5 pm, when I would start opening my books again. </p>

<p>Also, there is no cable TV—that should give you an idea of the student mindset. Vegan, vegetarian, omnivore foods in the cafeteria; lots of tye-dye and dreadlocks; yet a contingent of “mainstream” students who are travelling their own paths. </p>

<p>All said and done, I think it is one of the finest schools in the country. Sarasota is not the most happening place I can think of, but there is a cute downtown (with a WholeFoods), some nice beaches, a bus system to get around on, and just an hour from Tampa for the occasional escape back to reality (shopping malls, Busch Gardens).</p>

<p>Hope this helps.</p>

<p>I’d like to bump this thread. My son has not made a final decision (we have 19 days left for that), but NCF is looking increasingly likely. I’d love to get some insights and advice from current students and other high school seniors who are probably Sarasota-bound.</p>

<p>Hi woogzmama,
We are headed down to Sarasota tomorrow. Have spent the last two weekends at accepted students days at other colleges and my fingers are crossed for NCF. Son will be sitting in on some classes. I had no idea that the stress of applying to schools would be followed by equal or greater stress of deciding on a school! If you have any suggestions for what to do/ask while we’re there, send them along. </p>

<p>ODK mom, did your son end up attending NCF? My daughter is in her senior year and is considering it, and it is a difficult process! Interested to hear what you decided. She is weighing some western Mass liberal arts schools, such as Hampshire and Smith, and NCF, because of its unique programs.</p>