Rollins College Party Culture?

My daughter has applied to Rollins College. The campus is beautiful, and there seem to be some very unique learning opportunities offered there. However, I do have some concern about Rollins’ reputation as a party school. D is a quiet, studious type. I don’t worry that she will become a big partier there, but I want to make sure she feels comfortable on campus and the potential to make friends with groups of people who are like-minded. Many of the posts I’ve read about parties are several years old, and I’ve also read that in recent years, Rollins has been working to crack down on excessive partying. Does anyone have recent experience with Rollins and the extent of drug and alcohol use there?

My daughter was at Rollins for a year and a half before transferring. According to her there is a lot of partying on the weekends, especially in fraternities and clubs in Orlando. She transferred for a variety of reasons, but one was that while she participated in the party life, some weekends she just wanted to hang with friends, but found that difficult because they were all out at parties! I will say though that she definitely fell in with the party crowd, so I am not sure that her experience is 100% representative of Rollins students. There are a fair number of students there and limited places to party, so imagine there was an entirely different set of students doing different things on the weekends.

On a different note, she did enjoy the academics there, the campus is great and you can’t beat the weather!

I went there many decades ago and loved every minute of it. Did I party? Yes. I was also very studious and got great grades and so did many of my “partier” friends.

@nehiker why did your daughter transfer?

@IndoBurma she transferred for a combination of reasons 1) she wanted to change to a major that Rollins doesn’t offer (hospitality), 2) she had too much drama to deal with in her sorority, 3) it was a bit too much of a party culture and 3) she had some health issues. I will say that in retrospect she regrets transferring because she does not like her current university very much

thanks for the info @nehiker! If my son gets in, he will have a tough decision. Of course we parents are worried about the partying— but it seems there is partying at all of his top choices. It’s just a matter of how much, what else there is to do, and how much accountability the students have in attending classes and getting involved?

My oldest daughter attends Rollins as a sophomore now and she loves loves loves the school and her experience there. She graduated from a large public high school near a big city which was academically very rigorous and sends nearly 40 percent of its graduating class to Ivies and top 50 schools, and has so many successful athletes and musicians and performing artists. Going to Rollins was a breath of fresh air for her because, while challenging and certainly not a cake walk, her professors make the material fun to learn and they motivate her to learn in a new way (not just for the grade). She has found her tribe there and did from the start. I know not all kids are so fortunate, but she found people who she could relate to and open up to and its been wonderful for her.

Most of all, I love Rollins for its mission driven vibe and ethic. Its social media marketing on Instagram reflects just how deeply and broadly the college is invested in its students and in its mission. My youngest daughter has been auditioning for BFA programs for acting and musical theater, but she is seriously considering Rollins, even though it only has a BA program, because of the beauty and community feel of the campus and the theater department.

Do not overlook Rollins because it does not appear on the U.S. News and World Report National rankings list. Rollins is categorized as a regional university based on the number of students who pursue professional undergraduate disciplines rather than traditional liberal arts majors. Rollins is what its motto “Fiat Lux” suggests: A shining light.

Parties? My daughter didn’t really party much in high school because our family culture doesn’t promote that kind of thing, but she has learned to party in college and it does worry me. However, I know she has friends who don’t go to the parties but have their own communities and friend groups and things to do. Its not a requirement and I don’t think the kids there shun anyone for not drinking. The sorority and fraternity groups have their own things going on but they also interact with all the other kids and the other kids with them. In fact, there are a number of kids my daughter was close to Freshman year who didn’t join Greek life at all or waited until Sophomore year. Its a Spring Rush process.

I can also say that I don’t hear any parents I know say that there is no party culture at their school. It exists everywhere.

My daughter says the small size of the classes ensures accountability in going to class. If she doesn’t attend, the teacher notices and so do her friends. She says there are plenty of days she wants to sleep in but she knows she can’t. She started off wanting a big school with lots of sports teams but said she is so glad that she is at a small school like Rollins because it keeps her motivated.

@newgirl17 Thank you so much for your insight. When I look at Rollins’ website, I see such an interconnected community. Classes, community service, study abroad–they all seem purposefully connected to each other. Besides the beautiful campus, that is what really appeals to me. Small class size is definitely a requirement for us–my daughter is coming from an rigorous private IB school with only 64 students in her graduating class. I think she would drown in a lecture hall of 300+ students and professors who have no idea who she is. She is accustomed to being able to approach her teachers for help and guidance.

Partying will certainly be a part of any college campus. My daughter may or may not end up participating, although I have a hard time imagining her becoming a heavy drinker (Naïve mom? Possibly!). She is quiet, and I think she would much prefer a Saturday night spent watching Netflix with friends to a party that requires her to converse with a lot of people. In any case, I think that Rollins’ reputation has evolved over the last many years. I may be relying too much on a rumored reputation that is not current. I just want to feel confident that she will “find her tribe,” as you say. At this point I don’t think she’s too interested in joining a sorority, but that may change after she sees what the sororities do and which of her new friends are thinking of joining. Spring rush is a great thing!

@FurBabyArchie I was surprised when I learned that my daughter was doing more than experimenting with drinking (I always knew she would try it because she is a curious, risk seeking kind of girl (usually with sports though). I can’t say I don’t worry, but I can say that the students there have each others’ back. And I’ve seen that in some of the comments her friends make to each other about ensuring that so and so got home that night or that they called an Uber rather than drive back etc. My daughter actually had a very endearing experience her first weekend when she and her roommate and a few girls from her dorm “heard” about a party “off campus” and were trying to decide whether to walk over and a sophomore guy (athlete good looking type) heard them and said, “hey, I’m in a frat so I get why you want to go but thats not the place for Freshman girls. Trust me.” So, basically, because its small the kids know each other even if they aren’t friends. My daughter is still meeting new people because, of course, every year one class graduates and another one enters, and friendships depend on the proximity of classes and interests.

As for the sororities, it is a very diverse group of houses and girls in each one. I wondered about my daughter’s sorority and whether it really was such a good fit until I actually heard a few girls laughing and walking by my on campus who I knew from pictures but who didn’t know me. When I looked up I instinctively thought Jamie was walking by, but it wasn’t Jamie – it was three of Jamie’s closest friends. I immediately knew that they were “like her” and I felt so assured that she had found the tribe she was looking for. She didn’t really have that in high school for various reasons that boil down to bad luck so I am so so thankful now.

@FurBabyARchie and don’t worry, Netflix is big everywhere. Lots of Netlix watching with friends in dorms and elsewhere. Not a ton of time but they all seem to really know how to balance work and play of all kinds. And Park Avenue window shopping is a delight (even if its usually too expensive to buy!) Make sure you stay at the Alfond Inn. The fact that this is a not for profit four star hotel funding the Alfond Scholarships kind of says it all. The Alfond family built the hotel for Rollins to give Rollins this fund and a place for its parents and alumnae to stay. Its like a mission tool. Amazing story.

Thank you newgirl for giving such a great voice to Rollins. It is a magical place! And there are a few “partiers” that don’t drink and there was little pressure to drink if one didn’t want to. It was a very accepting and inclusive crowd.

Thank you so much for all the information and insights! We are visiting Rollins on Friday for DD and the party culture was a big concern for me. DD is an introvert and I was worried about her finding her people because she’s not a partier. She and her friends are rarely out past 10:00 pm on any weekend evening. She is considering joining a sorority because she will probably be the only person from our school at all of the colleges she is considering.

@sahmkc Keep in touch and let me know if your daughter ends up at Rollins. My daughter is trying to decide between Rollins and one other school, and we hope to have a decision after we visit them both again this weekend. My hunch is that she will choose Rollins. Anyway, if both our girls decide to go there, maybe we can put them in touch with each other. That is assuming either of our introverted daughters would be brave enough to reach out to a stranger.

@FurBabyArchie My DD is a Junior is yours a Senior? We are fans of ED/EA as having at least one acceptance in hand makes life a lot easier than waiting on a regular decision. So we are visiting potential schools this spring and hope to have the field narrowed by Summer, so we can start on those applications!

My daughter is a senior. She has been accepted to Rollins already.

Go Tars! If they don’t join a sorority, I highly recommend the Rollins Outdoor Club (ROC). It is fun and social.

@chb088 Are you a current student or an alum?

See post #2. Alum. My friends children attend there now.

Ah, yes, I see that now. :slight_smile: I ask because I looked up the ROC, and it looked like it was very popular in the '90’s, experienced some waning, and then experienced a revival. Except the article I read about the revival was not dated, so I couldn’t tell how recent it was. The Outdoor Club is a fantastic recommendation and is probably much more up my daughter’s alley than a sorority. My main goal is for her to have a place to make friends and have things to do, and if that goal is fulfilled by something like the ROC instead of a sorority, that’s just fine with me! Anyway, we attended an Accepted Students Day yesterday, and although it’s not quite official yet, it looks like we’re going to have a Tar in the family!