Talk to me about UCF & also their engineering

My son is looking to possibly study Materials Engineering. This is only offered at about 60 schools and w/o merit offered most are $$$. We’re out of state. I got super excited tonight when I realized UCF also offers in-state waiver! Tell me about UCF/ engineering/ NMF. I’ve read through past posts so have seen what’s been offered in the past and many of the perks. If you have a student there or highly considered it tell me more?

  • Does is feel as crazy big as the numbers are on paper?
  • Do the NMF students form any sort of cohort/ cross paths with one another?
  • Does UCF not decide the NMF package until Nov?
  • I THINK UCF used to pay to bring kids down… or was this a diff FL school? Any more details on that?
  • My older NMF is at Univ Alabama. Their honors program, I don’t think, offers any perks beyond early registration. What about UCF?
  • When does UCF typically max out with their 40 OOS kids limit?
  • Should we visit now (long haul for us) or wait for some other event/ reason to come down?

@mdpmdp @FSUdad93 (UA vs UCF thoughts??) @Mombbg23

Two NMF?

Honors at Alabama offers a lot more than registration. For one, you get Ridgecrest. There’s a lot from courses to mentorship to sub groups and enrichment - but - the student has to want it. Yours might be like mine - who registered early, did nothing else and just didn’t finish. But it’s on the kid - there is more than as you say.

It doesn’t say what the UCF offer will be, but they have a contact - you can ask. I might also suggest you ask to speak to an engineering student ambassador who would likely have answers to your questions.

e’re Here to Help

We know that the college admissions process can be a bit daunting. That’s why we work one-on-one with National Merit students and parents to answer questions and help determine if UCF is the right fit.

Your contact for the National Merit Scholarship Program is Lyndsey Holland. Feel free to contact Lyndsey if you have any questions or would like to schedule a visit.

If you’d like to get the perspective of a current National Merit scholar, see our student section to read biographies of current UCF National Merit scholars.

I don’t think visit timing matters - so I’d say go when school is open and it’s best for you.

Best of luck - pretty impressive with two NMFs. Congrats.

PS - FSU lists their NMF on their website but engineering is “off campus” in a shared complex with Florida A&M - just in case you were looking at other schools.

Out-of-State Resident

Florida State University’s Out-of-State National Merit Award scholarship package has a total value of approximately $76,776 distributed across four years. It includes a 100 percent out-of-state tuition waiver, a $16,000 Vires scholarship, and a $2000 NMSC stipend (if college sponsored). This scholarship guarantees admission into FSU’s distinguished University Honors Program once National Merit Finalist standing has been confirmed. In addition, all National Merit Finalists who apply to the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) during the first-year, which connects high-achieving students with distinguished research mentors to work as research assistants, will be guaranteed admission to UROP.

USF seems to be more aggressive.

NON-Florida residents (as determined by the institution)

  • Scholarship covering your full cost of attendanceduring fall and spring semesters as determined by the USF Golden Achievement Program. This merit scholarship is for high school graduates who achieve the National Merit® Scholar Finalist designation (finalist who select USF as their first choice school with NMSC) and covers 100 percent of the cost of attendance, minus the amount that you receive from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. If you qualify for this award, it will replace all other awards from the Office of Admissions.
  • Scholarship options for study abroad(USF Passport Scholarship - $2,000)
  • A tuition waiver for your first year (30 credits) of graduate studyat USF immediately following graduation with a Baccalaureate degree*

*This award cannot be used for professional programs or those graduate programs under USF Health.


  • Automatic admittance to the Judy Genshaft Honors College and its benefits, including Honors events, small classes, individual faculty mentoring and concierge academic advising
  • On-campus housing in our Judy Genshaft Honors College Living-Learning Community (student must submit LLC application for consideration)
  • Research opportunities early in your enrollment at USF
  • Access to expert advising in the Office of National Scholars to prepare you to compete for prestigious national and international awards
  • First-year luncheon with the university leadership
  • A designated National Merit Scholars Coordinator (based on Tampa Campus) to support you throughout during your USF journey, who offers:
  • Encouragement to maximize your time and opportunities at USF as a fully-funded student
  • Individualized coaching and advising sessions (including prehealth advising) to help you determine and achieve your personal and professional goals
  • Exposure to resources, opportunities, faculty and staff to develop professional and personal skills for future career opportunities
  • Exclusive academic workshops to provide insight and guidance to prepare for life after USF
  • Exclusive social events to create a sense of community and belonging amongst scholars, and to help you make meaningful connections and life-long friendships
  • Annual fall banquet and certificate ceremony to recognize and welcome first-year National Merit Scholars
  • Annual spring banquet for sophomore through senior level National Merit Scholars to provide community and foster connections with one another across disciplines and interests

Good luck.

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I’m sorry, yes. You are correct. My son loves UA and is blessed to be a part of the Honors program. It doesn’t feel like a “program” for him. (Cohort, connection, community) He had all his intro classes completed with DE so wasn’t able to take advantage of any of the honors classes for his degree. And also wasn’t interested in most of the UH honors classes. However, he is part of Blount LLC, was able to do Blount housing and enjoys Blount - all perks b/c of Honors. Thanks for reminding me. :slight_smile: We love UA so much it makes me sad to consider a different school even… and yes, very very fortunate to likely have 2 NMF

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Yeah not a lot have cohorts but then Blount is. My daughter has at her school but most Honors are colleges with hundreds or thousands of kids in the Honors colleges but some do have the programs within. Others LLCs etc that have cohort aspects. I think FSU does.

Good luck with UCF or wherever yours goes.

S23 applied to UCF this past year and was admitted, but isn’t attending, so my info is limited. They gave great merit and I loved the campus, so I’m still a little salty about it.

I loved the campus. It was sprawling and beautiful. We visited in March. It did not seem crowded at all. Here’s what is included in their Honors College -

UCF has rolling admissions. DS used their own online application. It was a pain as the application is a bit eccentric and he needed help, but the only help was via email with a 3 week turnaround. In the end, DS needed to get his school counselor involved as UCF’s first reply email (after a 3 week wait) asked a clarifying question and then when DS replied, he got another “your email will receive a reply in 3 weeks”. The counselor got the issue fixed within 24 hours.

Last year they did not max out right away and the package was a bit late but as expected. The UCF visit is the best. The school is laid out really well. I am not crazy about local traffic. We (D2023) chose UA over them because of the 5 years as opposed to 4 and the fact that UCF does not stack Outside scholarships above COA. That meant we would lose $ every year for 4 years and then have no 5th.( Instate NMF get 5 years) OOS NMF get less $ and 4 years. It did not seem fair that they would take money from her outside scholarship every year for 4 years and then we would have to pay for summers and a possible fifth year. UCF did bring kids down in the past. I believe it has stopped but the hotel rooms might still be available for visits. UCF did assign a Professor, mentor, for each NMF in the past. My 1st NMF chose UF over UCF. My upcoming 2025 plans on UA like his current sister. Both are very good options.

I’ll try to answer these with an OOS NMF freshman son at UCF:

  • To me, UCF feels very similar to any big Division 1 state school. We toured Alabama, Michigan State, Iowa State, UIUC, etc. – sizewise, I’m not sure I would have pegged UCF as the largest of the group if I didn’t know it already.
  • For class of '22, the announcement that UCF was keeping the scholarship came in mid-November. Last year, it came in mid-October.
  • USF I believe still pays for NMSFs to come down and visit, but we weren’t offered anything for my son’s visit to UCF other than lunch (which didn’t bother us).
  • For '22 NMFs, the 40 OOS slots filled up right after the NMF dinner in late-ish March. For '23, I don’t know when (or if) it closed, but I know of one OOS student (not mine) who was able to snag a slot in early-to-mid April. So it certainly held out longer last year, although I’d still want my kid to sign on the dotted line as soon as possible.
  • My son definitely got more out of his personalized visit in January than the group visit in March, so I’d suggest going before that if your student is serious…although maybe wait until the scholarship is official for this year.
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I have freshman nmf students at UCF and also moderate the Facebook community for UCF parents of NMF. We opened it up this month to NMSF parents to ask and learn. So do a search on FB, find our group, and request to join. :slight_smile:



The 40 OOS seem to fill up right around the time of the NMF dinner that UCF hosts in March.

I would see if you can plan your visit around the NMSF dinner this fall. Last year it was mid November. Visits do fill up. They are all day affairs and only one family at a time.Contact []

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What’s the dinner and what do you mean one family at a time? Thanks

I’ve read some place about being required to take summer classes? Also in the past the NMF scholarship included an OOS waiver, but in places I’ve read that this isn’t actually the difference btwn in/out of state, but rather some (seemingly) arbitrary number?

That’s likely the Florida public rule.

From UCF:

Yes. The Florida Board of Governors requires all students who enter a Florida public university with less than 60 semester hours to complete at least nine semester hours prior to graduation by attending one or more summer sessions. University presidents or their designees may waive the application of this regulation in cases of unusual hardship to the individual.

From UF - not sure if applicable to UCF:

The State of Florida requires that undergraduate students complete 9 hours of summer credit at a Florida state university. Summer hours at a state or community college do not count toward this requirement. Please review the official university policy in the catalog.

Engineering students who complete a full-time engineering summer internship, summer research, or 6 credit hours of summer study abroad can petition to waive some or all of the 9 credit hour requirement once they have completed at least 76 credit hours. Documentation is required.

The summer requirement can also be waived for military obligations, financial hardship, or other extenuating circumstances.

Students should see their academic advisors for a supporting statement prior to submitting the petition.


Students subject to the 9 credit summer course rule may want to do it in the pre-frosh or frosh-soph summer, since the later summers are better used for major or career related jobs or internships that tend to be more accessible in the later summers. Summer sessions are also likely to emphasize offering more common and lower level courses.

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Dinner- It was a social hour to mingle with other prospective NMSF/NMF families and UCF professors/department heads/president. And then a dinner with talks/slideshow type stuff. They try to seat students with a professor or Dean from their major.

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The NMF tour is not a group tour but very individualized. And they do fill up pretty quickly.
They are full day affairs focused on just your student/family. You’ll meet with the NMF coordinator, Honors, the department for your students major, a current NMF student, and if you have other specific requests of what you want to see or who you want to meet with - labs or a club or something- ask. They do try to accommodate.

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They always say 9 credits of summer required, but everyone we know had it satisfied by their AP credits. The summer requirement showed as satisfied in their student portal before classes even began. And while these kids had a lot of AP, it definitely wasn’t 60 credits worth. Be prepared for it, but also know it may be waived.

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The non-resident fee is waived for up to (and including) 15 credits each fall and each spring.