Central Florida is an area in the sunshine state which many associate with theme parks and beaches. While it’s a hot spot for vacationers, it also makes home for thousands of students in higher education. Several top colleges and universities provide learning opportunities for students of all ages and walks of life. These institutions offer majors that can create lifelong careers such as nursing, technology, or hospitality.
So, you’ve made the decision to travel to Central Florida. Whether for work or specifically for school, which university would be best for you? We’ve taken a look at three major universities near Orlando Florida to help with your decision: University of Central Florida (UCF), Full Sail University, and Rollins College. They all offer pathways to success with varying strategies. We’ve broken down these main areas: cost, locations and access, class size, and atmosphere.
The cost of a university is decided by many factors; in state or out of state tuition, room and board, books and materials, desired major, and time of attendance to name a few. The costs of attending differs between colleges and even between stages of life.
Of the three colleges we’ve gathered here, UCF has the lowest average tuition cost with two different options- one for Florida Residents which averages under $5,000 and one for out of state residents averaging under $20,000. The gap for public colleges usually arises due to taxes that have been perceived to have been paid by in state residents for the time they have been living in a particular state. Out of state residents would not have paid those taxes, which indirectly aid public college funding, so often the costs seems perceptibly higher.
To receive in state status, residents typically must prove that they’ve been living within the state for 12-24 months depending on the college and their regulations. Documentation and long term commitment is certainly needed to prove and receive in state status.
Scholarships can assist with tuition costs, including out of state tuition as well as other costs involved with university attendance. They can assist with room and board, books and materials, and can usually be applied for online. Some scholarships are designed to entice students into certain fields or enhance a student’s talents or strengths.
For each of the colleges, the average tuition is pretty generalized and can depend vastly on a major. Medical degrees and other degrees which require longer study periods can cost more in tuition and supplies.
Full Sail and Rollin’s College are both private colleges, so the tuition is the same for in and out of state residents. For Full Sail the average tuition falls around $20,000 and Rollin’s College come in around $49,000. There is a large gap between the costs of these three institutions, but each offers vastly different degrees and career paths.
Location and Access
UCF, Full Sail and Rollin’s College are all located in Central Florida very close to Orlando’s heart and center.
UCF and Full Sail are near the Orlando International Airport and create a flat triangle with our location at the Collegiate Village Inn. We provide shuttle service between the two universities with all hour access to home sweet home.
Rollin’s college is located very close to the heart of Winter Park, Florida with close access to work places such as the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC). Many students live on campus or nearby with easy walking or driving access having recently added a new parking garage.
Each of these institutions provide learning in classroom and lab environments. Both Full Sail and UCF offer several completely online programs as well as many degree programs that offer combined online and in class environment. Rollins College has historically been an in class only environment with up to 90% of freshman living on campus.
The campus of each of these universities are incredibly different.
UCF is one of the largest universities in Florida with a widespread campus and multiple locations they have one of the largest enrollment number in the United States. Even within a single university, with an average student count of 68,000 or more students, class size can depend on major and class. Medical programs could be small and intimate working in labs and single teacher class rooms of 15 or less. General education classes tend to be larger and held in auditorium type classrooms where upwards of 50-80 students may be learning at once. Often these larger class types can have online elements to reduce time spent in classrooms and allow for private one on one attention if needed.
For Full Sail and Rollins, which have smaller campuses and more targeted degrees, class sizes and student counts are much smaller.
Full Sail’s technology geared class programs have either completely online class experiences or small classes in high tech classrooms, viewing or screening rooms, and even computer rooms. UCF’s technology programs can mirror this style of learning with degrees in robotics and aeronautics among others.
For Rollins, aimed in particular at business and communication degrees, class sizes average below 20 students. This allows for intimate teaching to enrich communication skills and team building.
Choosing a college is a big decision. Some may reach out to a college to achieve a degree at a lower cost at one school before moving on to another for a more specialized program. Some may seek out the biggest colleges in search of the classic “college life”. Others may be looking for smaller classes with more intimate learning.
Central Florida campuses, big and small, have something to offer for everyone. UCF offers larger campuses with limited on campus living situations but with numerous extra-curricular activities. Rollin’s college offers high on campus living options with sport driven extra-curricular activities. And while Full Sail doesn’t offer on campus living options, they offer fast term programs which students finish quickly and have great flexibility in learning.
Choosing a higher education depends on your financial ability, desired degree program and career path, and desired college atmosphere. While we only broke down three local Central Florida colleges, there are many other learning opportunities available such as those from technical colleges and even community colleges. Whatever you choose, we wish you luck and happy hunting graduates!