29 May GRAND Report: Univ. of Tampa
I had the privilege to spend 2 days at the beautiful University of Tampa (U of T) in February 2020. The U of T is a private university in Florida, located on the riverfront in downtown Tampa. During my time, I met with admissions counselors, professors, and students to learn about a variety of programs. I also toured the campus, a residence hall, the chapel, and athletic facilities. This GRAND report will share the highlights of my visit, as well as updates as of May 2020.
There are 9,600 students (8,146 undergrads) who call U of T home. The freshmen class is growing by about 50 students, and they enroll about 400 transfer students each year. While many colleges have a more “local” vibe, U of T draws students from all over the world. Consequently, the average student comes from 925 miles away (not counting the 10% international student population), encompassing all 50 states. The city of Tampa has an international airport, making travel relatively easy.
U of T accepts the Common Application, the Coalition Application, and its own application. Some programs (like Music, Theatre, and Performing Arts) require an audition, and others (Athletic Training, Education, and Nursing) have a supplemental application. U of T encourages students to apply early- decisions are released on a rolling basis, and they have been known to start waitlisting students in February. In addition to transcripts and test scores, students need to submit a teacher/counselor recommendation and an essay. The application opens at the end of Junior year, and U of T accepted just under 50% of students for the Fall of 2019.
78% of classes at U of T have 30 or fewer students, with an average class size of 21. The largest lecture hall can hold 84 students, but only 3% of classes have over 50 students. 90% of faculty hold terminal degrees in their field, and professors re the only ones who teach courses- no TAs or GAs, a rarity for a school of its size. U of T has over 200 academic programs of study across 4 colleges. The most popular programs are International Business, Biology/Environmental Science, Finance, Marketing, and Criminology/Criminal Justice. U of T has strong health sciences programs, and the Nursing program boasts the highest pass rate on the NCLEX in the country. U of T has one of the few accredited Forensic Science undergraduate programs in the country and has an undergraduate Art Therapy Program. Additionally, Marine Science and Musical Theatre are strong programs.
Experiential Learning is at the heart of U of T. There are over 40 different activities, which allow students to apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Students give back to the community with service-learning opportunities, or by serving in leadership positions. Study abroad is also extremely popular. Some students choose to take a travel course, where they learn about a specific topic and then see it in action (example Comparative Criminal Justice Systems with a complement trip to Krakow, Poland). Others do a more traditional study abroad program where they are gone for a summer or a semester. Students receive twice as much clinical experience since they do not have share lab stations, and U of T awards 48 research grants a year. Additionally, U of T is also known for its academic support, especially for neurodiverse students or students with learning differences.
U of T is an NCAA D2 institution and is a member of the Sunshine State Conference, competing in 2o sports. The one exception is Men’s Ice Hockey. The program is a member of the ACHA Division 3 Southern Collegiate Hockey Conference, where they were champions in 2017. About 20% of students participate in Greek Life, and Greek Sing is a popular campus event for all students. Students also enjoy Homecoming weekend, which typically occurs in October. U of T considers the city of Tampa as its playground. Internships are common at sites like Tampa General Hospital, Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Times, NBC, the Aquarium, and more. Many of these sites are within walking distance of campus and have guaranteed spots for U of T students. Students also enjoy visiting Channelside and nearby beaches on the weekend.
The U of T wants students to love where they live and learn. 93% of first-year students live on campus, and while housing is not technically guaranteed, the school shared it has never been a problem for students to live on campus if they want. About half of all students live on campus in a given year, and there are plans for a new residence hall in the future. First-year students cannot have cars on campus, but the Tampa Downtown Partnership provides transportation to the city on the Downtowner. There are also local buses, the In-Town Trolley, TECO Line Streetcar, and the Pirate Water Taxi, in addition to Uber/Lyft/taxis. Tampa students are laid-back, focused, metropolitan, cosmopolitan, and active. They describe their school as beautiful, excellent, and worth the cost. Schedule a visit or take a virtual tour.
U of T is slightly less expensive than the average private university, with a cost of attendance of $43,910 as of May 2020. Merit aid is awarded automatically based on GPA and test scores, with the maximum award of $16k/year. 92% of students receive some sort of financial aid, so check out the net-price calculator before you scratch U of T off your list. It is also relatively easy to get an on-campus job; the Office of Admissions alone has more than 130 student workers. 49% of students graduate in 4 years (60% in 6 years). 96% of all students who apply to graduate school are admitted, and 95% of students report achieving their post-graduate goals.