Best Colleges in Florida – Introduction
If you want to learn about the best colleges in Florida, you’re in the right place. Florida is a diverse state with stunning natural beauty and some top colleges. From a major HBCU in Florida like Florida A&M to the University of Miami, the best universities in Florida each have their own histories and key features.
There are many reasons to apply to top colleges in Florida. For many students, one factor outshines the rest: the weather. Florida’s year-long temperate climate draws students from all over the country who come looking for some sun and sand. Additionally, some of the top colleges in Florida also average some of the lowest tuition prices in the country.
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the best colleges in Florida. We’ll answer questions like:
- How many colleges are in Florida?
- What are the top public universities in Florida and the best private colleges in Florida?
- Can I attend an HBCU in Florida?
- What Florida schools top the national college rankings?
- What are the best colleges in Florida for science and the best colleges in Florida for business? How about other majors like science or nursing?
To learn more about the best colleges in Florida, read on.
What’s the best college in Florida?
According to U.S. News, the University of Florida ranks #1 when it comes to the best universities in Florida.
The University of Florida, or UF, is located in Gainesville. A beautiful city in northern Florida, Gainesville is best known for UF—that means it’s a fun college town! UF alone has 55,000 students, making it a very large university, and UF students are everywhere in Gainesville.
However, if you have your heart set on southern Florida, worry not. Many of the best colleges in Florida are located elsewhere in the state. We’ll look at some of them in more detail later.
University of Florida ranking and admissions statistics
Ranked #1 among the best colleges in Florida, UF is also the #5 best public university in the country. So, out of all the public universities in Florida, UF comes in at the top of the list. Moreover, UF is ranked as one of the best values in higher education. That means that at UF, you’re getting the best bang for your buck when it comes to your college education.
However, with a 30% acceptance rate, UF admissions is quite selective. The deadline to apply to UF is November 1; after that date, applicants will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you want to go to one of the best universities in Florida, you should aim for this first deadline.
Unlike many other schools that have gone test-optional, UF does require SAT or ACT scores. If you plan to apply to the top universities in Florida, make sure to build your testing schedule in advance. Additionally, start preparing for standardized tests early to maximize your chances of a good score.
How many colleges are in Florida?
Okay, so UF is one of the best universities in Florida. But, maybe you don’t see being a Gator in your future. In that case, what are your options? In other words, how many colleges are in Florida? Let’s learn more about other top universities in Florida.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are 126 four-year institutions in Florida. Those colleges in Florida can be divided into public universities in Florida and private colleges in Florida. Of the top universities in Florida, some are liberal arts colleges, while some are research universities.
Public universities tend to be larger than many private universities. Take UF, which has a student population of over 55,000– that’s a big school! UF is also a research university, which means that it is committed to research as a central part of its mission. If you want to pursue scientific research, research-oriented colleges in Florida are a good choice. At a research university, you’ll be able to access better labs and facilities. Additionally, you can often work with professors on research projects during your degree.
Private colleges in Florida
However, not all of the best universities in Florida are public. In fact, some of the top universities in Florida are private colleges, like the University of Miami. The University of Miami is also a very large research university. However, like other private colleges in Florida, its tuition is higher than that of a comparable public university in Florida.
You can also see small private institutions like Rollins College ranking high within both Florida and the whole South. In fact, the Rollins College ranking in the region is #1. So if you’re eyeing the best colleges in Florida but want a small school, you have options.
Again, if you’re looking for the best universities in Florida, you’ll have plenty of choices. If the average tuition of private colleges in Florida isn’t feasible for you, don’t sweat. There is no shortage of top colleges in Florida that can meet your needs.
What colleges and universities are in Florida?
As stated above, there are 126 four-year colleges in Florida. That’s a pretty overwhelming number, so let’s review some colleges in Florida before we discuss all of the best universities in Florida.
The University of Florida is the most prominent college in Florida. This university is known for its school spirit and culture. UF’s football team, the Florida Gators, is one of the most popular college football teams out there. If you’re looking to tailgate, UF could be the place for you. Plus, the Gators are actually the namesake of a popular sports drink—see if you can guess which one!
UF vs. FSU
When thinking of the best universities in Florida, don’t confuse UF with Florida State University, located in Tallahassee. Florida State is known for its film program, the College of Motion Picture Arts. Critically acclaimed directors like Barry Jenkins attended this program, making it one of the best colleges in Florida for film.
As another one of the best colleges in Florida, the University of Miami is known for its stunning campus in Miami’s city center. The University of Miami ranking is #3 in the state according to U.S. News. You’ll be surrounded by palm tree-lined paths, modern architecture, and even a botanical garden. UMiami is one of the best colleges in Florida, and it certainly has one of the best campuses in the state.
At the same time, some other top colleges in Florida are within the State University system. This system includes 12 different colleges statewide.
Top 10 Best Universities in Florida
Most importantly, as you consider where to go to college, you should think about college location, college setting, college size, and college rankings. If you’re set on your college location being Florida, you should know what you can expect in the Sunshine State.
Now that we’ve broadly discussed some colleges in Florida, let’s dive into a list of the top universities in Florida.
According to the U.S. News and World Report, these are the top 10 best universities in Florida.
Top 10 Universities in Florida
1. University of Florida
You’ve heard of UF already, but let’s talk more about the leader of the top colleges in Florida. The University of Florida is located in northern Florida, in Gainesville. Its 30% acceptance rate means that you have almost a 1 in 3 chance of getting accepted if you apply. Impressively, UF has more than 300 undergraduate and graduate degree options. Additionally, it has 16 academic colleges like the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the Warrington College of Business.
2. Florida State University
Ranking at #2 of the best colleges in Florida is Florida State University. FSU is a public university like the University of Florida. FSU admissions is classified as “more selective,” accepting 37% of applicants. Alongside its renowned arts programs, FSU is also a leading research university for students looking to pursue STEM degrees. Additionally, FSU is home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, which holds a world record for possessing the most powerful magnets on earth. It has the #1 graduation rate among public universities in Florida and is rated #1 best value among Florida public universities.
3. University of Miami
One of many private universities in Florida, the University of Miami ranked #3 of the best colleges in Florida. If you’re looking to attend school in south Florida in an exciting and diverse city, UMiami could be the place for you. UMiami’s acceptance rate is 28%, slightly lower than the two best universities in Florida. UMiami is known for its party scene and athletics as well as for academics. In other words, if you like to work hard and play hard, UMiami may be a great choice.
4. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida ranking is #4 out of the best colleges in Florida. USF’s acceptance rate is 49%, meaning that almost half of all applicants get accepted. If you want to study in south Florida but UMiami’s acceptance rate seems daunting, consider USF. Located in the Tampa region, USF is a public research university known for high-impact global research. In fact, it’s one of only 3 Preeminent Research Universities in Florida as designated by the Florida Board of Governors.
5. University of Central Florida
First, UCF was ranked among the top 20 colleges for innovation by the U.S. News and World Report. The University of Central Florida ranking is #5 of the best colleges in Florida. UCF has an acceptance rate of 36%, similar to FSU. From its location in Orlando, UCF is not very far from two of America’s most famous amusement parks.
6. Florida International University
If you’re set on studying in Miami, consider balancing your college list with FIU as well as UMiami. The Florida International University ranking is #6 of the top colleges in Florida. FSU has also been designated the fastest-rising college in the country. Also located in Miami, FIU is a top research university with an acceptance rate of 64%. When planning applications, it’s wise to add a match or safety school in addition to reach schools like UMiami.
7. Florida A&M University
Also located in Tallahassee, FAMU is ranked the top public HBCU. FAMU has an acceptance rate of 35%, making it a more selective university. Florida A&M University, ranked #7 of the best colleges in Florida, is an HBCU in Florida—a historically Black college or university.
8. Florida Institute of Technology
Number 8 on our best colleges in Florida list, Florida Tech considers itself “Florida’s STEM University.” Therefore, if you’re looking for a research-driven, high-tech college experience, look no further than Florida Tech. Located in Melbourne on the East Coast of Florida, Florida Tech brags of 72-degree and sunny average daily weather.
9. Keiser University
Ranked #9 out of the best colleges in Florida, Keiser University is one of the largest independent career universities in Florida. Keiser is based in Fort Lauderdale but has campuses throughout the state. Keiser’s acceptance rate is 96%, making it a good safety to add to your college list.
10. Nova Southeastern University
Coming in at #10 on our best colleges in Florida list, Nova Southeastern University has an acceptance rate of 93%. Nova Southeastern is located in Fort Lauderdale/Davie, close to beaches and downtown Fort Lauderdale. Many students at Nova are studying health and related fields, including biology and biomedical sciences.
Colleges in Florida Map
Now that we’ve seen the top 10 best colleges in Florida, you might wonder where all these schools are located. Let’s dig a little deeper into where the best colleges in Florida call home on our colleges in Florida map.
On our colleges in Florida map, you’ll see many different regions. North Florida is home to schools like the University of Florida, Florida State University, and FAMU. FSU and FAMU are located on the panhandle, the region of Florida that extends west over the gulf of Mexico.
Next, in central Florida, we find some of the best colleges like the University of Central Florida and Florida Tech. Central Florida is home to cities like Orlando (read: theme parks), Daytona Beach, and Melbourne.
Finally, at the bottom of our colleges in Florida map is South Florida, containing Broward, Miami-Dade, and Monroe counties. Here we find some of the best colleges in Florida like the University of Miami, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida.
HBCU in Florida
So far, we’ve seen some of the best colleges in Florida overall, covering a range of regions and experiences. But, what if you’re looking for an HBCU in Florida? You’re in luck, as there are four in the state. Before we look at them, however, what exactly is an HBCU?
HBCU stands for Historically Black College or Universities. HBCUs were founded on the belief that all students, including African American students, deserve an education. Most HBCUs were founded at a time when segregation was still practiced in the United States. In other words, Black students were not given the same educational opportunities as white students. Today, HBCUs are sought after by Black students as well as those who want to preserve the legacy of educational access for all.
Four HBCUs in Florida
1. Bethune-Cookman University
This HBCU was founded in Daytona Beach in 1904 by Dr. Mary Mcleod Bethune. Originally a school for Black women, today Bethune-Cookman University serves a co-ed student body numbering about 2,500. B-CU has an acceptance rate of 100% and is known for its small university feel, personalized teaching, and HBCU sensibility.
2. Edward Waters College
Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Edward Waters College is not only the oldest HBCU in Florida, but also the oldest private educational institution in Florida. The academics at Edward Waters College are organized into three programs: Business Administration and Computer and Information Science; Communications, Arts, and General Studies; and Natural, Social, and Behavioral Sciences. It’s categorized as a selective school with a 57% acceptance rate.
3. Florida A&M University
You’ve already heard a bit about FAMU. Even so, let’s take another look at this HBCU that qualifies as one of the best colleges in Florida. FAMU has a 35% acceptance rate and was founded in 1887. FAMU has 14 colleges and schools and offers 54 bachelor’s degrees.
4. Florida Memorial University
Also known as FMU, Florida Memorial University is the only HBCU in South Florida. FMU has an acceptance rate of 38% and serves under 1,000 students at its Miami campus. It prides itself on its aviation management programs as well as criminology and education. FMU is ranked the #45 college in the south by U.S. News.
Public Universities in Florida
As discussed, there are many colleges to go to in Florida. In your college search, think about whether you would like to attend one of the public universities or private colleges in Florida. Indeed, some of the best colleges in Florida are public universities in Florida, but how does public compare to private?
Well, public universities are state-run universities that receive government funding. In general, they often charge lower tuition than private universities and even lower tuition for in-state residents. Private universities are often—but not always—smaller in size. They also generally cost more to attend.
Some examples of public universities in Florida include Florida State University, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida.
Considering the cost of college
If you’re wondering how to pay for college, public universities often offer more merit-based scholarships than private universities. While some wealthy private universities might have better need-based scholarships, public universities will woo strong applicants with scholarship money. Public universities also cost less to attend in general, especially if you are an in-state applicant.
Although recent years have seen steep rises in tuition, public universities remain less expensive than private institutions on average. After all, the most expensive institutions in the country are all private colleges.
How many public universities are there in Florida?
We’ve covered how many colleges there are in Florida. However, this includes both public universities and private colleges in Florida. So, how many public universities specifically are there in Florida?
Florida is home to 40 public universities. However, when people talk about public universities in Florida, they generally mean the State University system.
The State University system in Florida is a set of 12 public universities across the state of Florida. These universities contain some of the best colleges in Florida and have all the benefits of a public university education. Namely, tuition costs are lower—especially for in-state applicants—and many are large research universities. Some of the public best colleges in Florida are Florida State University, Florida International University, and the University of South Florida.
Florida State vs. Florida College systems
Not to be confused with the State University System, the Florida College system makes up the other 28 public universities in Florida. Previously the Florida Community College system, the Florida College system contains community colleges as well as traditional 4-year institutions. Community colleges have many perks, including part-time options to improve accessibility for non-traditional students—for example, caretakers and working people.
As public schools, both the State University system and the Florida College System are different from private colleges in Florida. For more of the best colleges in Florida and the best public universities in Florida, read on to our next section.
What are the 12 public universities in Florida?
Public Universities in Florida
1. Florida A&M University
FAMU, as we have previously discussed, is one of the best colleges in Florida. FAMU is an HBCU with an acceptance rate of 35%. It is located in Tallahassee, and FAMU is ranked the top public HBCU.
2. Florida Atlantic University
The acceptance rate of Florida Atlantic University is 78%. FAU spans 110 miles of Southeast Florida’s coast and offers a wide variety of academic programs, totaling over 120 majors. Furthermore, they offer thousands of research opportunities, combined degree programs, and internship placements.
3. Florida Gulf Coast University
Located in beautiful Fort Myers, FGCU has an acceptance rate of 89% and serves over 16,000 students. In addition to online options, FGCU has a strong residential campus culture, especially around its NCAA Division I teams. Additionally, FGCU emphasizes career development and wants its students to leave campus prepared to enter the workforce.
4. Florida International University
U.S. News has Florida International University ranking #2 in the country for undergraduate international business. This public university is unmistakably international, with 142 countries represented among its 56,000 students. Additionally, it’s a top public research university with opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.
5. Florida Polytechnic University
Florida Polytechnic University was ranked the #1 public school in the region and in the top 30 public university engineering programs. It has a 54% acceptance rate, making it a selective university. Florida Poly is located in Lakeland, Florida, a city east of Tampa known for its—you guessed it—many lakes.
6. Florida State University
Florida State University is a public university. FSU is classified as “more selective,” with an admissions rate of 37%. Alongside its renowned arts programs, FSU is also a leading research university for students looking to pursue STEM degrees. FSU is located in Tallahassee, in the Florida panhandle.
7. New College of Florida
Tired of all of these old colleges in Florida? Give the New College of Florida a try! Jokes aside, the New College of Florida in Sarasota is ranked the #5 public liberal arts college in the nation. Unlike many other schools on this list, this is a small liberal arts college rather than a large research institution. With around 600 students and a 74% acceptance rate, New College offers a private liberal arts college experience for a public university price.
8. University of Central Florida
With one of the lower acceptance rates on this list (36%) this public university is a reach for many students. The University of Central Florida ranking is #5 of the best colleges in Florida. It has the second-largest college size in America, with nearly 60,000 students altogether. With more than 220 degree programs, UCF offers a wide variety of majors for its students. Plus, from your dorm in sunny Orlando, it’s just a short bus ride to Disney World!
9. University of Florida
Located in Gainesville, one of north Florida’s best college towns, UF is certainly one of the best colleges in Florida. UF has an acceptance rate of 30%, also on the low end of the public university spectrum. Accordingly, it offers a competitive education for its undergraduate and postgraduate students.
10. University of North Florida
If you’re looking for a different public school in north Florida, check out UNF. UNF’s acceptance rate is 77%, making it a good balance for another north Florida public school like UF. This Jacksonville university offers Division I athletics, small class sizes, and pre-career advising and preparation.
11. University of South Florida
You’ve heard of the University of North Florida, now it’s time for the University of South Florida! USF has an acceptance rate of 49% and is located in Tampa. The University of South Florida ranking is #4 out of the best colleges in Florida. If you’re looking for the quintessential spring break college setting year-round, this Tampa school might be a good fit.
12. University of West Florida
The University of West Florida is located in Pensacola, Florida. UWF has an acceptance rate of 41% and is a selective university. A sports champion across Florida, UNF leads the Gulf South Conference in all-time championships and all-sports trophies.
What’s the number 1 university in Florida?
So, what’s the best college in Florida?
Out of all the best colleges in Florida, the best university is the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. According to the U.S. News and World Report, the University of Florida ranking is #1 within Florida. Moreover, UF is ranked #29 of the best universities nationally. It has an acceptance rate of 30%, reflecting those prestigious college rankings.
Again, UF is located in Gainesville, which is known as one of the best college towns in the country. The University of Florida is also one of the best colleges in Florida for business. The average GPA at UF is 4.4, which is very competitive.
Choosing a school
If you’re set on going to college in Florida but don’t know if UF is for you, don’t worry. There will be other colleges that match your preferences. Across Florida, there are many other options for college. From UMiami in south Florida to FSU in the panhandle, Florida has many fantastic colleges. If you’re committed to a selective school but not necessarily Florida, check out our list of America’s best colleges.
If the University of Florida is already your dream school, though, we’ve got you covered. We have a general guide on how to get into UF as well as a supplemental essay guide.
So, if you want to get into the best colleges in Florida—or any state—take advantage of our resources. Whether you’re a first generation student who loves literature or a future engineer with a passion for basketball, we can help. Visit our website for articles and webinars designed to guide you as you build your college list, apply to schools, receive your first acceptance letter, and finally enroll in your dream school.
Which school is better, FSU or UF?
In the last section, we answered the question: what’s the best college in Florida? We learned that the University of Florida is U.S. News’s highest-ranked Florida school.
According to U.S. News, the University of Florida ranking is #29 nationally. Meanwhile, the Florida State University ranking is #55. So, it stands to reason that the University of Florida is a better school than Florida State University—that is, if you judge by rankings alone. Still, FSU is one of the top 10 best universities in Florida.
However, rankings are not the be-all, end-all of college decisions. Florida State University is still one of the best colleges in Florida. The school also has a number of strong programs, which we’ll discuss later in this guide.
Overall, when choosing a college, you should find the school that best fits your needs financially, socially, and academically. FSU might be that school. Or, you might fall in love with another one of the best colleges in Florida or another state.
For example, if you’re looking for a liberal arts college, Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida might be for you. The Rollins College ranking is #1 among liberal arts colleges in Florida as well as regionally in the South, according to U.S. News.
If you’re considering Rollins, you’ve likely thought about the size of your future college. Many Florida public schools are rather large. If college size matters to you and a larger school seems overwhelming, then a school like Rollins—with just over 2,000 undergraduates—might be a better fit.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the University of Florida’s rankings and learn what makes it one of the best universities in Florida.
What is the University of Florida ranked?
Previously, we discussed that the University of Florida is among the top universities in Florida and one of the highest-ranked schools in the nation. Now, we’ll learn more about these rankings and what they mean. We’ll also consider how to use the University of Florida rankings to help inform your decision to apply.
First, there are several ranking systems in the United States. The most trusted and popular ones include U.S. News, Forbes, Wall Street Journal, and Niche.
Each ranking system uses its own combination of factors, data, and weightings to determine college rankings. So, you should understand how each ranking system works and use it intentionally in your decision-making process.
Below is a chart that breaks down how the University of Florida is ranked nationally by each of these systems. On the right is a list of factors that most influence the ratings according to that system.
University of Florida Ranking Comparison
|Ranking System||University of Florida Ranking||Key Factors (in order of weighting)|
|U.S. News||#29||Graduation and retention rates, social mobility, graduate performance, undergraduate academic reputation, faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, alumni giving, graduate indebtedness|
|Forbes||#26||Alumni salary, student debt, return on investment, student graduation rate, Forbes American Leaders List, retention rate, academic success|
|Wall Street Journal||#54||Resources, student engagement, student outcomes, environment|
|Niche||#41||Acceptance rate, professor grade, student surveys on academics, admissions yield, diversity|
From this information, we reaffirm that UF is one of the best universities in Florida. And, according to trusted sources, it is also one of the best colleges in the US.
We can also see that it ranks highest according to Forbes, which weighs alumni salary and student debt higher than other rankings do. If you hope to ensure that you graduate with manageable debt and a solid salary, then UF might be the school for you.
Even more, you’ll get an excellent education at the University of Florida. UF has no shortage of strong academic programs. For competitive students, UF has additional enrichment opportunities including the Innovation Academy and UF Honors program. Applicants can indicate interest in these programs as part of their freshman application.
The University of Florida college rankings are also high because of its graduate programs. The Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and the Warrington College of Business offer some of the best graduate degrees in the nation. We’ll learn more about these programs in future sections.
For now, let’s shift our attention to college selectivity. We know that UF is one of the best colleges in Florida, but which Florida school is the hardest to get into?
What is the hardest college to get into in Florida?
By now, we’ve explored some of the top universities in Florida, including Florida State and the University of Florida. However, the most selective school in the state of Florida is actually the University of Miami.
UMiami is one of the best private colleges in Florida. Located in Coral Gables, Florida, the University of Miami’s undergrad enrollment is over 12,000 students. According to U.S. News, the University of Miami ranking is #55 nationally. The university ranks third in the state of Florida, after the University of Florida and Florida State University.
University of Miami Acceptance Rate
UMiami is the most selective college in Florida with an acceptance rate of 28%. This is lower than the University of Florida’s acceptance rate of 30% and Florida State’s acceptance rate of 37%. However, don’t let UMiami’s selectivity stop you from applying.
The University of Miami, University of Florida, and Florida State University are all among the best universities in Florida. They are also all fairly selective schools. As such, they will likely be a reach or target school on your college list.
Next, you might be wondering, which schools in Florida could be a safety school for me? Let’s learn more about the easiest colleges to get into in Florida.
What is the easiest college to get into in Florida?
Getting into college is a challenging process no matter where you apply. However, some colleges in Florida are easier to get into than others. Schools with over 90% acceptance rates are more likely to be safety schools on your college list. While the universities below may not be ranked among the best universities in Florida, they can still be a worthwhile addition to your list.
Here are some colleges in Florida with acceptance rates above 90%:
Stetson has an acceptance rate of 92%. The private school’s main undergraduate campus is located in DeLand, Florida. Applicants can apply using the CommonApp or Stetson’s shortened application, which does not require an essay or an application fee.
Florida International University
FIU has an acceptance rate of 99%. The public university is located in Miami, Florida and has over 40,000 undergrads. Nationally, the Florida International University ranking is #151, according to U.S. News. The university has also been recognized as one of the top colleges in Florida for first-generation college students.
Broward College, also located in Miami, has a 100% acceptance rate. The public university is located in Fort Lauderdale and has an undergrad enrollment of around 30,000 students. Broward offers a range of degrees including certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees.
With safety schools on your list, you’re likely to be admitted to multiple schools. Choosing the right school for you isn’t easy. Plus, for many students, cost is a key factor. So, let’s take a look at some of the cheapest colleges in Florida.
Cheapest colleges in Florida
College is an expensive investment in your future. Even more, tuition is rising every year. As a result, you and your family may wonder how to pay for college. One of the most straightforward ways to avoid too much debt is to attend one of the cheapest colleges in Florida.
The cheapest colleges in Florida tend to be public universities. Public schools often cost under $10,000 a year with financial aid. Comparatively, the average cost of college in America is $35,551. So, public schools in Florida can be an incredible bargain, especially if you are a Florida resident.
If, however, you live outside Florida and wish to attend a Florida university, you will have to pay out-of-state tuition, which can be more than triple the cost. Out-of-state tuition at public colleges in Florida ranges from $18,000 to $24,000. Still, scholarships and financial aid can mitigate high tuition costs.
Scholarships for college
In fact, many types of scholarships and grants can lessen the cost of attending the best colleges in Florida. Many top colleges in Florida offer merit scholarships for exceptional students.
Merit scholarships recognize academic achievement. For example, the University of Central Florida offers the Bright Futures merit scholarship for Florida residents. Athletic scholarships, by contrast, recognize top sports players. Finally, need-based grants (or financial aid) provide funds to families whose economic circumstances make paying for college a heavy burden.
However, what if you are more concerned about finding the best universities in Florida for your intended major? Next, we’ll learn about the top colleges in Florida by major.
Top Colleges in Florida – By Major
For many students, the process of finding a dream school starts with learning which of the best colleges in Florida offer strong programs in their major. It is important to note that you do not need to be sure about a major before you attend college. But, if you are passionate about a field of study, you might look for the best universities in Florida that also offer you a great education in that field.
Luckily, CollegeAdvisor has extensive resources to help you find the best universities in Florida for your major. In the following sections, we’ll explore the best colleges in Florida for business, science, medicine, and nursing, according to Niche.
Best colleges in Florida for Science
An undergraduate major in science can prepare you for a career in medicine, research, teaching, and more. In this section, we’ll take a look at the best colleges in Florida for science, in order of ranking:
1. University of Florida
Earlier, we learned that the University of Florida-Gainesville is the top-ranked college in Florida. UF is also one of the best colleges in Florida for science. Keep in mind that UF has an acceptance rate of 30% and is a large school, home to over 35,000 undergrads. Nearly 7,000 students major in agriculture and life sciences, and 10,000 major in engineering. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences boasts 12 National Academy of Science members, which include some of the nation’s top science researchers.
2. University of Miami
The University of Miami is the most selective college among the top universities in Florida. Located in Coral Gables, UMiami has an acceptance rate of 28%. It is a large private school with 12,000 undergrads. The College of Arts and Sciences offers several five-year accelerated BS/MS programs in biology, chemistry, and computer science. These programs can give undergrads a jump start in completing their graduate degrees and set them up for success in their careers. The school also offers honors programs that allow undergraduates to gain hands-on research experience.
3. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida has several campuses, but its main campus is located in Tampa, Florida. The university has over 33,000 undergrads and an acceptance rate of 49%. Nearly 12% of undergrads major in biological and biomedical sciences. The university’s College of Arts and Sciences focuses on research that promotes healthy living and well-being around the globe.
4. Florida State University
Florida State University is located in the northern Florida city of Tallahassee. The school’s acceptance rate is 37%, and its enrollment sits at 33,000 undergrads. More than a third of FSU’s undergrads come from the College of Arts and Sciences. Furthermore, the CAS offers over 200 degrees and houses 14 programs and institutes.
5. University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida is located in Orange County, Florida, not far from Orlando. With an acceptance rate of 45%, UCF is a selective public school. UCF is the largest public school in Florida with nearly 60,000 undergraduate students. 22% of UCF undergrads pursue science degrees at the sprawling research university. If you’re interested in computer science, the University of Central Florida ranking is #1 in the country for video game design programs, according to the Princeton Review.
Interested in being pre-med in college? Keep reading to learn about the best colleges in Florida to study medicine.
What is the best medical school in Florida?
Above, we learned about the best universities in Florida for science. However, science is a broad field. What if you are interested in becoming a doctor or other medical professional?
The University of Florida is the best medical school in Florida, ranked #37 nationally by U.S. News. However, if you want to attend the best medical school in Florida, you should use your undergraduate years to prepare.
In this section, we’ll look more specifically at the best colleges in Florida for pre-medicine, in order of ranking by Niche.
1. University of Florida
The University of Florida-Gainesville is the top-ranked college in Florida. Thanks to UF, Gainesville is often rated one of the best college towns in America. Additionally, the University of Florida’s College of Medicine is ranked #16 of the top public research institutes. With a top college of medicine attached to the university, pre-med students have access to some of the best learning opportunities and resources in the nation.
2. University of Miami
The University of Miami is Florida’s most selective school. Additionally, it boasts an envious college location just south of Miami. Miami is one of America’s most diverse and culturally rich cities. As such, attending UMiami gives you access to an exciting learning experience both on and off campus. UMiami has strong pre-health advising for students, which includes a mentoring program and a post-baccalaureate program. Post-baccalaureate programs offer students who have finished their bachelor’s the opportunity to deepen their science knowledge and become more competitive applicants for health professional programs.
3. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is located in Tampa, Florida, giving it an urban college setting. USF’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a pre-health professions track that guides students to take the right courses for medical school admission. They also offer a post-baccalaureate program. For especially driven students, CAS has a special 7-year dual BS/MD program. This program allows competitive undergrads to be automatically admitted to medical school along with their undergrad admission.
4. Florida State University
Located in northern Florida, Florida State’s pre-med programs are supported by its medical school. The Tallahassee-based college of medicine has a number of programs for pre-med students. These include a summer institute, an honors program, and an interdisciplinary medical sciences BS degree. Attending FSU will open doors to an array of learning opportunities in the medical field.
5. University of Central Florida
If you’re looking for a quality pre-med education close to one of Florida’s most exciting metropolises, look no further than the University of Central Florida. Located near Orlando, UCF is a well-resourced institution that offers strong pre-health advising. The UCF College of Medicine and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences are research-intensive institutions that support nearly 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The College of Medicine is also the first medical school in the nation to offer full-tuition scholarships to an entire class of students. The University of Central Florida ranking is #87 among medical schools nationwide.
Another common field of study for those interested in medicine is nursing. Next, we’ll explore the top universities in Florida for nursing.
What college has the best nursing program in Florida?
Nurses are some of the most in-demand professionals in the United States. Furthermore, nursing is a field where bright minds get to use their skills to help others. For that reason, pursuing a career in nursing is both challenging and rewarding. It also offers strong prospects for employment.
Keep reading for information about the best colleges in Florida for studying nursing, in order of ranking by Niche:
1. University of Miami
By now, we’ve established that the University of Miami is one of the best colleges in Florida. Unsurprisingly, its nursing programs are also some of the best. The School of Nursing and Health Studies boasts its unique Simulation Hospital for Advancing Research and Education (S.H.A.R.E.). Thanks to their quality education, 97% of nursing students at UMiami pass their qualifying exams on the first try.
2. University of Florida
The University of Florida College of Nursing is located in the picturesque college setting of Gainesville, Florida. Undoubtedly, it is one of the best colleges in Florida for nursing. The UF College of Nursing is consistently ranked in the top ten percent of all degree-granting schools of nursing in the nation. It also boasts an online nursing bachelor’s degree and several advanced degrees master’s and doctorates.
3. Nova Southeastern University
Nova Southeastern University is a private research institution located in Davie, Florida, not far from Fort Lauderdale. The school has 6,600 undergrads. NSU has a 93% acceptance rate, meaning that it is not very selective. Still, Nova Southeastern is one of the top colleges in Florida. Furthermore, its nursing programs are still some of the strongest in the state. Undergraduates can earn a B.S. or B.S.N. from Nova Southeastern, and the school’s master’s and doctoral programs contribute to its outstanding reputation.
4. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida in Tampa is one of the best colleges in Florida. The USF College of Nursing has several special opportunities as well. For example, the Veteran to VBSN nursing track provides an accelerated pathway to former army and air force members who wish to become nurses. This is one reason why the University of South Florida ranking is #61 amongst the best colleges for veterans. If you’re a future nurse considering working with cancer patients, the University of South Florida’s partnership with the Moffit Cancer Center might be for you. Housed within the USF College of Nursing, the partnership makes scholarships, externships, and mentorship programs available to undergrads.
5. University of Central Florida
Last but certainly not least, the University of Central Florida’s College of Nursing offers an array of enrichment opportunities for future nurses. From study abroad to community involvement, research to simulation experiences, nursing students at UCF are surrounded by exciting prospects. The college’s location in Orlando and massive student body only add to the positive energy of attending UCF.
Up until now, we’ve explored the vast amount of opportunities to study science, medicine, and nursing at the best universities in Florida. In the next section, we’ll switch gears and take a look at opportunities for the future business leaders of America at the best colleges in Florida.
Best colleges in Florida for Business
Business is the most popular major among undergrads in American universities. Without a doubt, a business major opens a number of career paths, from investment banking to financial advising to product management.
There are many options for studying business at the best colleges in Florida. Here, we’ll share more about the best colleges in Florida for studying business, ranked in order according to Niche:
1. University of Florida
We’ve mentioned the University of Florida several times in this list, and for good reason. The University of Florida in Gainesville has strong programs in almost every major academic field. The Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida is one of the best colleges for business in the nation. In fact, UF’s undergraduate business programs rank #13 in the U.S. according to U.S. News. The programs in accounting, real estate, marketing, and finance are among the most well-regarded.
2. Florida State University
Florida State University is a competitor for the top spot amongst the best colleges in Florida. Its College of Business is no different. With top-ranked undergrad programs in risk management, real estate, marketing, and accounting, the Tallahassee school offers a world-class education at a public school price. Moreover, FSU College of Business offers a number of study abroad programs and internships that expand students’ intellectual and cultural horizons.
3. University of Miami
As the only private school on this list, the University of Miami’s education comes with a heftier price tag. However, with a commitment to sustainability education and global, hands-on learning experiences, you might find an investment in UMiami is worth the cost. Indeed, the Herbert School of Business offers unique opportunities for experiential learning, including a student-managed investment fund and business plan competition.
4. Florida International University
Looking for a more affordable, accessible education in Miami? You might consider Florida International University. With an acceptance rate of 99%, FIU is much easier to get into than other top colleges in Florida. Still, its College of Business is among the 5% of elite business schools worldwide accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Furthermore, the Florida International University ranking in international business is #2 in the nation, according to U.S. News.
5. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida’s Muma College of Business is another top-ranked business school among the top universities in Florida. In addition to offering a high-quality online program, the school has special programs including ethics, corporate mentorship, and living-learning communities. The University of South Florida ranking is #38 for social mobility. The many options it provides for career advancement through business likely contribute to this ranking.
All five of these schools are medium to large. However, if you prefer a smaller college size, Rollins College ranking for its business program also makes it one of the best colleges in Florida for business.
It’s clear there is no shortage of great programs and schools in Florida. From science to business, we’ve explored the many options at the best colleges in Florida. But now, how do you decide where to apply?
Which college should I go to in Florida?
Choosing a college is an incredibly personal choice. Though we have shared college rankings throughout this piece, a college choice is best made by considering a variety of factors that matter to you. For example, you might weigh college location more heavily than cost. You might also start by looking at the best colleges in Florida for your specific major. There are many approaches to making a choice. Undoubtedly, what matters is that the choice is an informed one that feels authentic to you.
There are many incredible colleges in Florida. Florida has many colleges in large cities with rich cultural heritage, beachside access, world-renowned programs, and affordable price tags. The MyFutureFlorida tool was created by the state university system to help students learn more about the best universities in Florida and access resources for college planning.
Best Colleges in Florida – Final Thoughts
In this article, we introduced you to the best colleges in Florida. We explored just how many colleges there are in Florida. Moreover, we learned about the best public and private universities, as well as the easiest and hardest ones to get into. We also explored which colleges are the cheapest to attend and which HBCUs are in Florida. Through the colleges in Florida map, we saw where the best colleges in Florida are located. Lastly, we looked at the best colleges in Florida for nursing, science, and business.
At this point, you might be curious about how to get into one of the best universities in Florida, like the University of Florida. CollegeAdvisor has several free guides with information about how to meet all the application requirements, including how to write excellent supplemental essays.
Researching admissions requirements
You might also be wondering what kind of SAT scores or GPA you need to get into one of the best colleges in Florida. Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer to such a question. Being admitted to one of the best colleges in Florida comes down to putting together an application that reflects your strengths.
Our team can offer you customized support to ensure your college list and application process go smoothly. Working with our advisors can help give you the best odds of being admitted to one of the best colleges in Florida. We’re here to help you, every step of the way.
This article was written by advisor Rachel Kahn and senior advisor Courtney Ng. Looking for more admissions support? Click here to schedule a free meeting with one of our Admissions Specialists. During your meeting, our team will discuss your profile and help you find targeted ways to increase your admissions odds at top schools. We’ll also answer any questions and discuss how CollegeAdvisor.com can support you in the college application process.