Florida is the southernmost state in the United States, where the temperatures range from beach-weather hot to mildly cold. The state also varies between coastal towns, major cities, islands, and swamp! Florida has everything a student needs, unless you love mountains and snow.
Tourists flock southeast to enjoy the beaches on the Atlantic Coast or head to the white, sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico in the northwest. Other tourists head to the amusement parks, most notably Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, and Kennedy Space Center in Orlando. Colleges and universities in Florida attract residential students. Because of the tourism industry, Florida is also home to many out-of-state and international students, which produces a diverse campus experience.
Northern Florida Universities
The northern part of Florida enjoys access to the Gulf of Mexico in the southwest and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Known for its beautiful beaches, students in north Florida enjoy what the capital of Tallahassee has to offer and the fun beach towns scattered throughout the area. Northern Florida is also home to four public universities: Florida State University, Florida A&M University, University of North Florida, and The University of Florida.
Florida State University (FSU)
Florida State University is in Florida’s capital of Tallahassee. It has over 40,000 students enrolled and the main campus spans over 400 acres. Because of the campus size, you may want a car for convenience to get around Tallahassee but can make due by walking. FSU sports teams are known as the Seminoles and participate in Division I sports.
FSU offers a variety of student life, activities, clubs, and even have suite-style and apartment-style residence halls. For more information, go to the Florida State University website.
Florida A&M University (FAMU)
Florida A&M University is located on 400 acres in Tallahassee and is known as Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. It is historically known as a black university and one of the top 5 in the United States. However, Florida A&M University accepts all ethnicities and cultures.
Florida A&M University’s campus is made of historical buildings, walking paths, and sits on the highest hill in Tallahassee. Many of the buildings are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. There are over 10,000 students that attend, and the mascot is a Rattler. They participate in NCAA Division I league and the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conferences. FAMU offers both on and off-campus housing (first-year students must live on campus with few exceptions). For more information, visit the Florida A&M University website.
University of North Florida (UNF)
University of North Florida is located in Jacksonville in the northeastern part of the state. Jacksonville is where the St. John’s River meets the Atlantic Ocean. It is one of the largest cities in Florida and less than an hour from the Georgia line and the oldest city in the United States, St Augustine. Students can even check out Miami in about 4 1/2 hours.
The University of North Florida has over 17,000 students and the campus encompasses 1,300 scenic acres which is filled with walking trails. They participate in Division 1 sports and have many organizations, clubs, and student activities year-round for students. There is also plenty of social groups, clubs, intermural sports, and student activities all year long. For more information, visit the University of North Florida website.
University of Florida (UF)
The University of Florida is located in the city of Gainesville in the northwest part of Florida, Gainsville is genuinely a college town and thrives with UNF’s presence. This town is known for its festivals that attract people from all of the Southeast. Students get to enjoy the town of Gainsville which has a variety of entertainment, restaurants, shops, and outdoor parks.
The University of Florida is large, having over 55,000 students that attend online or in person. It’s campus size is also notable, sitting on 2,000 acres with numerous structures that catch the eye. UF also competes in NCAA Division I and are known as the Gators. UF has numerous degree programs, fraternities, sororities, student clubs, organizations, and intermural sports that meet the needs of all students. Along with on and off campus options, the University of Florida also has family, and undergraduate housing. For more information, go to the University of Florida website.
Central Florida Colleges
Central Florida sits between Orlando and Tampa in central Florida. Students in central Florida can enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Gulf of Mexico on the west side and the Atlantic Ocean on the east side. Since the temperature is great year-round, students enjoy kayaking down springs, hiking, or getting their thrills at Disney, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld in Orlando, or Busch Gardens in Tampa.
University of South Florida (USF)
The University of South Florida main campus is located in Tampa. However, it also has locations in Sarasota and St.Petersburg. Tampa sits on the west side near the Gulf of Mexico and there is an abundance of activities in the area. For example, the amusement park Busch Gardens is nearby as well as beaches, waterfront shopping, restaurants, and beach clubs.
The University of South Florida has over 50,000 students. The university owns 1,900 acres of land and has a variety of on and off-campus living spaces available. USF participates in Division I sports and has an ROTC program, intermural sports, numerous organizations and clubs. For more information, go to the University of South Florida website.
University of Central Florida (UCF)
The University of Central Florida is located in Orlando. Orlando is a hotspot for tourists from all over the world, with Disney theme parks, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, International Drive, and quick access to beaches, shopping, and Miami, it does not lack entertainment options. From skyscrapers to wetlands, students have access to city life, fun, and nature. Centrally located, Orlando is a day trip away from everything. St Augustine is less than 3 hours, Cocoa or Daytona Beach is only 1 hour away, and Miami is less than a 4-hour drive.
The University of Central Florida has more students enrollments in the United States than any other, topping over 69,000 students! It opened initially to support NASA in the 1960s and has grown ever since. The campus spans over 1,600 acres and is 13 miles from downtown Orlando and only 35 miles from the Kennedy Space Center. The college’s official logo is a Pegasus, which ties into the college’s vision of “limitless possibilities.” The participate in Division I sports and are known as the Knights. It has a ton of degree programs, amenities, organizations, and activities you can expect from a university of this size. For more information, go to the University of Central Florida website.
New College of Florida
New College of Florida is located in the city of Sarasota, about an hour south of Tampa, with miles and miles of beaches. Sarasota sits on the southwestern part of Florida and is home to the Ringling Brothers Circus during the colder months of the year! The city offers everything from the Arts, to shopping, and water fun all year round! It is primarily known for cultural and art events all year long! It has sandy beaches and is a typical coastal town, with a lot of restaurants, seafood, and shopping all around!
New College of Florida was tied to the Univesity of South Florida but became independent in 2012. This smaller school that sits on 110 acres of land and has around 800 students. Its appeal is the small class sizes and individualized attention. Though small, New College of Florida still provides housing options for students. Downtown Sarasota is also accessible by bus, bike, or a 30-40 minute walk. This college offers student activities and intermural sports. For more information go visit the New College of Florida website.
Southern Florida Colleges
Miami and Fort Meyers are the big cities that most know about in Southern Florida. Southern Florida is also known for some pretty cool islands known as the Florida Keys and the Everglades! Water activities are as popular in southern Florida as the nightlight is in Miami. Temperatures are warm all year round, and there is always something to do.
Florida International University (FIU)
Florida International University (FIU) is located in Miami and considered the largest university in South Florida. Miami is a hopping place and offers a lot of city amenities and nightlife, not to mention beaches. FIU also has two state parks nearby, the Biscayne National Park and Everglades National Park.
FIU has over 56,000 students and participate in Division I sports. Their mascot is a Panther. Florida International University is located on 570 acres of lakes, nature preserves, and trees. You will need a car to get around, though pending on what program enrolled in, there are walkable paths. There are also easily accessible bus lines that many students use. They offer a variety of living quarters and student activities. For more information, go to Florida International University’s website.
Florida Atlantic University (FAU)
Florida Atlantic University sits along the Atlantic ocean in the west part of Florida. FAU’s main campus is in Boca Raton but there are satellite campuses that are sprinkled along coastal towns on the west coast as well. This is not a small university. Enrollment here is over 30,000 when counting it’s on-campus and online student body.
Like other universities of this size, it offers campus housing, a variety of degree programs, students activities, and Division 1 sports. For more information, visit the Florida Atlantic University website.
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU)
Florida Gulf Coast University sits on over 700 acres and is located in Fort Myers. Fort Myers is home to over 60,000 residents and sits in the southwest part of Florida. Enrollment at FGCU is just around 15,000 and this university offers a variety of degree programs for undergraduate and graduate students. They are known as the Eagles and participate in Division 1 sports.
The Florida Gulf Coast University campus is also home to many lakes and wildlife as the school works hard to preserve the environment in the area. FGCU has on-campus housing and many degree programs, students activities, and organizations to help all students feel at home. For more information, visit the Florida Gulf Coast University website.
Community Colleges in Florida
If you think there are a lot of college and university options in Florida, check out this list of Florida’s community college options.
- Florida State College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville
- Broward College-Weston Center, Fort Lauderdale
- Florida SouthWestern State College, Fort Myers
- The College of the Florida Keys, Key West
- Chipola College, Marianna
- Florida Gateway College, Lake City
- Eastern Florida State College, Cocoa
- Daytona State College, Daytona Beach
- Miami Dade College, Miami
- College of Central Florida Ocala Campus, Ocala
- Valencia College, Orlando
- State College of Florida- Bradenton, Bradenton
- SPC – St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, Clearwater
- North Florida College, Madison
- St Johns River State College, Palatka
- Lake-Sumter State College, Leesburg
- Gulf Coast State College, Panama City
- Palm Beach State College, Lake Worth
- Santa Fe College, Gainesville
- Seminole State College, Sanford
- Pasco-Hernando State College, New Port Richey
- Indian River State College, Fort Pierce
- South Florida State College, Avon Park
- Tallahassee Community College, Tallahassee
- Hillsborough Community College – Plant City Campus, Tampa
- Polk State College, Winter Haven