Visited by Beth Cassie
As we pulled up to campus on a chilly February morning, I was surprised to see a water skier on Lake Hollingsworth at 7:30 a.m., but once I learned that Florida Southern has top-ranked men’s and women’s water ski teams, this made sense.
I had breakfast with two students: a sophomore lacrosse player from Long Island whose exposure to hands-on learning in his first introductory biology class at FSC helped him find his passion for research, and a freshman Musical Theater major from Florida taking advantage of FSC’s brand new dance studio and was auditioning to be a parade dancer at Disney for the summer. These two students had become friends through the Southern Ambassadors program—and they couldn’t have been more different from each other.
Academics. Engaged learning is the hallmark of FSC; students regularly do research with professors. FSC guarantees that students will graduate in four years, have an internship in their major, and study abroad at low or no extra cost. FSC is “outcomes focused” and is committed being a great investment for families.
Marine biology is popular because of the lakeside location plus the ability to reach either coast within one hour. Most popular majors: accounting, business administration, broadcast, print & online journalism, biology, economics, education, marine biology, nursing, and psychology.
Education majors get the added bonus of having a pre-school and The Roberts Academy, an elementary school that focuses on dyslexia and LD students, right on campus.
New facilities on campus include a state-of the art dance studio, a new business building, and construction on new admissions building.
Student body. Of the 2,200 students, approximately 60% are from Florida; the male/female ratio is 40/60. The students we observed were attractive and clean cut.
Student life. A friendly vibe permeates the campus. The social life is inclusive, Greek life exists (fall rush), and is focused on philanthropy. Fraternity parties are open to everyone.
Students longboard across campus. The campus is across the street from a lake, golf courses are everywhere, and there’s a lovely pool. The programming committee organizes movies by the pool or in the gardens. A student comedy group of sixteen students drew a crowd of 250 for their last late night show.
FSC is D2 and competes in the Sunshine State Conference. The Mocs have won 28 NCAA National Championships. Basketball is the biggest spectator sport, and many students are involved in intramural sports.
Student are required to live on campus all four years. The housing we saw was very spacious and well maintained.
Location. Town is a bike ride (or walk) away. Orlando and Disney World are about 45 minutes away and Clearwater Beach (a popular ocean beach) is an hour by car. There’s a Discover Florida program that runs shuttles to shopping or for snorkeling and other “outings.”
Admissions. FSC just welcomed their largest incoming class with the following profile:
1134 SAT, 26 ACT, 3.6 GPA, mid 50% SAT 1040-1200, ACT 23-28. Decisions are made on a rolling basis beginning September 1 and are typically made within 2-3 weeks. Nursing is the only direct entry program and has separate admission standards. (Minimum 3.25 GPA, 22 ACT with a 22 on math, 1000 combined CR+M SAT, with a minimum 500 on math.)
Applicants are automatically considered for most merit aid (awards range from $5,000 to $19,000 per year). There is a separate application for Prestige Scholarships that cover up to full tuition, room and board, plus travel. Applicants must have a 3.5 GPA and a 29 ACT or 1290 SAT to be eligible to apply. Ninety-eight % of students do not pay the sticker price $41,670 each year.
FSC will reimburse flight expenses up to $250 for out-of-state admitted students who visit campus during specific dates. Make sure to look into this program before making your arrangements.
Summary: Florida Southern is a great value college for students looking for a tight-knit, inclusive community with hands-on academics and sunny and warm weather.
Florida Southern College
111 Lake Hollingsworth Drive
Lakeland, Florida 33801