At this year’s virtual SUS Admissions Tour, admissions directors from Florida’s 12 public universities weighed in on testing, shared updates to applications, and offered tips for this year’s application cycle. In this article we've share some of their more interesting take-aways.
As always, a student’s academic record, with a focus on strength of curriculum, drives the admission process at our 12 state universities, with test scores and holistic information – most notably essays and extracurricular engagement – closely following. Further, all of our state universities recalculate a special GPA used for admission (frequently called a Core Weighted GPA), rather than using what’s on a student’s transcript. However, there are nuanced differences among them in terms of which AP, IB, AICE, and Dual Enrollment courses are included in the calculation. For example, FSU and UF include all AP, IB, AICE courses, even those that aren’t “core,” like AICE Tourism and Travel. By comparison, UCF only includes those AP, IB, and AICE courses listed on pages 63-69 of the Counseling for Future Education Handbook – which excludes AICE Travel and Tourism. All three universities include only “approved” Dual Enrollment courses in the Handbook.
As of today’s post, Florida will NOT be going test-optional for the class of 2021; applicants must submit at least one set of scores. The Admission Directors noted that this was the Board of Governors’ decision and that they expect SAT scores to be 40-50 points lower than previous years’ scores and the ACT to be 1-2 points lower. However, all things are fluid with Covid-19, and the testing mandate could change. FSU noted that it has moved its priority admission deadline to December 1 and will accept a student’s first set of scores from as late a test as December’s. Additionally, the Bright Futures scholarship will still require test scores: 1330/29 for the FAS and 1210/25 for the FMS, and the score deadline may be extended just as it was for the class of 2020.
Speaking of Bright Futures, the volunteer hours requirement is still in place, so students need between 75-100 hours to qualify. In search of online opportunities? One Director recommended volunteermatch.org.
Only a few changes to report regarding applications: USF now accepts the Common App, and UCF is using its own self-reported transcript platform (SPARK) this year. FAMU announced that it will take the SSAR, thus joining FAU, FGCU, FSU, UNF, UF, FL Poly, and New College. USF, UWF, and FIU still require an official transcript to evaluate applicants.
Advice on Courses for STEM Majors
Several directors answered counselors’ questions about course choices, especially for students interested in STEM majors. Yes, students should take rigorous courses such as chemistry, especially future science majors, and engineering students should take calculus, not statistics! No preference is given to AP, IB, or Dual Enrollment courses – these, along with AICE classes, receive the highest weighting. Also, computer science doesn’t count as a math unit for the SUS schools, although high schools may award a math credit. A follow-up email with UF’s Director shed more light of the evaluation of a student’s academic record:
While the GPA is a tool, we look at individual courses and grades in the review, not just the GPA. For example, MAC 1105 (College Algebra) and MAC 2313 (Calculus 3 with Analytic Geometry) have the same GPA weighting, but one course is much more advanced than the other. That is taken into account in review, even if GPAs are identical.
Some Florida Schools are Offering Campus Visits
Finally, FAU, UNF, FGCU, and FL Poly are now offering limited-capacity campus visits (check their websites for more details) – good news for students eager to get out and visit colleges!
Still have questions about our Florida schools? Check out our most recent – and most popular – webinar, Florida's Dozen: What It Takes to Get Admitted to a State University in Florida, in which Certified Educational Planner Judi Robinovitz shares further insight on admission criteria for all 12 state universities and how to improve your chances of getting in.
Download our 2020 Florida State University System Admissions Guide to understand what's needed to apply.