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Old 10-12-2010, 02:22 AM
1 posts, read 8,388 times
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Hello, everyone, I'm new here and I was hoping I could ask your opinion. I was born and raised in South Florida (Broward--mostly Fort Lauderdale), but the job market and cost of living along with the inadequate public colleges has made my family eager to move. We're looking at anything out of the general area of Miami/Dade/Broward/Palm Beach, but it has to be commutable distance to a public Florida university.

I'm willing to transfer to just about any college, but I'm not sure which one is the right choice based on location. I'm a young adult of legal drinking age, but clubbing and bars isn't a priority (though a nice young adult community is welcome). I'm more concerned with cost of living, the ability to get a job, and crime rates.

I know that there are issues with most, if not all of the major college towns and it's probably better to be a little outside the city proper, but if I can get my commuting time under my current 30 minutes, I'll be thrilled.

Any suggestions?
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:32 AM
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All in all you might consider Gainesville/University of Florida. Gainesville has a lower unemployment rate (mid 8%) than most areas of Florida right now, The cost of living is much lower than South Florida, as well as the crime rate. It of course has the party school reputation there, but I'm sure you would be able to find like-minded individuals within a school as large as UF that aren't "party animals". You can actually live within Gainesville and be away from campus in a quieter area and still be 30 minutes to campus. Check out the NW or SW side of town. Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:18 AM
Location: Tampa
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Florida's two college towns are Gainesville and Tallahassee.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by ferret111 View Post
Florida's two college towns are Gainesville and Tallahassee.
Tallahassee has a lot more to it, I wouldn't consider it a college town like Gainesville, Athens, Chapel Hill, etc.

Deland I'd say is a college town but that is an expensive private school.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:19 AM
Location: Niceville, FL
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I'd say Gainesville if you can get into U of F, which isn't a given even for some very good students these days. Nice place to live, and people in the state respect the flagship's academic programs.

Tallahassee is a hybrid college/capitol city town like Madison or Lansing. City itself has some nice areas, and it's pretty happening for a metro area that size, but it's also somewhat isolated from major population centers in the state.

Central Florida has actually really improved academically in recent years, and is going to be easier to get into than U of F. They've got some good internship programs if you're interested in technology or tourism fields and some decent service industry options to help pay the bills.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:55 PM
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Also let me add USF in Tampa to the list. A wide selection of affordable apartments nearby and it is nice and safe.. Plus quick access to the job market of the second largest metro area in the state.
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Old 10-17-2010, 10:06 AM
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Recently became an empty nester when my youngest enrolled in Gainesville's grad program and absolutely loved the whole area. Even though it's an hour and half indirect ride to the ocean and incredibly hot and humid in the summer, it has a real old college town feel to it.

Most scholarships don't get to go to Gainesville. My kids had to go to other Florida public colleges and one of them could have to gone to a Top Ten.
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:11 PM
Location: San Francisco
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Gainesville is probably the only "college town" in every sense of the word. It has a unique charm, is affordable, a fairly liberal area, and growing (it's close to a quarter of a million people). It's also only just over an hour to Jax, but you have to drive through 2 horrible speed traps to get there.

Tallahassee may have more to it, but crime in Tally is definitely not low. My sister attends FSU and has had several friends mugged there (you rarely if at all hear of that happening in Gainesville). Both universities are attractive and both offer a "typical" college experience with Greek life, sports, college bars, dorms, etc.

People have mentioned USF. If you are going to mention USF, you might as well mention UCF and UNF (a bit smaller, but similar). These 3 are not in college towns, but are in large metro areas. USF is a bit older and huuuge, but it is in an interesting part of Tampa. Not a nice part of Tampa, but an active part (Busch Gardens is nearby, the zoo isn't too far away, there are bars and stores nearby, and downtown is probably 10 minutes away without traffic).

UCF is much newer, is rapidly building itself up, and is gaining a good reputation, but it is kind of isolated. It is way out in East Orlando, not too near anything, but there is a good diner about a mile away and lots of new apartments.

UNF is on the newer suburban side of Jax, is located next door to the region's most upscale mall/entertainment area, and also has lots of new affordable apartments around. It is smaller than UCF and USF, though, and is not trying to grow student body wise so fast, but it is trying to make itself more into a "stereotypically" college experience with dorms, Greek life right on campus, etc.

All of these universities specialize in different programs. Perhaps if you gave us more details about what your interests are, then we could help you out. Since you are getting a late start to college (it sounds like), these larger universities may be more difficult to get into. I am not putting you or these colleges down, but have you looked into the 4-year community colleges turned state schools? The acceptance rate at even UCF, UNF, and USF has gotten lower and lower, let alone UF and FSU.
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Old 10-17-2010, 03:24 PM
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If we're mentioning the smaller state universities in the state that aren't necessarily in "college towns" we should probably make mention of UWF and FGCU also. The OP is in South Florida so I won't bring up FAU or FIU.

The University of West Florida is in Pensacola and in my opinion (like UNF) way overlooked as an in-state option. It has a beautiful campus just north of Pensacola.
UWF - About UWF

Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers is Florida's newest four year public university and growing in leaps and bounds. http://www.fgcu.edu/

Either Pensacola or Fort Myers would provide a welcome change from the congestion of South Florida. Pensacola would get the edge for work availability.
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