FLORIDA COLLEGE TRIP STOP #2, MARCH 2019
Studying for exams and completing Eckerd’s four different writing style assignments isn’t quite so painful when you are living and learning in a tropical paradise. Eckerd College’s 1,900 undergraduates enjoy life on the #4 for “Most Beautiful Coastal College Campuses” (Best Value Schools), which is located in St. Petersburg, Florida and sits right on the coast of Tampa Bay and Boca Ciega Bay. Palm trees, white sandy beaches, kayaks, sailboats, and dolphin spotting come with the cost of attendance. They have their own boathouse and an Eckerd College Emergency Response Team, where students gain medical and emergency training by working with local paramedics and St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue, as well as an Eckerd College Search and Rescue team that pairs up with Coast Guard.
Eckerd is a liberal arts college and designated as a College That Changes Lives. Students have until the end of their sophomore year to declare a major but can start taking classes in their major at the end of their freshmen year. Eckerd uses a 4-1-4 calendar, where students use the short “winter” term to take a travel course and 100% of students study abroad at least once. Freshmen are required to come to campus three weeks early to take one course and learn tips for succeeding in college before the rest of students join them in September. Eckerd’s curriculum is hands-on and students are required to engage in the community with at least 40 hours of community service. Marine science, environmental studies, and international studies are among Eckerd's biggest draws.
The student body is mainly from out of state (79% are from outside Florida; 8% come from the West), with an abundance of Northeast students looking for a different climate. Students describe themselves as “open-minded, laid back, and liberal”. In addition to being 66% female and 78% white, Eckerd has a large LGBTQ community and is a pet-friendly campus (students can have pets starting their sophomore year). The majority of Eckerd students graduate in four years or less (60% do), and a large portion (almost 50%) continue on to graduate programs or are employed within 12 months (96% are employed or in graduate school one year out). Those that don’t have extra support with Eckerd’s promise: If a student is not offered a job or accepted into graduate school within 6 months of graduation the student will have auditing access to four courses without charge and will have access to an intensive, one-on-one analysis of skills and abilities.
Students at Eckerd are some of the most relaxed and happy students I have met on a college campus. If you are a student that can balance academics and social life (a.k.a. beach life), check out Eckerd College.
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