Having been a student for 3 years and now finishing on my fourth, I have a good understanding of why UWF is great for students and also why it may not be for everyone.
Pro: The Nature
UWF is visually beautiful. The campus is covered in trees and bushes with flowers all over. It instills an atmosphere that you are away from the world. On the grounds, there is the massive Edward Ball Nature Trail, which covers 600 acres of forest and rivers. The public and students alike can hike, cycle, canyon, and wander the area. There is also the Camelia Garden which has a plethora of wonderful flowers to enjoy. Finally, Pensacola Beach is 30 minutes away, a perfect place for parties and get-togethers. For students that love nature and like to hike or relax on the grass between classes, UWF is a great option.
Unlike other college campuses, the University of West Florida does not reside in a city, thus the remoteness is felt, especially if you live on campus. The plus of this is that it can create community. The con is if students would rather have the bustle of a city, UWF is not that kind of university. The remoteness is great for those that want to embrace it, but not for those that don’t.
Pro/Con: The Size
UWF is a smaller college. The undergraduate enrollment is a little over 9,000 students. The wonderful aspect of that is that students can get more facetime with teachers and get closer to their classmates. There are still many events and activities that a bigger university would have, but there is more of an intimacy on campus. The cons are that if a student wants bigger classes and faster pace experience then UWF isn’t that.
Con: Still Growing
UWF continues to build up. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but for this moment in time, the campus is still growing its infrastructure for its football stadium and parking. The negative is knowing that it is going to be even better, but those things are still to come. Students may not want to wait for that to be ready before they attend, but once those things are built then it will be even more attractive to students.
Pro: Outdoor Adventures, Exchange Programs, Affordability, and Wonderful Academics
UWF has a wonderful Outdoor adventures program that allows students to rock climb, rent and build bikes, disc golf and go on trips such as kayaking with bioluminescent jellyfish or skiing in North Carolina. Uwf is much more affordable than their peers and they have a wonderful student exchange program where students can study all over from Wales to Turkey. They have 110+ majors, minors, certificates, and graduate programs. The university is ranked top 15 in the News & World Report’s Top Public School in the south and 6th in most affordable online MPH programs.
The University of West Florida is a great place for students to pursue their degrees while having the intimacy of nature and smaller classes surrounding them. It’s not the busiest or biggest campus, but if you are looking to study where the opportunities are as big as the nature trail, then uwf would be a good fit for you.