University of Miami, Coral Gables
Location: Beautiful palm-tree-populated Coral Gables. Coral Gables equals expensive living; however, it also has its sketchy areas. Close to the school is a great shopping and restaurant area called Sunset and a local nightlife district called the Grove.
Admission difficulty: Acceptance rate between 44 and 47 percent
Tuition: Around $50,000 a year
School size: Around 9,500 undergraduates
Typical student: Well, the two most popular cars on campus are Mercedes and BMW. There are occasional Maseratis, and I've spotted a couple of Ferraris. There are mainly two types of students: rich and richer. Most people do not let their wealth control their personality, but there are a select few who do. Miami is really known for hosting international students. I have met students from all around the world, which has created new cultural experiences.
Fashion: Designer labels are not hard to find. Miami has a very different fashion sense from the rest of Florida. A normal trend for a tropical place is floral patterns and bright colors, and though both are plentiful here, most women do their grocery shopping in stilettos. Girls walk to classes in heels and use their designer rain boots on rainy days. However, shorts and flip-flops seem to be the usual attire for most students.
Pros: The University of Miami offers its students great career help, from preparing resumes to finding an internship or job. Many companies look at Miami for future employees; just this year ESPN came to Miami encouraging students to apply for jobs. All of my professors have either written the textbook or done extensive research in their fields of study. The university and its medical school have been given high marks in various rankings. Miami has also hosted many famous guest speakers, including the Dalai Lama this year. Particular bonuses for Northern students: lots of sunshine and swimming at the student center pool; year-round tans.
Miami offers the typical college experience with football games, fraternities and sororities, and great nightlife from frat parties off campus to South Beach, which is only 30 minutes away. The Grove, Coral Gables' bar scene, is packed every Thursday. Being such a residential area, there are many options for off-campus housing. The university has tremendous school spirit and so do people in the community, because it is all about the U!
Cons: Staying focused is hard, with South Beach so close and parties happening all the time. Cost of living is high here, so going to South Beach won't be an option very often. The university has a good on-campus bus system, but off-campus public transportation in Miami is not the best, so it helps a great deal if you are able to take your car to school. Although Florida is known as the Sunshine State, when it rains, it monsoons, and walking to class in torrential downpours is never fun. Students seem to be very competitive with each other and exam week is Hell Week.
The most inconvenient aspect about the university is that the football stadium is not on campus; the Hurricanes share Sun Life Stadium with the Dolphins, and it takes about 45 minutes to get there with no traffic. And the main road in front of the university is U.S. 1, the worst designed road in America. No matter the time of day there is always bumper-to-bumper traffic. The school has buses that take students to the stadium two hours before kickoff, but that leaves less time to tailgate at frat houses.
Reviewed by Kimberly Sears, a sophomore at the University of Miami and a 2009 graduate of Tampa Preparatory.