Two prospective students, two college tours, one college.
Check out the observations of two tb-two* staffers from separate tours of the University of Florida. We hope it will encourage you to have an open mind, as no two people see things the same. The college you hate but toured just to make your parents happy may turn into the college of your dreams. The college you have been in love with since birth may fall to the bottom of your list.
The Gator Nation
Angelina: Street signs are blue and orange. Buses are blue and orange. Walls are blue and orange. Sometimes even the people on the University of Florida campus appear to be blue and orange.
Oh, and Gator chomps are as common as smiles.
Alexa: You can't go 5 feet without running into someone with Gator paraphernalia. The tour guide reinforced that one of the best things about the school is its spirit. Everyone is pumped and passionate about the Gator Nation whether the subject is education, athletics or clubs.
Did we say it's a family?
Alexa: Apparently every graduate looks forward to joining the club called "alumni." Even though it has been years since they had graduated, the alumni (parents and otherwise) on the tour were quick to point out they were Gators and very proud of it. They nailed every trivia question and were ready to share experiences of their good ol' days at UF.
Angelina: The energy at UF was greater than one could ever imagine. An admissions officer passionately shared with us the information about UF while adding personal touches explaining what the school meant to him. He showed everyone in the room that the Gator community was more than just a community - it was a family.
Expectations and amenities
Angelina: I expected UF to be a very modern school, with brand new buildings and a rather plain landscape. This preconception was proven false by gorgeous brick buildings, tree-lined streets and bike-friendly sidewalks.
Alexa: Tour guides love to talk about the million meal options you have at a campus. Florida features everything from fast food to salad bars and plenty of Starbucks to keep you awake at the library all night.
Alexa: There are 61 fraternities and sororities at UF, but on the tour there were a grand total of zero questions asked about Greek life. Apparently prospective students had no interest in Alpha to Omega.
Angelina: Although dorms are not supposed to be five-star resorts, the residence halls I saw at UF match the campus. They are rather old. One plus: The closets are huge!
It's a hard run
Angelina: Gainesville students must be very active as there are multiple gyms (including one with an indoor track) and students seem to take advantage of the opportunity to run around the football stadium and meet with friends to work out.
Alexa: At the beginning of the tour, the guide was quick and to the point: Florida is not an easy school to get into, meaning apply early with plenty of credits, a high GPA and test scores, and plenty of extracurricular activities.
Back to those Gators
Angelina: Before we could begin our campus tour, our guide said it was necessary to learn how to do the infamous Gator chomp. The poor Seminoles in the room didn't stand a chance; either you executed the chomp with pride or you could head on home.
Alexa: Our guide wouldn't let us leave campus without learning the chomp. Of course, it was discreetly taught as an exercise after walking around the campus. Remember, right over left with a loud clap!