University of Tampa: A Big Campus with Big Opportunities
by Coraima Camacho
Most students tend to associate universities located in vast metropolitan areas with an overwhelming environment and a lack of one-on-one curriculum focused on individual achievement. However, with its numerous internship opportunities, research facilities, and hands-on learning environment, the University of Tampa, a private university located along Florida’s Gulf Coast, proves to be an exception. Northside students recently had the opportunity to speak with one of the University’s representatives and former alum, David Humphrey, in regards to the campus, student life, and admissions process.
Due to its location on the banks of the Hillsborough River, directly across from downtown Tampa, UT students benefit from engaging in an array of activities on campus and around the city. Students can enjoy shopping, fine dining, and monthly festivals occurring throughout the city, with ferry rides offered to and from the downtown area. Other travel services include shuttles to the Tampa International Airport, located just 15 minutes away from the campus. In terms of the academic benefits, students are given the opportunity to enroll in hundreds of internships, within walking distance, relating to their major. For example, a communications major has the opportunity to intern at NBC Studios or the “Tampa Bay Times” and a student majoring in Marine Science can intern at the Florida Aquarium. On campus, Greek life fanatics can choose from 27 different sororities and fraternities. Additionally, UT includes 250 clubs, teams and student organizations. In an attempt to further enhance campus life, the university recently built a fitness and recreation center where students can enjoy services such as personal training, wellness and nutrition plans, and take part in some exercise related laboratory and research activities.
With its more than 200 areas of study in four colleges, student to faculty ratio of 17 to 1, and average class size of 21, the University of Tampa is among the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education. Although majors range from advertising and public relations to psychology, UT’s most popular undergraduate majors include international business, nursing, criminology and criminal justice, biology and/or environmental science, and finance. UT’s current enrollment is 8,913 students from all 50 states, as well as 140 countries, and about 15% of the student body are international students. The university offers over 20 minors and/or concentration, 12 certificate programs and 14 master’s programs.
For the academically ambitious, the University of Tampa provides students with the opportunity to double major or become a part of UT’s Honors Program, upon admission. The latter, a rigorous academic program for eligible students, is designed to help students become better leaders in their desired profession or communities. Additionally, this program offers benefits such as research fellowships and internships or funding for study abroad opportunities at the University of Oxford.
UT encourages students to take advantage of the variety of the 1,000 study abroad programs it offers in 60 countries. In the past students have taken faculty-led travel courses from Scotland to South Africa or China to Costa Rica.
The University of Tampa is also known for being a NCAA Division II school with 22 collegiate men’s and women’s sports. They currently have 15 championships in baseball, men’s golf, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Other offered sports for both men and women include: cheerleading, swimming, track, lacrosse and cross country. Non-high school athletes can enroll in intramural sports and/or co-ed club sports. Some co-ed club sports that make the University of Tampa stand out are fishing, flag football, equestrian, bodybuilding, and paintballing.
Students interested in applying to the University of Tampa should be aware of the numerous scholarship and financial aid opportunities the university offers. In 2011 the “College Access & Opportunity Guide,” published by the Center for Student Opportunity, recognized UT as one of 284 colleges and universities with exceptional outreach financial aid opportunities. Annually, it awards a variety of renewable, merit-based academic scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 per year. However, athletic scholarships and scholarships for transfer and international students are available based on a combination of test scores, unweighted grade point average, and financial needs. In terms of advice, Humphrey reminded students interested in attending the University of Tampa that the “earlier you apply, the better.” Similar to most universities, Humphrey stated that the university uses both the Common and Coalition Application for the admission process.
While the University of Tampa’s metropolitan location might discourage some students from applying, its wide range of academic programs and internship and research opportunities makes it an attractive choice for Northside students interested in pursuing an out-of-state education. Given its urban setting similar to Chicago’s, Northside students will find themselves at home at one of the best undergraduate institutions in the nation, in a city of over 377,000 people. For more information and to schedule a campus tour, visit the university’s website at www.ut.edu.