Florida College Road Trip: Florida State University

With more than 29,000 full-time undergrads and a 485-acre main campus, Florida State University‘s size attracts students looking for a wide array of academic and research opportunities, Division I athletics and a contagious Seminole pride.

Even with its large scope, students say the university still finds ways to retain an intimate feel. And for those who take the initiative, “I’ve never met a professor that won’t go the extra mile,” says Stacey Pierre, a senior biology major from Miramar, Florida.

FSU makes a big effort to help students find their place, says Joe O’Shea, the school’s assistant provost. When they arrive on campus, all first-year students have access to a student success team, which can include a college life coach and both an academic and a career adviser. Incoming students can join a freshman interest group focused on a topic that excites them, such as STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math; business ; or communications.

Undergrads in a FIG take several foundation courses together and connect with a cohort of 20 or so peers. Students can take that manner of bonding even further by applying to be part of a living learning community, where they not only take classes together but live in residence halls alongside others interested in health professions, say, or global and public affairs.

[Read: Consider Living Learning Communities as a Prospective International Student.]

Student success resources extend to every population across campus. The Center for Global Engagement brings together FSU’s international student community — roughly 3 percent of undergrads — and hosts activities and events open to all.

The Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement offers a range of resources geared toward helping minority, first-generation and other traditionally underrepresented students succeed. Roughly 81 percent of students come from within the Sunshine State, although FSU enrolls undergrads from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

While students can expect some bigger classes, about 84 percent have fewer than 50 undergrads, and roughly 2 out of 5 enroll fewer than 20. Even with the university’s 7,860 graduate students, proactive undergrads can find ways to get involved with research, often through the Center for Undergraduate Research and Academic Engagement.

[See: 2019 Undergraduate Research/Creative Projects.]

Undergraduates can choose from more than 100 majors and programs. Certain so-called limited access majors, such as business and nursing, require that students apply directly for admittance as sophomores. Music, theater and dance also require an extra application for entrance the first year.

The university’s new entrepreneurship school offers majors in commercial, social and retail entrepreneurship. In a 14,000-square-foot innovation hub on campus, students from a wide range of disciplines can take advantage of cutting-edge tech equipment like 3D printers and virtual reality.

The school’s 700-plus clubs and activities provide ample opportunities to “create your own version of normal,” says Inam Sakinah, a 2018 graduate in interdisciplinary social science from Jacksonville, Florida.

The student-run Union Productions group plans and hosts more than 150 concerts and special events per year. There are nearly 50 fraternities and sororities, which count about one-fifth of undergrads as members.

[Read: 4 Ways to Use Alumni Networks When Choosing a College.]

Athletic events from FSU’s 18 varsity sports teams, which compete in the Atlantic Coast Conference, are another way that students showcase their intense Seminole spirit. Football, in particular, tends to attract many fans and brings “a unifying force to the community,” says Pierre.

FSU is 25 miles north of the Gulf Coast, and students make occasional beach visits around the area. Four miles away, the FSU Reservation on Lake Bradford offers outdoor activities like volleyball, climbing and kayaking. The university’s proximity to downtown Tallahassee offers easy access to museums, government agencies and the state capitol building.

More From the Florida College Road Trip:

University of Miami

University of Florida

Rollins College

This story is excerpted from the U.S. News “Best Colleges 2019” guidebook, which features in-depth articles, rankings and data.

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Florida College Road Trip: Florida State University originally appeared on usnews.com

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