Number of Students Accepted Into UF Reaches All-Time Low

Photo/ Creative Commons

Photo/ Creative Commons

Evy Nigh, Staff Writer

As senior Hana Saleh goes to open her expected acceptance letter from the University of Florida, she is faced with surprise when she reads a different fate.

“I was pretty upset because I was initially 99 percent sure I was going to get in,” Saleh said. “My parents even signed a lease for an apartment a month before decisions because they thought I would get in, especially because I have legacy, and I previously had a research internship at UF. When I didn’t get in, I was shocked but then realized that they just were getting super competitive this year.”

Saleh was accepted into UF’s Pathway to Campus Enrollment, or the ‘PaCE’ program, which requires students to complete a minimum of 15 credit hours and two semesters through UF Online. After meeting 60 credit hours as well as all transition requirements for the major, students are allowed to transition onto campus. When Saleh was not fully accepted to UF, she said she found herself trapped in a financial situation with the lease she confidently placed on Sweetwater apartments before acceptance decisions were released.

“My older sister and I signed a lease under a freshman contingency agreement for an on-campus apartment called Sweetwater back in January,” Saleh said. “The freshman contingency pretty much said that if I got into UF, I would be bound to living in that apartment, and if I didn’t get into UF, I can get out of the lease with no penalty, free of charge. When I got into PaCE, the apartment said that they would penalize me if I left the lease, even though we had signed an agreement that would allow me to get out of the lease with no penalty. We threatened to sue and explained to them I will not be going to UF, and luckily they let me off the lease. It was a hard process, and I definitely would not recommend Sweetwater apartments to any incoming UF freshman.”

College Adviser Angela Feldbush said she was surprised by the results of this year’s applications.

“The biggest surprise was the number of students who were accepted into PaCE or Santa Fe instead of directly to the University of Florida,” Feldbush said. “We are still waiting for the exact numbers, but it seems to be many more students than we have ever seen in these programs.”

Among the 30 accepted students at West Shore is Sofia Schaafsma, who said she feels grateful, especially because of all the hard work it took.

“I feel absolutely stellar,” Schaafsma said. “I worked indescribably hard for six years to go to UF, maintaining my 4.0 and taking thirteen AP classes total. I am extremely relieved that I got accepted, and I have happily committed for the Summer B 2023 term.”

Despite Schaafsma’s excitement, she said she feels disappointment for the many deserving classmates who got rejected.

“I know UF acceptances were at an all-time low this year, I know several people who have worked just as hard as me and should have been accepted,” she said. “I’m not exactly sure what they look at, but I do find it kind of difficult to believe that they are ‘major-blind’. Applying for an undergraduate degree in architecture requires completely different statistics and courses than applying for an undergraduate degree in computer science or engineering.”

UF admitted 14,136 students, which is a drop from the 14,866 admitted last year. This drop in acceptances also impacted West Shore.

“We were surprised by an apparent dip in acceptances, but don’t have hard data for this year yet,” Feldbush said. “Initial information seems to take us from over fifty acceptance last year to thirty this year. We have reached out to UF to see if these trends are unique to us or part of a larger shift in admissions models.”

Senior Jack Zhao said his rejection, and the rejection of his classmates who he felt should have gotten in, left him confused.

“I know many people who had stronger applications and scores who did not get in compared to others, which is the main reason why the acceptance into UF feels like a lottery system,” Zhao said. “Of course, I understand that this is not the case, but it’s so unclear who UF actually wants in their student body and what they are actually looking for.”

Zhao said this shifted his view of the University of Florida.

“My rejection to UF and the low acceptance of West Shore students kind of changes my perception of UF,” he said. “I can’t deny that UF is a great school, but it’s genuinely disappointing to see so many students getting rejected after they worked so hard to get in. I can’t help but wonder about the reason behind that, whether UF just wants to rise through rankings, or they want something specific in all their students.”

Schaafsma said she thinks the big part UF plays in West Shore culture is harmful to its students.

“I think West Shore needs to stop placing such an immense pressure on its students to get into UF,” Schaafsma said. “It’s an extremely difficult school to get into, nowhere near on-par with any of the Florida schools. Yes, West Shore has gifted students, but gifted does not always mean exceptional. Several factors go into a college’s decision to admit a student, and it is simply implausible for students to exceptionally meet every single one of these standards. Lots of other Florida school are just as acceptable and reputable in obtaining an undergraduate degree.”

Feldbush said this low acceptance of students has brought forward a lesson for college admissions.

“Generally, college admissions continue to become increasingly competitive,” Feldbush said. “All students need to consider a range to schools to make sure that they have a safety and reach school within the pool of colleges they are considering applying to.”