University of Florida makes online program a requirement, not an option

By Cluna
05/29/2015
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Cecilia Luna, student contributing writer
Receiving an admission letter is one of the greatest joys in life for a college student — a simple greeting of “congratulations” is often just enough to make a student rejoice in excitement as it is. So, why expect anything less than a regular admittance? Recently, however, University of Florida has initiated a new program, PaCE (Pathway to Campus Enrollment). Due to this program, over 3,000 students’ congratulations were met with a catch: enrolling in strictly online courses during their freshman year of college. The most interesting part about this catch, though, was that the students never applied for it. As a student, I am familiar with the admissions process and just how applications work to enter this prestigious university. I can’t remember there ever being a box to check off next to “PaCE,” though. It's probably because this program is so new that this is the first time ever implementing it. What’s curious about this situation is that when applying, students are asked to check off options pertaining to residency plans, financial aid plans, and even which semester they’d like to begin. You’d think that with all of these questions in the application, they’d also be asked if they’d like to be in a program that deprives them from living on campus, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, these students found out about the conditions of their admission in the very letter that they will remember for the rest of their lives. Imagine being admitted to your dream school, only to find out you can’t really go there just yet. PaCE offers some form of compensation, though. Students who choose to enroll in the program are subject to pay almost 39 percent less tuition than traditional students. My question is: Is it truly worth it? Sure, you will get to pay substantially less — but at what cost? I have been a student enrolled in traditional courses since my first semester at UF, but I have also gotten to take online courses as well. What I’ve learned is that there is no environment quite like a lecture hall or classroom with a physical professor there to help you. Online classes may work for some, but not for others. Some people like the environment of a bedroom or personal space that’s more comfortable than a classroom. Taking a math quiz in bed wearing pajamas sounds pretty amazing when you think about it. While this may be the best method for some, the majority of students will tell you that being in a classroom affects your mentality. You’re much more motivated in a class that you can physically talk about with peers and instructors. There’s a reason why UF is considered one of the best all-around college experiences in the nation. Being a student is much more than just enrolling in classes. It’s not unfair for a prospective student to expect to receive this experience, either. Hopefully, next year UF decides to add a PaCE check-box on their applications. The only great part about this program is that students who wouldn’t initially get admitted to the most prestigious university in Florida get the chance to do so in a more non-traditional way. It’s no secret that UF is very selective in their admissions process. As we always say, the Gator Nation is everywhere. Now, the Gator Nation is also online. About the author Cecilia Luna, UF studentCecilia is a second year public relations major at the University of Florida. Her hometown is in south Florida, in the small town of Clewiston, and she's ready to make her mark. "Not only am I learning to adjust to a bigger city, but all of the adventures this big university brings along with it." She'll give us an inside look at a day in the life of a college student, sharing her journey with us every step of the way. You can follow her adventures right here on Unigo!

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