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Small Colleges and Universities in Florida

The University of Tampa, Ave Maria University, Baptist College of Florida

Whether you’re hoping for a bustling city like Orlando or Jacksonville, have your heart set on the fun of Miami, or are more interested in the program rather than the location, the number of small universities and colleges in Florida is always growing. While most football fans are focused primarily on the state’s two gigantic universities, Florida State University and University of Florida, there’s so much more to choose from than just the largest campuses in the state. Get away from it all by studying arts on the Panhandle, or opt instead to take advantage of tucked-away colleges closer to the idyllic tranquility of the Florida Keys than the endless rush-hour of more metropolitan parts of the state. And of course, all state-run institutions still offer students the chance to get ahead for less money with the Bright Future scholarship program.

The University of Tampa

Located right in the heart of downtown Tampa, UT offers college students the chance to pursue their education while also enjoying the benefits of being in the center of a bustling urban area. With over 100 undergraduate degrees to choose from split into different colleges that offer more hands-on experience and extensive feedback from acclaimed professors, UT has the perfect balance between a classic college atmosphere and a contemporary educational institution. With less than six thousand students on campus, and many of them from outside of the state of Florida, there is a sense of diversity sometimes missing from other state schools. An acclaimed marine science program nets many out-of-state and out-of-country students.

Ave Maria University

A private university founded by the man responsible for bringing the world Domino’s Pizza, Ave Maria provides a quiet and encouraging learning environment for those students who are interested in incorporating the importance of their Roman Catholic faith into their college learning experience. Located a short drive from downtown Naples, the weather is often enough to draw Roman Catholics from around the country. With ten different undergraduate degrees to choose from, including those with a theological emphasis, students are still expected to complete a core curriculum that includes courses in philosophy, science, and history as well.

Baptist College of Florida

For those who are looking towards college as a way to extend their learning regarding their faith, Baptist College of Florida is often a popular choice. A renowned small Christian college that once focused primarily on training ministers to work in various Baptist churches around the country, BCF is now focused on providing secular degrees as well, though courses do veer heavily into the territory of religiously affiliated learning. In addition to degrees in theology, you can also earn a BA or BFA in music, accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music, or degrees in counseling and education.

Edward Waters College

Located in Jacksonville, Florida, Edward Waters College, or Ed Waters as it is known to students, serves an important purpose. It was founded with the purpose of providing education for freed slaves after the Civil War, and is the country’s oldest historically African-American college. A number of notable graduates include Jacksonville’s sheriff, various judges, and various state representatives. With a campus that includes a number of historic buildings and an acclaimed faculty, it remains a popular choice for those from Jacksonville, as well as those from all over the country.

Ringling College of Art and Design

A four-year nonprofit arts school located in Sarasota, Ringling College of Art and Design makes it possible to stay within Florida for an extensive and masterful art education. Accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art, Ringling provides courses in fine arts and more contemporary design fields alike. Students can earn their BFA in anything from fine arts and photography to interactive communication and advertising design. A number of notable artists are alumni, and the school’s unique campus is as rich a part of Sarasota’s history as the Ringling family themselves.

Chipola College

Located in Marianna, Florida just a stone’s throw from the mighty Chipola River, Chipola College is known not just for its academics, but also for its athletics. Countless famous athletes have played for the Indians before launching their professional careers, and the school’s acclaimed athletic program boasts victories in everything from basketball to baseball. Academics are also promising at Chipola College, with students choosing from dozens of different bachelor’s degree programs and numerous extracurricular activities that focus more on reading groups and philosophy discussion than what’s happening on the field.

Full Sail University

While some head off to college to study, others are interested in learning specific skills to get them ahead. And in the case of Full Sail University, it is possible to become an ace in the recording studio and earn a bachelor’s degree at the same time. Founded in 1979, Full Sail University opened up its Winter Park Campus in 1980. Since then, it’s been gaining accolades from the in-state accrediting institutions, as well as from industry insiders who choose to work with Full Sail students on a number of projects. With state-of-the-art production studios and an entire backlot, Full Sail gives its attendees the opportunity to actually learn how things work in the studio. Notable graduates have managed to go far in everything from visual effects and film directing to music production and engineering.

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Best Colleges by State