Two hours south of Gainesville sits one of the University of Florida’s biggest rivals: the University of Central Florida. Where UF enchants with its tradition-withered pathways, UCF looms in the chaotic business of Orlando. UF existed long before UCF, but that didn’t stop the knights from planting a rivalry seed that budded in the swamp. Where Knights yield swords and Gators have teeth, in a fight no doubt stands as to who would win.
If you find yourself battling for your school’s honor, here are 10 reasons why UF students are better than UCF’s.
1. Books before booze
If you ever stepped foot into a classroom at the University of Florida, then you know that the pressure to succeed remains high. While students at UCF lean more towards the party lifestyle in Orlando, UF students try to balance their academics and social life to maintain a peak college existence. “[UF students] are able to mix social activities and academics really well. I know some people who go to UCF and I think a lot of their students go for the party scene,” University of Florida senior Sara Davidson said. UF students may visit midtown clubs after a stressful week of school, but you can locate UCF students almost always at the Knight’s Library (another club) neglecting their school work. While UF students do enjoy a good time, they know when to swap their solo cup for a text book.
2. Swampy sports beat central tendencies
Where UCF convinced others that they earned their titles (remember when they claimed themselves national champions?), UF cultivated years of successful sports to support their fan’s biases. “I think UF students have much more school spirit. [UCF] didn’t support their team when they sucked, but we as UF students have supported our team even when we haven’t been at our best,” UF senior Megan McKeel said. UCF’s mascot also stifles excitement at the sound of its name– Knightro, a pun off of the periodic table never wins hearts like UF’s beloved Albert. No need to love chemistry if you love a gator.
3. You can find little ponds in a big swamp
UF teaches over 35,000 undergrads, but that doesn’t stop its students from building relationships and making connections. “You can find real friendships flourishing on dorm floors, in all student’s organizations, within Plaza of the Americas, and even through class group chats on GroupMe. The passion and community is what truly makes UF the Gator Nation,” junior Mylie Siegel said. UF sits on a large campus, but the university still creates a welcoming atmosphere. UF offers GatorNights where students can join friends every Friday to watch free movies and participate in activities. Over 1,000 student clubs at UF compared to UCF’s 650 provide students with chances to connect with others and find their own niche. UCF, with their 59,000 undergraduate students, could never.
4. The Brains of a gator beat the brawns of a knight
One of the major pulling factors about UF remains as the high number of undergraduate degree programs that they offer. Usually these programs can further divide into specializations and offer students unique learning experiences that they can’t find elsewhere. “UF has better and more renowned programs like our clinical psychology program with a specialization in neuropsychology. A lot of schools don’t offer that, but our students have that access,” senior Sydney Green said. UF also offers other unique degrees like agricultural education, communications, African languages, French and francophone studies. Students at UF hold the opportunity to pursue a more diverse path with over 100 undergraduate degree options, compared to UCF only offering less than 100.
5. The Students and Alumni that bleed orange and blue
UF opened its doors in 1904, which means its harvested long-standing traditions came through several generations of students. Whether ringing in homecoming with an extra day off of class, or singing to Tom Petty in the stadium, students find it great to be a Florida gator because their initiated into an exclusive club. “Tradition is what makes our students better than at UCF. Tailgating before the games and the two-bits cheer are things I love,” UF senior Jenna Jaeger said. UCF does offer their Spirit Splash homecoming celebration, but it remains unable to topple the reputation of UF’s Gator Growl. The university also holds a legend that says if students walk on the Pegasus seal then they will never graduate. Guess some knights never left the floor-is-lava state of mind behind. UCF, which opened its doors 59 years after UF, desperately tries catch up to UF’s traditions, but they lag far behind.
6. The Gator nation knows no bounds
As any UF student will proudly tell you, according to the U.S. News & World Report Top Public Schools rankings, UF ranks as the number seven public university. “With UF being a high ranked school academically, they take academics seriously and I feel as if they accept students who also focus on studying,” UF junior Marissa Sanders said. With outstanding academics and a thriving social atmosphere, UF built a reputation that spans the country and the world. Many students from out-of-state did not know that UCF existed before they entered the state. UF represents 16% of students coming from out of state, while UCF only represents 9%. Students would rather come hang out in Gainesville than in the tourist filled streets of Orlando.
7. The swamp offers a faculty that cares
UF puts a great deal of effort into offering their students multiple resources to ensure success. Along with writing and career connection centers, advisors always remain readily available to students so that they can ensure they meet their graduation requirements. “They have an advising center specifically for freshmen engineers. It’s nice to have a member of the faculty remember your name. That way you’re not just another number at a big school,” UF junior Ploy Ellifritt said. While UF may support a large number of students, the university takes special care to help students feel supported throughout their academic career. The student to faculty ratio at UF stands as 18-to-1, while at UCF it stands as 30-to-1. This means that the students’ chances of meeting and connecting with helpful faculty at UF are stronger than at UCF. Shocker, right?
8. The humble beginnings of UF
When UF first opened in 1904, the Morrill Act jump-started it. The act established UF as a land-grant university, basically giving schools public land so that people could access higher education. UF qualifies as one of 17 universities that boast the name of a land-grant, sea-grant and space-grant institution. UCF, like UF, also began as a way to investigate what laid outside earth’s atmosphere. However, UCF did not share the prestigious title of a land-grant university.
9. The presence of science only seconds from campus
Students interested in going into the health field, see UF as a great location right around the corner from UF Health Shands Hospital. UF’s partnership with Shands made it one of the nation’s top 10 public research universities. For Gators interested in dentistry, pharmaceuticals or other medical practices, the location of UF beats any other school. It’s not great news for UCF students though since they locate about two hours away.
10. The central location of UF
While it may seem a little north of central Florida, the school itself sits at a great location in the state for students who seek adventure. Placed in central Florida, UCF surrounds itself with theme parks like Disney World and Universal. However, theme parks make only a small portion of Floridian adventures. In two hours, students can reach the capital if they driving from Gainesville. Orlando and the beach also sit within a two-hour drive from campus. This means that UF students can explore the state (and beyond) in their free time. Meanwhile, UCF students will find themselves stuck on I-4 traffic.