Florida Gulf Coast University-Fort Myers, FL
Super beachy and sporty
What it Feels Like to Go Here
Not to say Florida Gulf Coast University feels exactly like Pacific Coast Academy from your former favorite Nickelodeon show, Zoey 101, but it seems pretty close. Similar to characters Zoey and Chase, students attend classes dressed in tanks and board shorts ready to hit the beach straight from their Physics lecture. The small campus sits directly by a lakefront beach in Fort Myers, FL. Chances are you’ve never heard of Ft. Myers or FGCU unless referred to as “Dunk City,” the school’s claim to fame when their men’s basketball team competed in the 2013 NCAA Men’s Tournament making it all the way to the Sweet Sixteen. Basketball and the beach? What’s not to love about this coastal, tight-knit college?
Ft. Myers townie and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Casey Coleman graduated from FGCU in 2008 and got drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2010. Coleman’s FGCU baseball teammate Chris Sale also went on to throw fast balls for the Chicago White Sox. The university’s alumni rap sheet also includes members of the Florida House of Reps Matt Caldwell and William Snyder.
Where We Hang
At first glance, Ft. Myers and the surrounding Estero area looks like a town that only offers shopping plazas, retirement centers and beaches. Although the city definitely provides a place where your grandparents would feel at home, FGCU’s location is paradise for college kids with countless beaches just a stone’s throw away. Surrounded by salty spots like Ft. Myers Beach, Bonita Beach, Sanibel and Captiva, students spend their days playing sand volleyball, boating, skimboarding, canoeing and kayaking. Just down the road from campus sits Koreshan State Park with rental canoes to float on a river covered by mangroves and Spanish Moss. The less sandy days for Eagles consist of strolling through the Florida Gulf Coast Town Center or Coconut Point Mall for shopping or grabbing a bite to eat. At night the Town Center turns into a hotspot for drinking and dancing. Popular for FGCU students are Rusty’s, Bar Louie, The Keys Bar and Miller’s Ale House. FGCU bar crawlers know how to turn a typical restaurant into a club-like atmosphere. Eagles also like to hang out at baseball games because Ft. Myers hosts the Boston Red Sox for their spring training during spring break (go Sox).
1. How much are students partying?
“The party scene at FGCU is not what you typically think of when you hear the words ‘college.’ There are parties, but you need to know someone who knows someone in order to find out about them. Throughout the year some of our sororities, fraternities, sports teams and clubs host different events, but I wouldn’t say they are the overall talk around the campus,” junior Mary Gomez said.
2. What will you get in trouble for at your school?
“We don’t really have any unusual regulations compared to other schools unless you want to consider tampering with alligators, which also may be a felony,” senior Vail Fisher said.
3. How much sex are students having?
“From what I have seen the hookup culture is essentially a cesspool. The student population is pretty small compared to larger universities, so you will have three girls all sleeping with one guy, and they all blatantly know it, but are too deranged to let the other girl ‘win’ because where is the fun in that?” alumnus Paige Glenn said.
4. What would you tell incoming freshman about your school?
“Academically speaking, do not listen to your advisors when they tell you to take three or four classes so you can adjust to college life. They’re so easy freshman year, so take as many classes as you can so that when you do get into the more time-consuming stuff, you will have more time to spend on it,” alumnus Roman Maksimov said.
5. Why did you choose FGCU?
“I chose FGCU because I wasn’t exactly ready to leave home, being that I’m from Fort Myers. But when I sit and reminisce on my undergraduate career I wouldn’t have picked a different school. The campus is beautiful, and I made the best friends I could have ever asked for. FGCU set me up with the skills and connections I needed post graduation,” recent graduate Monica Estes said.
“My overall experience at FGCU has been great. I came in as a transfer student from Miami and luckily got paired with amazing roommates from the beginning. Then as the year progressed I made an amazing set of friends by being involved in clubs. Everyone is beyond friendly here at FGCU and I couldn’t imagine attending any other university.” — Mary Gomez, Nursing major, junior
“FGCU has been a great experience for me and, because I’m from Fort Myers, it has been my home away from home. I’ve made so many friends from transfers to alumni that I think I’ll continue to speak with even after moving away.” — Vail Fisher, Communications major, senior
“I would recommend [FGCU] to people who want to enjoy the southwest Florida lifestyle as well as a smaller student population that will enable you to make more friends across a much broader group of people.” — Paige Glenn, alumnus
“During the first half of my time, I did not consider myself an FGCU student, but just someone that had classes there, and that’s because of how far I lived [from campus]. It was really hard to get involved, and meeting people like me was a little difficult too. After moving closer to campus, that is when I began to get more involved, and that’s also when I started developing my core group of friends.” — Roman Maksimov, Software Engineering major, alumnus
“My experience was a 10 out of 10. It’s a good feeling when you walk into a classroom and your teacher knows your name. Also I like the sense of community when you’re walking on campus and you can always find a familiar face.” — Monica Estes, Resort and Hospitality major, alunma
Top 3 Majors
1. Liberal Arts and General Studies
2. Communication and Media Studies
3. Criminal Justice and Corrections
Top 3 Most Popular Student Organizations
1. If you want to attend FGCU and don’t like Greek Life because of the infamous frat bro stereotypes, reconsider because FGCU’s Greek orgs are different from large state school’s. No one really follows sorority or fraternity rank, so there’s no worrying about if your sorority is top tier or not. And who really cares anyway? You’ll make so many friends you’ll forget their names the first week, and your dues will be low because of the lack of housing at FGCU. “I was in Chi Omega, and I loved it. It definitely gave me more than I could have imagined. [My favorite part about Chi Omega is] getting my little; she’s my best friend,” Estes said.
2. Maybe you hated elementary school because you were the kid who ate glue, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make school and education worthwhile for another kid. Join Eagles Educate for an opportunity to promote knowledge and well-being in children’s lives whether you collect food for kids without a school lunch or deliver Valentines to sick kindergarteners in the hospital. “It’s fun and not that cheesy ‘every club is fun’ kind of way. It’s mainly girls but there are some guys there too,” junior Taylor Gilhauley said. “You don’t have to be an education major to join; anybody can. We participate in events that happen on campus and also hold some conferences for local educators.”
3. Young Life College goes on adventures unlike any other. In May the FGCU chapter traveled to a camp in North Carolina where they lived like pioneers for a few days. The org’s big journey included taking cold showers, using an outhouse and having bonfire chats about faith and sharing their life stories. “High school and college aren’t the easiest times in one’s life, but this organization led me to the right person and group of friends to help me through my struggles. I have not only made amazing and unbreakable friendships with other people, but I have learned so much about myself and who I am,” Gomez said.
Your GPA and SAT scores definitely mean something to the fine people judging you in the FGCU admissions office, but they especially want students who challenge themselves. For better chances of getting into your dream beach school, you should sign up for AP classes or look into the IB program. Your fate of getting into FGCU isn’t entirely numerical similar to most large state schools. FGCU’s acceptance rate usually falls around 60% and they accept B+ average students. You’ll probably be better off studying more for your AP exams because the average SAT score for FGCU students usually falls around a 1500. Not too shabby.
Location: Fort Myers, FL
Tuition & Fees: $6,118
Total Cost on Campus: $20,142
Undergrad Students Enrolled: 13,300
Graduate Students Enrolled: 1,193
Total Enrolled: 14, 493
Acceptance Percentage: 65.8%
Percent Admitted Who Enroll: 51%
Percentage of Male Students: 44%
Percentage of Female Students: 56%
Percentage Receiving Financial Aid: 72%
Percentage Receiving Federal Grants: 50%
Percentage Receiving Federal Loans: 63%
*Name changed to protect privacy.