Orientation: Central Hub

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There is a lot of information parents and students need to know leading up to New Student Orientation. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  In addition to frequent e-mail communication students will be receiving between now and Orientation (hint hint: check personal and UNF e-mail accounts often for important updates) we have used the UNF Admissions Blog as a central hub for important 2015 Orientation information. This way, you can access our blog at your leisure and read up on all of it or just the parts you have questions about! Continue reading

Thinking of transferring to UNF this fall? Let’s connect!

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Summer is almost over but admission to UNF is still hot. Especially for students who are ready to transfer from another college or university to UNF. We’d love to have you on campus this fall and we have some transfer scholarships to help.

Whether you are an upper-level transfer student (with at least 60 transferable credit hours or an Associate of Arts degree from a Florida public or postsecondary institution) or a lower-level student (with fewer than 60 transferable credit hours) we are sure UNF has a lot to offer you. And the good news is there is still time to apply.

We know that transfer students have a slightly different needs and concerns than students who are entering college for the first time. Because of this, UNF has a Transfer Student Services Center just for you. The office is located in our One-Stop Student Services Center. Transfer admissions coordinators are happy to help you make the transition as easy as possible.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and set up a time to connect at transfer@unf.edu or (904) 620-5555. Or visit us at UNF in Hicks Hall from 8 a.m. To 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also apply at http://www.unf.edu/admissions/transfer/. Don’t forget, a completed application must be submitted with required official documents by Aug. 8. And those transfer scholarships? Be sure to ask about them when you connect with an admissions coordinator.

We are ready to help you every step of the way through the process. Just call, click or visit today to get started.

We can’t wait to help you become an Osprey!

Apply in July and Beat the Rush

Insta-AIJ-2015Did you know UNF began accepting applications for the 2016-2017 school year on July 1? Throughout the month, the UNF admissions team has been traveling throughout Florida meeting with students who are interested in UNF. And we want to invite you to join us at one of the upcoming events!

During Apply in July events, we bring UNF and the admissions process to you! This is an excellent opportunity to meet with and hear from UNF faculty, staff and students. Have questions about admissions standards? We’ve got you covered. Unsure of financial aid? We have the answers. Sounds good, right?

Participating in Apply in July is easy.
1. Find an event close to you at www.unf.edu/welcomecenter/ApplyinJuly and register online so that we know you are coming!
2. Go ahead and submit your UNF application online. Don’t forget all the necessary documents such as official transcripts and test scores. You will find a full list on the application website. If all of your documents are submitted with your application, we may be able to give you a decision at the event. If not, we will be able to help you strategize about ways to apply successfully in the future.

Ready to join us? Below is a list of dates, times and locations for the remaining events. Hope to see you there!

Tampa | July 16 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Tampa East Brandon

St. Petersburg | July 21 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park

South Orlando | July 22 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn at Seaworld

Lake Mary | July 23 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Marriott Orlando Lake Mary

Pensacola | July 28 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Pensacola Airport/Medical Center

Panama City | July 29 – 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn Panama City

Don’t worry. If you can’t make it to one of these events or missed the opportunity in your own town, just give us a call. Our Admissions Coordinators are always happy to provide assistance. We love UNF, and know you will too. We want to make the application process as easy as possible. Just let us know what we can do to help.

Free Advice for Freshmen

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As a recent UNF grad, I’d like to think I have lots of valuable advice to share with all the new Ospreys. For the incoming freshmen, this is an exciting time in your life, a new chapter. You are officially on your own, making your own choices and decisions. Although I’m sure you will be just fine, here’s some free advice I wish someone would have given me four years ago.

  1. Cutting class causes more stress later in the semester. GO TO CLASS.
  2. Go to your professor’s office hours when they are offered. You’ll thank yourself later. Not only will they be able to get to know you better, you can form professional relationships with them. A good recommendation letter from a professor who knows you is priceless down the road.
  3. Read the syllabus. I repeat, READ THE SYLLABUS.
  4. Your new favorite word is free. Go to the events with free food. They are great places to meet people. And for some reason if you don’t meet anyone, hey, free food.
  5. Learn how to say yes to hanging out with new people and trying new things. You will never look back on your freshman year and regret the times you said yes, I guarantee it.
  6. If you’re unhappy with your major, don’t be afraid to change it. I had a close friend who changed her major four times and still graduated on time. Even if it puts you a year behind, isn’t it worth it to major in something you enjoy?
  7. Make time everyday to work out, walk, bike or do some form of exercise. Your health is important and being active will always make you feel better (and help keep off the Freshman 15).
  8. You’re going to feel sad and you’re going to miss home at times. This is OK; it’s normal. There are a lot of people surrounding you who feel the same way.
  9. It’s OK to go home on the weekends if you want, as well. There will always be other parties, beach days or lunch dates with your friends.
  10. Make at least one friend in every class. That way you have someone who can help you out with any notes you missed or be there as a study buddy during crunch time at the library during finals week.
  11. Be nice to your RA, say hi and be friendly. You are going to need his or her help during the semester, guaranteed. You will forget or lose your dorm key at least once.
  12. Explore Jacksonville — there’s so much to do here! Find the hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant, a hidden running trail, a secluded beach or a cool candy shop.
  13. Say yes to spring break trips and random road trips — those are some of the best times in college. If money is an issue, just pack a lot of PB&J sandwiches.
  14. The workload is a lot different from high school. Make sure you have a study system and study habits that work for you.
  15. Call your parents at least once a week. Don’t be too cool. They miss you and you miss them too.
  16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  17. Invest in an umbrella and bring it with you on campus. Welcome to Florida, where the sky can go from happy to angry in 0.2 seconds. The worst thing is getting caught at Osprey Café in a thunderstorm when you have to walk back to your residence hall room at the Crossings.
  18. Get an internship. Then get another internship. Get as much experience as you can in your field.
  19. Find a balance between work and fun.
  20. Don’t forget to use your student discount everywhere! You can usually save a few bucks at certain restaurants and other stores by flashing your student ID.
  21. If the opportunity presents itself, study abroad. A semester spent in a different country and culture is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and you’ll learn more than you ever will in a traditional classroom. My travel abroad trips are some of the best experiences of my life.
  22. Be studious.
  23. Be spontaneous.
  24. When you’re working on a paper or project on the computer, press save — a LOT. Trust me, you will not regret this. Back everything up, all the time.
  25. Don’t beat yourself up when you miss a deadline or fail a test. You are in college to learn about yourself and grow as an individual. You won’t grow if you don’t make a few of your own mistakes along the way.

Take all the opportunities you can, Class of 2019! Because before you know it, you will have walked the graduation stage, turned your tassel and find yourself reminiscing about the good ole freshman days of staying up too late and making friends in the dorms. So as you begin the best four years of your life, I wish you the best of luck, ospreys. SWOOP!

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Your College Dictionary

Colleges and universities have a tendency to use words that not everyone understands. What is the difference between merit- and need-based aid and why do I need an academic adviser? Sometimes college terms can be more confusing than learning the difference between meiosis and mitosis in biology class. Let me help by defining a few words that I struggled with understanding as a freshman (and as a sophomore). If there is a word that you wish had been included, feel free to leave a comment so I can respond or add it to the list!

Academic adviser: This person will help you select the correct courses, review the course requirements in the field you have selected to pursue and help you with any academic problems you may encounter. He or she is a great source of advice and guidance in your academic career.

Alumni: What you are going to be in four (or five) years. Well, if you are a woman, you are going to be an alumna and if you are a guy, you are going to be an alumnus, but you get the idea. After graduation, you are not just done with UNF. You will be a part of the 75,000-plus alumni who make up the Ospreys who have flown the nest — successfully.

Blackboard: Not the blackboard that occasionally made that awful screeching noise when your teachers wrote on it with chalk. This Blackboard is an online tool that allows faculty to provide and share resources for students. Essentially, Blackboard (BB) is an online classroom. Almost every class has a Blackboard counterpart. It is the most effective way for professors to communicate with all of their students regarding syllabi, assignments, class updates, reminders and online group discussion forums. You can also check your grades and check the class roster to see who else is in your class.

Blue-and-Gray Wednesdays: Join the student body in wearing your finest UNF apparel for campus spirit day. If you want to paint your whole body blue and spray paint your hair gray, by all means, we aren’t going to stop you. However, we also suggest a classic UNF t-shirt from the Bookstore or a snapback Osprey hat. Whatever you decide to wear, we just want to see your school spirit!

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): A federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. Because of this law, University officials cannot speak to your parents or anyone else about your academic record, financial aid or student account unless you expressly give your permission. You might want to check into this further at One-Stop Student Services.

Flagship Program: Being a Flagship Program for UNF means that the program has been elevated as a stand-out among other programs at the University. These programs receive significantly more funding, resources and attention because they have reached a level of national distinction in both scholarly study and research. UNF’s Flagship Programs include Coastal Biology, International Business, Transportation and Logistics, Nutrition and Dietetics, Music and Nursing.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): An application that is used by the Department of Education to determine a student’s eligibility for federal, state and institutional financial aid. It is often required before a student can be considered for scholarships as well. Make sure to complete your FASFA forms before the deadlines so that you can be eligible for any grants or federal aid. If you have questions about the FAFSA, check with One-Stop.

FTIC: First-Time-in-College student a.k.a. a freshman.

General Education Program: better known as Gen Ed classes. This includes taking the state-mandated 36 credit hours of courses such as English composition, history, math, science and psychology. These courses are usually completed during a student’s first two years at college.

Grant: FREE money! Well, basically. Grants can come from state or federal government, the college itself or from private sources. Unlike a loan, you don’t have to pay back a grant. Many grants are determined based on the results of your FASFA report (so make sure to fill that out!)

Honors Program: An interdisciplinary program designed for high-achieving students that emphasizes experiential and active learning in small classes. Being in the Honors Program provides the opportunity to enroll in fun and different classes like Literature in the Kitchen, Evolution of Florida, Philosophy through Film, Politics of Harry Potter (includes a trip to London) and West Africa Seminar (includes a trip to Ghana). To apply for the Honors Program visit http://www.unf.edu/honorsprogram/.

Loan: If scholarships and grants don’t cover the entire cost of your tuition, you may have to take out a student loan to make up the difference. Federal student loans don’t have to be paid back until you graduate from college. The rates and terms are generally more flexible than private loans. Many students have to take out a student loan at some point, so don’t be afraid to explore this option. Look at it as an investment in your future career. There are two types of loans:

1. Direct subsidized — available to undergraduate students with financial need. Your university determines the amount you can borrow, and the amount may not exceed your financial need. The U.S. Department of Education pays the interest while you’re in school and for the first six months after you leave school.
2. Direct unsubsidized — available to undergraduate and graduate students and there is no need to demonstrate financial need. Your university determines the amount you can borrow based on your cost of attendance and other financial aid you receive. You are responsible for paying the interest.

Major: The program of study a student chooses to focus on for his or her undergraduate degree. Students may apply directly into their academic major or choose to go undeclared before declaring a major.

Market Days: Each Wednesday, Osprey Plaza (near the Student Union) turns into a campus-style vendor market for the UNF students to enjoy. Fellow classmates, local artists and other Jacksonville vendors set up shop for your convenience. You can find food (usually free), live music and entertainment, clothing boutiques, jewelry vendors and more!

Meal Plan: A meal plan helps you avoid starvation during your first year away from mom’s kitchen. UNF offers different meal plan options including the choice of 19, 14 or 10 meals per week. You can use your meal plan at on-campus locations including Chick-fil-A, Papa John’s, the Osprey Café and more! For more details on meal plans visit http://www.dineoncampus.com/unf/.

Merit-based scholarships: Awards made to students who have demonstrated high academic achievement. Your application for admission at UNF is your application for merit-based scholarships.

Minor: A secondary field of study or specialization during an undergraduate program of study. Students can only declare a minor after they have begun classes at UNF.

Need-Based Aid: Aid awarded to students who demonstrate financial need. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) is an important part to receiving this kind of financial aid.

On-campus Housing: UNF provides six on-campus dormitories, which provides convenient campus living for students of all ages. All first-year students are required to live on campus but trust us, you will want to! Class, restaurants, athletic events and other social activities are available at your fingertips, and you won’t even have to use any precious fuel from your gas tank. While our dorms do not offer room service, they are spacious, homey and allow you to get the full college experience. For more information on our housing choices, visit http://www.unf.edu/housing/.

SWOOP: Students With Outstanding Osprey Pride. Bet you didn’t know that our school spirit motion also stands for something! Swooping is the motion associated with being an Osprey student/fan. In order to swoop, you start with your hands in a raised V-shape and proceed to sweep your arms down and out while passionately yelling “SWOOP” with your fellow Ospreys. You best learn the call of the Osprey if you plan on joining the flock!

TLO: Transformational Learning Opportunity. A hands-on experience that allows students to broaden and deepen their intellectual and world views. They may occur within a course, outside of the classroom or both. Whether TLOs happen in or out of the traditional classroom, the common denominator is providing the potential for a significant impact to be made on a student’s professional and personal development.

Undeclared: A student who has not yet declared or decided on a program of study at UNF. It is perfectly normal not to know what you want to major in when you get to college. You have some time to figure it out while you complete your General Education classes! And you can always go meet with your academic adviser for advice.

Undergraduate: a student enrolled in a four-year academic program that leads to a bachelor’s degree.

You’re Graduating. Now What?

With only a month left until graduation, this is the time when reality starts to hit seniors like a ton of bricks. You start to realize that you will have to enter the real world way too soon. No more staying up every night until 2 a.m. eating pizza with friends and then sleeping until 11 a.m. Goodbye student discounts, long holiday breaks and free food, gym access and UNF Student Government-sponsored t-shirts. Cue the mental breakdown.

If you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to a campus that has become like home, then we may have some good news! There is a brand new graduate program that will allow students to expand their knowledge while extending their beloved college years. The program allows students to enroll in a master of arts in international affairs. See the flyer below for more information.

MAIA

The program is an excellent way to prepare for life in a global economy. It will teach you how to think critically, analyze world events and learn more about what is happening around you. It will prepare you for further study or for a career in the government, international organizations and businesses and education. If you are not ready to leave just yet, this might be the perfect program for you. We aren’t ready for you to leave either, so consider applying today. But hurry, there are a limited amount of spots available and they are filling up quickly!

Benefits of Attending Orientation

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Congratulations! You have survived the wild jungle we call high school and you’re now entering the scary rainforest called college. Just kidding, college is great — no seriously, it’s awesome. But before you jump right into this next chapter, we want to help you prepare for a successful academic and social career at UNF through our on-campus orientation.

Freshmen orientation is basically a rite of passage every incoming college freshman should experience. At this time in your life, moving from high school senior to college freshman may be exciting, but it can also be a little intimidating. Maybe you’re nervous about finding your way around campus or making new friends. Don’t worry, we promise you aren’t the only freshman worried about these things, even if no one else will admit it. To make this transition a little easier, our Orientation Team Leaders (OTLs) will guide you through orientation, helping you effortlessly become academically and socially integrated to campus, experience a real college class and meet other new Ospreys who could become your future best friends in college.

Orientation offers many beneficial opportunities for you. But first you need to sign up. Follow these simple instructions to register for your orientation date.

Still not convinced it’s worth your time?

  1. You can make friends before the semester starts. By attending orientation, you can meet other incoming freshmen that are feeling just as awkward (or excited) as you are. Bond over that mutual feeling so that when you are still best friends during your senior year, you’ll look back and laugh at how your friendship started during the icebreaker at freshman orientation. You might even meet your future roommate.
  2. You will know your way around campus before arriving on campus this fall. OTLs will guide you around campus while also providing history and fun facts about our University. They’ll share their favorite hangout spots, nicknames of certain buildings and the locations of the best places to study. After your guided tour, you will already know that Building 4 is not even close to Building 5 and that there is no Building 13. Sometimes the layout of campus doesn’t make sense, but at least you’ll know that before you need to find your classes the first day of the semester.UNF Biological Sciences
  3. You can experience a real college class. During orientation, you will have the opportunity to sit in on a classroom experience to get a feel for the rigor of academic life.
  4. You will be able to learn about various campus activities. At orientation there will be plenty of information about our campus life and all the ways you can get involved in student organizations. Thinking about joining one of our 200-plus clubs? Interested in Greek Life? How about Student Government? Feel free to ask your OTL about ways to get involved.
  5. You will receive help with class registration. You’ll meet with an academic adviser who will help you pick out your classes for your first semester. It’s pretty exciting when you realize that you’re not in high school anymore and you can set your own schedule. Goodbye 6 a.m. alarm clock, hello 10 a.m. History of Rock class. Before you attend your orientation, make sure to do some research on the majors and minors we have available by browsing through our online course catalog.
  6. You will be able to experience residence hall life. During our two-day orientation program sessions, you will be able to experience life in a residence hall. We will host you overnight in one of the seven residence halls on campus and you will be able to truly experience what life is like as a member of our resident campus community. You will never want to leave.
  7. And you can take care of unfinished business. Any additional questions, comments or concerns you have can be taken care of with a quick visit by our One-Stop office or by asking an OTL ­— they basically know everything.

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Tips for while you are at Orientation:

  • Talk to upperclassmen if you can, especially your OTLs. It might be intimidating to approach them but they have lots of valuable advice to offer if you just ask. Ask for tips about how to get involved, which classes will give you the best academic advantage, where to hang out on the weekends or the student traditions we have here at UNF.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for contact info of the other students. Seriously, do it. Keep in touch on Facebook, follow them on Instagram and get their number. That way, during the first week of class you can reach out and maybe go to the Boathouse for lunch or go paddleboarding in between classes. Or you may never hang out with them again. But at least you will be able to contact someone you know (kind of) if you need to connect with a familiar face during the first week.
  • During orientation, you will have your photo taken for a student ID, your Osprey 1Card. Ladies, this is your warning to fix your hair the way you like or touch-up your make-up because you’ll use this card frequently throughout your college years here.
  • Come prepared with a fun fact, or an adjective that starts with the same letter as your name. Why? Because chances are you will have to use it during an icebreaker at least once. And if not, you can save it for the first week of class because professors like to use icebreakers too.

We're waiting for you!

Orientation is the perfect chance for us to help prepare you for a successful first year of college. But we can’t help you if you aren’t here. So what are you waiting for? Sign up for your orientation date now. We can’t wait to see you!

Honors: To Join or Not to Join?

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From the outside looking in, the Honors Program may seem like an elite, exclusive club for the geniuses, overachievers and highly intelligent students. It can seem slightly intimidating to join an academic program that wants students to “develop rigorous and comprehensive critical thinking” during their freshmen year. Before I already scare you off, let me clarify: critical thinking doesn’t mean thinking so hard you get a searing headache, it simply means analyzing a concept or idea beyond your original interpretation. In my experiences as a fourth-year Honors student, I can attest that the Honors Program is not just structured for Albert Einstein-type minds or designed to stress you out, it’s for anyone willing to think outside the box and make a concentrated effort to expand his or her view of the world. I would say the key difference between Honors and non-Honors courses is that in Honors, you aren’t trying to merely pass the course; you are genuinely seeking insightfulness and pursuing personal enrichment.

The value of UNF’s Honors Program is something that does not receive enough recognition, nor are the benefits are emphasized enough. Participating in Honors courses provides the challenges necessary to stay motivated and stimulated, but without an incredible amount of work. I think often times new college students shy away from pushing themselves academically and want to sign up for the easy courses with the professors who don’t take attendance or give quizzes. Not to sound like your mom here, but you’re in college to challenge yourself. There are so many benefits of joining the Honors Program; you’d be silly not to at least give it a chance.

Advantages

Honors travel grants: The Honors Program has created special opportunities for its students to study abroad. Each year, students are offered opportunities to take classes in various countries including Ghana, Greece and China. (I’ve been to both Ghana and Greece and they were experiences of a lifetime that helped shape my future career endeavors.) In addition to travel scholarships, Honors offers special funding opportunities to enable students to learn through internships and research.
Cooler classes: No, seriously. I am currently taking the Honors course Food Subcultures and it’s the most fun and interesting class I’ve ever taken. So far we have made grilled cheese sandwiches with an iron, our professor brought us homemade chocolate chip cookies, we’ve eaten oranges, avocados, star fruit and many other produce items, plus taken field trips to cow farms, elementary schools and a cannery. Jealous yet? Past Honors courses include Politics of Harry Potter, Intro to Forensic Sciences and Philosophy through Film. Many of the courses include a field-trip component; something I bet you thought you’d never get to do again after elementary school.
Group projects: Say goodbye to the days where you did all the research, put together a PowerPoint and presented the project because no one else in your group contributed any effort towards the assignment. When there are group projects in Honors, you don’t have to worry about being the only student who does all the work to make sure the group gets an A. You are working with like-minded individuals who are bound by a common priority to further their education — and keep their grades up. This might actually be the best benefit of joining Honors.
Even smaller classroom sizes: UNF already offers a 20-to-1 student-to-faculty ratio, but Honors classes are even more tight-knit than that. It’s so great getting individualized attention, and the professors will go above and beyond to help or give guidance and advice. The community developed within Honors classrooms is unlike anything found in a regular classroom. The respect and support you gain from classmates and your professors are unmatched academic relationships. I’ve even been able to create very beneficial mentorships with my Honors professors, who are always looking out for your best interests and seek to help you academically and in the career world.

What does it mean to be an Honors student?
Everyone gets something different out of being an Honors student. For me, it means working with professors who know you by name and remember you through your college years. It means traveling to other countries in order to understand foreign cultures and make international friendships. Being in Honors means being supported by faculty, participating in intellectual discussion, being surrounded by students who motivate you to think deeper and receiving that Honors diploma, cord and transcript upon graduation. The UNF Honors Program has helped me become a more culturally educated citizen of the world we live in. I have learned to think outside the box, and push myself out of my comfort zone.

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2014 Study Abroad in Athens, Greece

Being a part of the Honors program doesn’t mean you are expected to live like a hermit in the library (although some people really just love Tommy G.) or swap weekend activities with your friends for reading pages of ancient Greek literature. Honors courses will challenge you, but not to the point of a mental breakdown.

If I successfully convinced you that joining Honors would be the second-best choice of your collegiate career (first-best being the decision to become an Osprey, duh), then fill out your Honors application now! If I haven’t persuaded you to become a member of the Honors Program just yet, please scroll to the top of the page and read this blog again. Maybe you missed all the perks I listed.

Pre-orientation Must Do: Meal Plan Contract

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New student orientation is fun and exciting. It is also very busy and a little hectic. For that reason, students must complete several items prior to attending. Among other things, submitting a Meal Plan Contract is one of them: Continue reading

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