Sarasota, FL
Tuition (in-state)
$29,812 ($6,783)
Admission Difficulty
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Reviews 525 total reviews with an average rating of 3.3

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3 College Junior

Athletics: Sports aren't a very important part of New College life. People will play for fun, but nothing is competitive and few care for football, basketball, and the like.

4 College Junior

Campus Housing: Housing at New College is pretty decent. Our rooms are larger than average and most are pleasant to live in. There are four housing options at NCF: Pei dorms, Letter Dorms, Dort/Goldstein, and B Dorm. The Pei dorms are usually reserved for first years and each of its three courts has its own unique community and personality. The letter dorms are more quiet, spacious, and the newest housing option available. Dort and Goldstein have large common rooms and a kitchen with a stove, fridge, microwave, and sink. B dorm is old and run-down but also cheap and has a strong community- or a lot of bitter thesis students- depending on the year. NCF allows mixed housing and every residence except pei has separate rooms for its occupants (either apartment-style single or with a shared common room). There are also a limited number of studio singles available in the letter dorms.

4 College Junior

Transportation: There is an airport (SRQ) bordering campus which makes long distance travel fairly convenient. It is usually easy to get rides to local destinations from other students. There is a bus line that stops by campus which is free to use for NCF students, most people just ride-share though.

2 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Restaurants close early. Sarasota dining is expensive. Car required to reach anything other than Subway and McDonald's.

4 College Junior

Health & Safety: Students don't get school health insurance but the wellness center is open every day of the week and it is fairly easy to get an appointment. They can't fix a broken arm or put you under the knife, but they will give free medical advise and can prescribe medication. There is also counseling available to students who request it.

5 College Junior

Majors: New College doesn't really have different Major "programs." You declare your Area of Concentration (major) during first semester of third year either from the suggested majors or by making your own based on curriculum from other colleges. Your advising professor and at least one other professor for your field of study must approve whatever major you choose, which means that "Master of Underwater Basket Weaving" isn't going to fly. However, it does allow for combinations and specializations that you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere, such as Chemistry/Classics and Music/Biology. Of course all the normal liberal arts majors are supported and you won't be scoffed at for following a standard class progression- if anything your life will be easier and involve less scrambling to meet niche requirements.

5 College Junior

Majors: My field of study is Chemistry/Computational Science. I'm overall satisfied with my major, but I wish we had more/varied computer science courses. I came to NCF in a time between computer science professors so things have been a bit rough on that end, but we now have a tenure-track professor and will soon be getting another- making this much less of an issue for future students interested in programming. On the chemistry side, all the faculty are extremely competent and I couldn't have asked for better professors. In fact, the reason I switched from biology had to do in large part with encouragement from my chemistry professors and the fascinating world of molecules that they revealed to me. I plan to work for a few years before enrolling in grad school, relying on my thesis, projects, and letters of recommendation to get me in. New College alums have a phenomenal acceptance rate into graduate schools so I am not extremely worried on that end. My field is a bit ambiguous and the job I take will depend on the topic/success of my thesis and what graduate program I enter into.

4 College Junior

Diversity: New College tends to gather people who feel very strongly about diversity, acceptance, and feminism. This generally makes for a environment truly without walls where any forms of discrimination are quickly condemned and the offenders harshly judged. Sometimes, though, the student body can be a bit overzealous and blow events out of proportion. It's a very controversial topic and people have a wide range of opinions on the matter.

5 College Junior

Academics: The New College of Florida has unparalleled academic opportunities for those willing to work for them. Unlike most other undergrad programs, New College puts you in direct contact with your professors- who actively encourage you to visit them to talk about the classes and possible projects. If you have a dream, New College will work with you to make it happen. There are a lot of stories of this on the NCF website and they're anything but uncommon among students. Having written evaluations rather than grades takes a lot of stress out of the courses and encourages students to take classes that would normally fall outside their comfort zone. Professors will write truthfully about your participation and exam scores, though, so don't think you can just slack off. As an honors college, the curriculum is generally a cut above what you'd normally expect and frequent essays, class presentations, and mountains of problem sets are a fact of life. All graduating students must write a thesis relevant to their area of concentration (major) which is strictly judged by your professors. The stress and workload of fourth year is a well-known endeavor which shouldn't be taken lightly.

4 College Junior

Nightlife: The vast majority of parties stay on campus. Every Friday and Saturday there is a themed party called a 'Wall" which often involves costumes or decorations. These events are great for new students trying to find friends and have a good time. Older students usually attend walls semi-frequently to blow off steam and recover from a particularly tough week. There are plenty of non-wall-goers so if parties aren't really your thing you'll still find plenty to do. Drinking isn't strictly regulated and there are no rules against having alcohol in dorms. However, underaged drinking is still very illegal and persons under 21 should weight the risks and rewards of such drinking carefully rather than blindly relying on the school's free-going attitude to protect you. The palm court parties (PCPs) are tri-annual themed parties that are funded by the school and are usually quite elaborate. They attract friends from beyond New College and are typically the liveliest nights of the year.

All this being said, New College is not a party school and if your aim is to get stoned every day and smashed each night- you'll find yourself at odds. Partying is generally done only on the weekends with very few exceptions. Making a ruckus during the middle of the week when others are trying to study is unanimously frowned upon.

3 College Junior

Off-Campus Housing: Almost all students live on campus until their third or fourth year at least. The New College community is something unique and you don't get the full experience from it if you're living off campus. Housing only allows for so many off-campus residents, so your chances of getting off campus as a first or second year are slim without having special considerations. When students do live of campus, its usually with good friends and often as near to campus as they can get. Another reason for living off campus is to minimize distractions during thesis year. Public transportation is unlikely to be available so it's highly recommended that you have an appropriate mode of transportation if living off campus.

5 College Junior

Scholarships: New College is a fairly inexpensive school for in-state students and has great value for the amount you pay. NCF provides some scholarships itself and also qualifies for bright futures and Florida Prepaid. There are also some scholarships given out by the student body to help enrolled students who are in need.

3 College Junior

Computers: The computers on campus range in age from old windows 98 modems with CRT monitors to machines with 64-bit intel i7 processors able to run windows 7 or emulate linux with speed and ease. If you need computers for anything other than basic web-surfing, document writing, or programming- you'll probably want your own. The computer labs have access to some proprietary software (Gaussian 09, matlab) but if your looking for engineering/visual design software, you're fresh out of luck. Wireless is very accessible but uses SafeConnect which seems to randomly discriminate against some computers and can be very annoying to deal with at times. Of course there is no torrenting either, but that isn't out of the ordinary for most colleges. Printing can be done for 10 cents a page at the library or for free in division-specific buildings if you know where to look. Personal computers are definitely highly recommended- but you could survive without unless your area of concentration revolves around computers or certain programs.

3 College Sophomore

Transportation: The bus stop is really conveniently located and public transportation in Sarasota is free to students. However there are many places you can't get to without a car and its easy to feel like you're trapped on campus.

Sarasota's small airport is conveniantly located right across the street (within walking distance easily) from campus and that was a nice perk for sure.

3 College Sophomore

Athletics: The athletic center is small but has everything most people would want or need. Like most buildings at New College it could use some sprucing up but sports really are not a focus on the campus and it does its job just fine.

3 College Sophomore

Campus Housing: The good: Dorms are spacious. If you are not a first year you are pretty much guaranteed to live in an apartment style suite with your own room and a bathroom shared between you and suite-mates. The best dorms also have dishwashers, microwaves and stove tops.

The bad: Dorms are often in bad shape and in need of repairs. It is difficult to get permission to live off campus. Housing lottery is stressful. Housing is expensive. Food is BAD (although they are working to make improvements so fingers crossed).

3 College Sophomore

Nightlife: Not much going on off campus except Growler's (a nearby pub). Sometimes the Walls (parties in the center of the residential side of campus held every Friday and Saturday) are big and fun sometimes they are pretty dull and quiet. Alcohol and drug use is very common. I spend most of my time at parties in a friend's room or just hanging out, watching movies with friends, etc.

College Sophomore

Greek Life: No frats or sororities. Something I think students tend to appreciate.

3 College Sophomore

Computers: The wifi is spotty at best, especially in Pei (the first year dorms). The library is open until 2am most nights and there are usually computers available in there, but if you need to pull an all nighter without a laptop you are basically out of luck. If you put in some serious effort you might be able to have your student ID card encoded to get access to one of the other two computer labs on campus (that I am aware of) but I never figured out how to do this. Printing is 10 cents per page in the library and I found the card system we use to be cumbersome.

The IT people technically are not there to help you if your computer breaks however they are extremely nice people and will often do their best to assist you if they can anyway.

4 College Freshman

Scholarships: There's a reason this school's consistently ranked as a Best Value.

3 College Freshman

Athletics: I'm not aware of sports, but there's tennis, soccer, etc.

3 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: The beaches are some of the best in the country. But the community is mostly split between retirees and the poorer section of the community. It's hard to say what the atmosphere is like.

2 College Sophomore

Majors: The school is in desperate need of money. That will fix most of it's problems, including the majors. There simply is not enough money for all of the majors the school offers. This results in subpar majors across the board.

College Sophomore

Majors: I did not have an internship during my time at New College.

2 College Sophomore

Drug Safety: As a non-drinker, non-smoker, non-drug user, I felt pretty uncomfortable. I didn't feel included in many aspects of social life because the emphasis was often on substances.


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Palm Court
Palm Court
Palm Court Palm Court Palm Court is located in the Pei Residence hall complex and is the center of New College student life.
Photo by Nsb3000 under Public Domain | Source

Overall ExperienceWhat's This?

Taylor Welsh
West Palm Beach, Fl
English Literature/Socioloy
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

New College is a place that students feel either passionately connected to or hopelessly alienated from. There is not a single aspect of New College life that can be considered traditional. From the progressive academics to the alternative social culture, it is a unique setting. This intensity does not bode well for everyone. Many come to New College expecting a utopia and are shocked when the rigorous academics and insularity kick in. Others come because of its academic reputation, oblivious to the fact that it requires a certain type of personality and drive. Not everyone can hack it—many fail out, and many transfer.

Most New College students feel they have made an economical strategic academic choice that will land them a spot in their desired graduate program. While this choice may involve many trade-offs, it is ultimately worth it for those who are free-spirited, independent, and serious about academics. On one hand, New College is small and has comparatively limited financial resources, without the name recognition and household prestige that high-achieving students crave. On the other hand, NCF is an educational bargain that has become nationally recognized. The campus facilitates close contact with professors (a 10-to-1 student/teacher ratio) and has a strong, supportive community. One should be mindful of these realities before deciding to attend. The word is getting out that this little gem in Florida exists. Still, most Novo Collegians believe in the intrinsic value of education, and they believe that their school is providing them with far more intellectually than what many public universities and Ivy League schools can offer. Judging by NCF graduate school admissions rates and Fulbright Scholarships, their belief is not far from the truth.

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