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.