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University of Tampa:  A Goldilocks University

Updated: Mar 19

Is the State flagship university too big for you, but the private liberal arts college too small? Do you want to be close to an urban area but not feel like you're in an urban area? Then the University of Tampa might be just right for you!

Man on building in Tampa


At around 10,000 undergraduates, the University of Tampa falls in the category of mid-size universities.  Unlike many of those universities, the University of Tampa is not a Jesuit university.


The University of Tampa is located near downtown Tampa, yet the campus has a slight suburban resort feel.  In fact, one of the main buildings on the campus was formerly a low-rise upscale hotel.  The campus is not integrated into the city the way New York University or Boston University are.  Unlike George Washington University’s downtown DC campus, the University of Tampa has considerable green space.

University of Tampa volleyball and basketball


University of Tampa Academics


The University of Tampa has four colleges:


  • College of Arts and Letters

  • Sykes College of Business

  • College of Natural and Health Sciences

  • College of Social Sciences, Mathematics, and Education


The College of Arts and Letters includes BFA programs in Musical Theater, Film and Media Arts, and Graphic Design. The most popular majors on campus are at Sykes:  Finance, Marketing, and International Business.  Another particularly interesting major at Sykes is Business Information Technology.  Admission to the nursing program at the College of Natural and Health Sciences happens sophomore year, and it is very competitive.  Not surprisingly, the nursing program boasts a high pass rate on the nursing exam year after year. 

Sykes College of Business


The average class size is 22.  While there are Teaching Assistants (TAs), they assist and mentor rather than teach the class.


University of Tampa Admissions


Admission to the University of Tampa is becoming more difficult.  I have a peer counselor who used to send “B” students here, but now advises those students to apply Early Decision if they want to be admitted.  Admission rates to the University of Tampa have been a bit murky over the years, but a colleague of mine reported a drop in the rate from 50 percent to 26 percent. 


The University of Tampa conducts a holistic review, which includes recommendation letters and essays.  I know of a case of a pair of twins who both applied to Tampa.  The twin with a slightly lower academic profile was admitted, while the other was denied admission here.  Why?  Possibly because the twin with the lower academic profile was considerably nicer and likely had better letters of recommendation.


University of Tampa Honors College


The University of Tampa has an honors program.  Applicants are automatically considered for “honors eligible” admission, and Freshmen apply to join the honors program at the end of the year.  In the past, honors-eligible applicants had an Unweighted GPA of 3.7.  In addition, they had at least three Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), or Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) courses.  (Dual Enrollment and high school honors courses do not receive the same weight at Tampa because they are not tested.)


Honors students take approximately seven honors-only classes.  Honors students have a separate core curriculum from other students on campus.  Perhaps most importantly, honors students complete a thesis.  Honors students have separate housing and participate in a symposium. In addition, they help establish the honors curriculum.  Students in the honors program must complete a thesis.


University of Tampa Population


At first glance, the University of Tampa might not seem particularly diverse.  However, applicants are forewarned that the University of Tampa might not be for you if you cannot celebrate differences.  The University offers Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives for its students and staff.  In addition, Hillel and other religious clubs are popular on campus.


Approximately one-half of the students are from Florida.  22 percent of the students belong to Greek organizations, but all Greek housing is off-campus.  In addition, Tampa is “military-friendly.”  It offers ROTC and provides yellow ribbon scholarships.  The most popular club on campus is the Hammock Club.


University of Tampa Affordability


The University of Tampa is one of the more affordable universities in the U.S.  The 2023-24 Cost of Attendance was just over $56 K.  92 percent of students receive some form of financial aid.  Students with a GPA of 3.2 or higher are automatically considered for academic scholarships.  The standard merit scholarship may be as much as $18 K.  The standard merit aid scholarship can be stacked with athletic or arts scholarships.


University of Tampa Careers


Students start working with career services in their sophomore year.  Approximately 10,000 students were offered 20,000 internships at Tampa.  About 95 percent of graduates meet their postgraduate goals (job, graduate school) within six months of graduation.  The strong Florida job market is a plus for graduates who want to stay in Florida.


Educ8Fit Consulting


I work with students and families on the college and graduate school admission process.  I help them navigate such complexities as merit aid and international admissions.  Please contact Educ8Fit Consulting at either or College Admission Counseling | Educ8fit Consulting | United States, contact for a free 30-minute consultation.

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