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Visiting Eckerd College

I was fortunate to be invited to a "counselor fly-in" to visit several private colleges in Florida. Eckerd College is one of the gems I visited.

Eckerd Location


Eckerd College is located directly on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida.  Your dorm room might have a balcony directly overlooking the water.  Eckerd provides paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, and boats so students can use the campus’s unique location. 


In addition, St. Petersburg is one of Florida’s nicer cities.  St. Petersburg includes a museum specially built to hold Salvador Dali’s large paintings.


Eckerd Campus Population


Eckerd College has a mixed campus population.  Some are people, and many are pets.  Eckerd College has multiple pet-allowed dorms and a special pet graduation ceremony.


“Quirky” individuals are overrepresented here, but most of the students do not seem to be quirky.  Most students come from outside of Florida.  The student population is about 70% female (many in two-piece bathing suits on a nice day outside) and 30% male.  Eckerd offers gender-neutral bathrooms.


The students voted on whether to allow Greek life on campus, and they voted it down.  In an ironic twist, the dorms are named after letters in the Greek alphabet.


Eckerd Academics


Not surprisingly, marine science is a popular major here.  Your lab space is just at the water’s edge.  Marine science offers four concentrations:


·      Marine Biology,

·      Marine Chemistry,

·      Marine Geology, and

·      Marine Geophysics


Animal Studies, International Studies, and Environmental Studies are among other strong and popular majors.


A word of warning – while there are resort amenities and dolphins, your coursework involves more science than kayaking and playing with dolphins.  A student told me that some students did not return for sophomore year because they did not realize the rigor of coursework.


Eckerd Affordability


Like many other Florida private colleges, the Cost Of Attendance of around $65 K is low compared to private colleges elsewhere in the US.  Ninety-five percent of students receive some form of financial aid.  Eckerd automatically considers students for merit aid, and scholarships start with a 3.0 unweighted GPA.  Eckerd lets students “stack” scholarships, so receiving an outside scholarship should not reduce your financial aid.  As is often the case with colleges, Eckerd is unlikely to meet full need for students from economically disadvantaged families.


Eckerd Athletics


Eckerd has Division II sports.  Sports include basketball, soccer, sailing, volleyball, baseball, softball, golf, and tennis.  A little over 10 percent of the students are athletes.  Eckerd is proud to have an average athlete GPA of 3.3.  Eckerd offers some full-ride scholarships to athletes.


Eckerd Disability Services


When I first heard of Eckerd, a professor there described it as a place where a student with ADHD would likely be able to graduate within four years because of the support offered.  There is no charge for the support but be aware that it is not “wrap around.”  About one-quarter of the students are registered as having a disability.


Eckerd Career Assistance


On the career front, Eckerd remains active.  Most students will complete an internship, and some majors require an internship.  About 600-700 students work on campus.  In addition, Eckerd is known for offering research opportunities.


Eckerd alumni are ready to assist students.  18,000 are on LinkedIn, and Eckerd provides 68 career mentors. 


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.


Contact me, follow me on LinkedIn, and join my new Facebook group!

Phone: (703) 850-9319

Personal LinkedIn: Jim Houser | LinkedIn


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