Flagler College St Augustine
Flagler College St Augustine - Comments and Student Experiences|
The only thing Flagler College is concerned about is your money. They will not, and do not, care about your education or residence experience as a student, at least the administrative offices do not.
Flagler College was my top choice school. I put all my effort into getting accepted, meticulously planning out my finances for the next four years, getting everything I would need for dorm life together, and making sure that I would have a smooth and pleasant four years to come.
When I was accepted, I walked into Flagler College with high expectations and wide eyes, my hopes set on fulfilling my dreams. Quickly I realized that I would be greatly disappointed.
I'll start with the initial fish hook the school dangles in front of prospective students.
I understand that schools want to show off the best of what they have to offer to help draw in students, but what Flagler does is hide everything that might be viewed as the slightest bit unsavory from the prospective students in hopes that once they attend, they'll just get over the issues -- major or minor. For example, they don't even let you into Kenan Hall during the initial tours (one of the main academic buildings) because it reeks of spoiled fish year round, is relatively unclean, and has issues with it's AC. Flagler hooks its potential students with it's beauty. Its all cosmetic. When I first toured the school before I was accepted, I remember coming home and the only thing I could remember was "Damn that school was so beautiful". I remember being told nothing about their extracurricular programs, nothing in depth about residential life (The fact that there are strict rules about opposite sexes visiting rooms), nothing about student activities, nothing about their general education requirements, nothing in depth about the programs they actually offer. Maybe five minutes were spent in one of the largest dorm room the school offered, and the Student Center, before the focus turned strictly towards "Look isn't our campus beautiful?". The rest of the tour is your guide leading you around the outside of the school, through the domed entry hall, and through the high-vaulted, hand-painted, beautiful dining room. They intend on leaving you with the impression that you'll be studying and residing in the same standards of those who stayed in the hotel when it was first built. A notion that will leave you sorely disappointed once they have your money and you actually live there.
The administration is horrible with communication and very unfriendly. They express no desire to work with you on fully informing you of financial options for aid or payment, school requirements, and program specifics on ANYTHING. Finances included.
I got a taste of this lovely fact once I was accepted. I was offered a deal where (since I lived in a close proximity to the campus) I could commute for the first half of the semester, and the school would offer me a housing grant to cover the cost of living there the next semester (Since Flagler College REQUIRES you to stay on campus your first year). Personally, I do not have a lot of access to money. I paid out of pocket whatever wasn't covered by my FAFSA and Scholarship aid (Which was well over 3,000 that I worked my ASS off for), so the offer seemed like a no-brainer to take.
That was my first mistake.
Flagler College requires you to have a meal plan when you reside on campus. They failed (at least for me) to mention that little stinger during my tour. However, not only was it not mentioned to me initially that this housing grant did not cover any meal plan, but after I was informed, I was told by two different people that I would still have to pay for the full meal plan for the first semester even though I was not residing on campus after having been assured I would not have to obtain a meal plan if I was commuting. It took me the entire Orientation week (the time where I should be focused on getting accustomed to the school, not worrying about communication errors that were not my fault and stressing about where I was going to pull the money for the extra cost just dumped on me) to figure out that no, I did not need to pay for a meal plan if I was commuting the first semester. A problem that could have been solved in a day.
Since then, I had been in contact over the phone with a administrative officer about options for meal plans for the next semester because I had a shortcoming on my finances due to personal reasons. I had been told that there were what she stated were "30 meal packages" where if I pay 300 dollars, I get 30 meals in the dining hall that I can use whenever I wanted. I thought that was much more affordable than the whopping four grand they wanted for the full meal plan, so I planned my finances to be able to afford that meal plan, and inform the woman that this plan is the one I want to take.
The end of the first semester rolls around, and with a quick check of my Student Account I find that not only was I charged for a full meal plan for the second semester, but I was charged for the FIRST semester as well, after going through an entire, week-long ordeal at the beginning of the semester to figure out if I needed to pay for a meal plan or not.
I first go to my Financial Aid advisor to resolve the issue, only to be told to go to Student Accounts, who then told me I needed to see the Dean, who then told me I needed to go back to Student Accounts. Thoroughly frustrated, I end up being told to go talk to the Dean once again, that he was the person who would solve the issue, and all would be well. The second I sit in the office and talk to him about the issue I'm met with cold, uncaring and unconcerned behavior. I was talked down to like a child, as if I had no idea how to handle my finances and my own issues, and after a bit of going back and forth about what the problem actually WAS (he, for some reason, kept thinking that I had resided on campus and just wanted a different meal plan), he reluctantly offered to give me the smallest meal plan they offered (which was 3,000) because the plan I had initially picked and had been told was fine was only for commuters.
I'm told that I must pay for the small meal plan or I cannot attend the school because I absolutely HAD to stay on campus for the second semester, as agreed upon taking the offer the school gave me.
A small miscommunication made because an administrator couldn't be bothered to fully inform me (which they SHOULD have done because, well, it is what they're paid to do, and it is what I'm paying over 25,000 a year for) cost me three grand that I am still struggling to pay.
The school's answer to a payment plan is forcing you to agree to a two-month or four-month installment plan where you divide up the cost of what you owe over two payments a month. A flawed system that expects a person who was not able to pay ex amount of money in one month to be able to afford two payments a month of 400-500-600 dollars in two months. They do not offer extensions without a hassle of paperwork and further opportunity for miscommunication, and anything that has anything to do with money at Flagler College ends up becoming a very slow, tedious process. Nothing is explained in great detail, most of the women who work in student accounts talk down to students like children, and there is a widespread disrespect and disregard towards the students throughout the campus by administration.
Residential life and the dining hall also is NOT worth what you pay for.
While I didn't have to pay for residential commodities, I was and still am (Because of that "small" miscommunication) paying for horrible food that caused me to spend more nights on the toilet seat than at my desk.
During your tour and Orientation week, the guides will talk up the dining hall like its a Disney experience. It is definitely not, and you should not let yourself be fooled. The dining hall employees often look unhygienic, and the food deteriorates in quality as the semester drags on. Your first meal at Flagler will be the one and only good meal, anything after that is sub-par at best. I've been served undercooked chicken, overcooked soggy vegetables, spoiled (or close to it) "fresh" sandwich ingredients, and runny egg product that's mixed with tap water to last longer. Nothing you eat in the dining hall will be worth the ridiculous prices Flagler requires, and many petitions have been made by the student body that have gone ignored by administration. (Did I forget to mention the administrations complete and utter lack of care towards their student body?)
Aside for horrible food, there is virtually nothing interesting happening on campus. Most of the events that had taken place during my stay turned out to be small, poorly planned socials that have an uncanny resemblance to the middle-school dances and festivities my old outdated middle school principle would put on.
The only thing relatively interesting were the intramural programs put on that included yoga, zumba, tai chi, basket ball, soccer, and football (to name a few off the top of my head). If you're not athletic, theres not much else going for you at this school in terms of things to do on campus.
Residing in any residential hall is hell, whether you live in the old FEC towers or Ponce hall. If you're a male, you could luck out and get into Cedar hall, which is the only relatively decent residency that Flagler provides. I had been lucky enough to stay in FEC, the better of the two female residencies, only because it had a room AC unit you could control yourself. Both Ponce and FEC were disgusting, roaches infesting the place, and Im more than sure that the laundry rooms and stair wells have not seen so much as a broom in a decade.
If you had any hopes of doing any kind of laundry, leave them at the door. The FEC towers consist of three, four-story towers that all connect though hallways on the ground level. There are only five washers and five dryers to accommodate the amount of people who live in those buildings. It doesn't matter what time you go, there will always be at least two other people doing laundry, it is a very rare occurrence to find more than one washer or dryer open at a time.
One other thing that Flagler College will not tell you until last minute: your housing is not guaranteed, and if you are an out of state student who cannot afford to live off campus, you better make sure you get your name on the top of their "housing list". Once you are no longer a Freshman, Flagler College cares even less about you, and only have a limited number of spaces available to offer to returning students because of their requirement for new students to live on campus. You would think with a college so small they would not have such a ridiculous and wasteful housing requirement, but they do.
Flagler College's transfer rate is astounding, especially for first year students, and the meal plan and housing requirements are where the school makes their money because of this. Rather than focusing on bettering things about their school, they focus on funneling the most people through their system as possible in hopes that more will stay than last year. Its not a hard thing to spot, and it shows everywhere.
If you decide to transfer out of Flagler College, I would recommend you do it within your first semester of attending because otherwise, you're going to waste a substantial amount of money. Most of my credits are not transferring to my new college because of the requirement incompatibilities, something you're going to find with most colleges when transferring.
The library hours are also inconvenient. Closing as early as noon sometimes on the weekends and at 8:00pm during the weekdays. Some classes go on until 8:00pm, so if you're a person who likes to study in the library, make sure you do not take any afternoon classes. The only time the library is open a decent amount of time is during midterms and finals, and only the week of, not before.
The student body consists mainly of snobby, uptight liberals and conservatives who will plague your ears with nonsensical political and social "facts" they'd found on the internet (I.e tumblr and the like).
Flagler's academic programs are average at best. You are mostly paying for the maintenance of the school grounds rather than the studies you're attending for. A lot of outdated equipment aside from a few nice mac-labs (a few of which reserved for specific majors). Teachers seem to be disinterested in their subjects, and most lectures I've had are either so dry it hurts, or so inter-personal I don't know if I've tuned into an episode of Oprah or Dr. Phil. There is a colorful array of personalities amongst the staff, though, not all professors are gray and dull. I have had at least six out of a total of ten professors impress me with their passion and interest in the subject they teach.
Flagler college also has a "level" system for their classes, 100 level usually being strictly gen-ed, and the 400 level being the more challenging and point-focused.
Though most teachers are unnecessarily uptight about what they are teaching, and a few believe (judging based off of myself and a group of friends' experiences), that the subject material that they are teaching are superior to that of any other classes you may be taking, and blow their class expectations completely out of proportion. It is one thing to expect greatness and success from your students, its another to make the class so difficult only 30 percent of your students can pass the tests. I found that out of the 12 classes I have taken at Flagler, only 5 were reasonably challenging. The rest were either way under or way over their expectations. I took a 100 level art history class that had the expectations and difficulty of what my 400 level class should have had. It was unreasonably difficult. If you're a sensible person, look elsewhere to spend the amount of money you would for Flagler College. Most of the people I have talked to have had similarly bad experiences with their time at Flagler.