In high school I was told I wouldn't get into UF. It was as if UF was on the plan of an Ivy league school, but its far from a decent school for my major. I went to a community college where I pulled all As and Bs and got into UF. Not without trouble though, these people aren't the brightest. They rejected me because I failed to answer an email of theirs regarding what class I was going to take... Really? Send something that important in an email and not a letter? Why did that matter anyway? I told them several times my option anyway and they simply didn't listen. I had to deal with this while I was in Germany doing an independent study and had internet maybe 1 time every other week.
Other majors may have better resources, but mine was so horribly poorly funded I couldn't complete my major here. Language requires a lot of resources and money. I choose UF for its apparent "budget", its reputation, study abroad, club, faculty reviews, library, and language lab.
Well, they cut out a massive amount of their programs and classes from the language department and several other departments. They include the computer science, philosophy, arts, music, and humanities. I can not even remain a full time student because they simply don't have enough classes that count toward my major. The TA's tend to be awesome, but its really a 50/50 shot. One of them was mediocre (knew her stuff but didn't know how to teach) and the other was simply amazing and the best so far. I learned more from him than I did the Dr. Professor. The funds simply go to sports or their research.
The rep it has is really inflated. Its only good in its sciences and sports. That also depends on the science. Most of the professors suck, plan and simple. Experts who can't communicate or teach. The good ones are hard to get classes with because everyone flocks to them. Are they all bad? Of course not, some amazing professors! But not without its poor ones. This is typical of most schools though, the good and the bad. The problem is, with its reputation, this school shouldn't have that problem on the same level.
Now the study abroad opportunities are a mixed bag as well. The semester long programs are VERY good and well worth it. Depending on your major or language preference, the head of department for that can affect the quality. Most of the Language abroad programs are excellent. The shorter ones though are nearly as expensive and last only a week to 6 weeks and that is much less cost effective and generally too rushed. Unless its the only ones available in the department, try for longer studies.
My language was suppose to have a club. Many of them are not very active and some are so inactive they are impossible to get a benefit from because they don't do anything.
I researched the program prior to applying. I knew all the credentials of my professors in the department. I decided that a few inexperienced or poor student reviews were expected of any school. The problem is that many of the language programs are underfunded and the format of the class has to change. Many are now "hybrid" classes although they say its an in-class lecture. This simply doesn't work for many students. Your paying and working to interact with these experts in their field... Instead your wallowing around talking to someone who knows as much (if that) as you and not improving your accent. I learned nothing in higher classes besides how to expect a bad grade and no help. The rules that are set down, the professors must follow it, regardless if the students are benefiting.
For the most part, the library is amazing. Study rooms, computers, amazing collection for the most part. Awesome in 95% of the subjects you can study at UF. If you are in a major with a small population of students, the library is largely useless. Most of the minority languages have no updated material.
For those that are language majors, go visit the language lab before enrolling. Ask for the material. There was NOTHING for me of updated material. They handed me an ancient dictionary and grammar book that contains such old language I got marked wrong for using it. Other languages are worse off.
If you are accepted into a major that has good funding and population, then if you can afford it and don't mind the quality not living up to the rep, then at least you will get the name of UF on it. If you are not in a popular major beware. The money and budget is horribly abused and wasted on non-vital stuff when VITAL things need fixing. Poor management.
The campus is okay as far as safety. I did not live on campus but if you pay for the better housing it is pretty safe. I hear of problems in the more communal living. Still, crimes are pretty regular. Your get them sent to your phone. There is rape, sexual assault, etc. on campus. If you're irresponsible about yourself, you bet somethings going to happen. Act responsible to avoid these people and keep cautious and you'll be fine. Campus security is poor in my opinion. The city of Gainesville isn't safe nor horrible, just kinda typical city crime. Lots of beggars and petty theft. I wouldn't over worry if you use your common sense.Overall its an okay school. If your in one of their popular majors then you will be fine. Don't expect the best, but it will be good. If your aren't, then find somewhere else. Tuition hikes are every year, so prepare for that. If you don't mind being a number, like me, you will enjoy relatively small class sizes except in the most popular classes.