Santa Fe College students’ futures depend on their college admission essays and applications — their life experiences compressed into about 650 words.
However, there is more to transferring than answering a prompt on a college application. When choosing how and where to continue their education, students must consider the requirements and deadlines needed to transfer. Santa Fe students have many ways of transferring to their desired colleges — through the traditional path, Santa Fe’s direct articulation agreements, partnership programs and more.
Santa Fe students’ top transfer choices include UF, University of Central Florida, University of South Florida and others. Out of 27 other Florida state colleges, UF admits the most Santa Fe students, according to the Santa Fe website.
Sergio Arcila, a 20-year-old associate degree Spring graduate from Santa Fe, will be studying computer science at UF this Fall. He said his transfer process started the moment he was admitted to Santa Fe.
“You have to plan your courses accordingly to where you want to go because not every college requires the same classes,” he said.
Arcila said he was accepted to colleges straight out of high school, but UF was not one of them.
“I decided to go to Santa Fe because Santa Fe was in Gainesville,” Arcila said. “I wanted to live life in Gainesville. I wanted to explore what it was like to be a college student and live that college life.”
Arcila sought to make connections in the town, including associations with UF and other universities with Santa Fe’s help.
Santa Fe has five SF2Universities programs that include agreements with the University of North Florida, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of South Florida, University of West Florida and the University of the Virgin Islands.
With the five programs, Santa Fe students are guaranteed admission to the partner universities if all requirements are met, said Thomas Beckwith, a coordinator at Santa Fe’s Academic Advisement Center.
Santa Fe also has two programs that guarantee admission to UF: Gator Engineering and Gator Design and Construction. Students who want to be admitted into one of these programs must apply as freshmen to UF, be accepted into the program and successfully pass critical tracking courses at Santa Fe to be admitted into UF, according to the Santa Fe website.
Paula Mello, a 21-year-old UF English and sustainability studies senior, graduated from Santa Fe in the Fall of 2019 after a year and a half and transferred to UF in the Spring of 2020.
She said she chose Santa Fe because she wanted to be around UF and didn’t want to stay home or attend college with her high school friends.
Mello attended a few Santa Fe transfer events that helped her prepare for transferring.
“I think just having the UF advisers there is really great on Santa Fe’s part,” she said.
Although UF advisers provided guidance, Mello said she would have liked to know more about the courses that were needed to be accepted.
Santa Fe also has an honors program where more than 88% of its graduates enroll at UF, according to the college website.
Jocelyn Standard, a 20-year-old incoming UF elementary education student, said her interest in Santa Fe’s honors program led her to Santa Fe. She said Santa Fe also offered a chance to save money and become familiar with the UF area.
“Santa Fe is still a pretty big campus, but it’s kind of like an in-between step between high school and college,” Standard said. “So, if you have anxiety about going to college like I do, it’s like a really good in-between step to help you get accustomed to everything.”
On top of overcoming anxiety, she said she had to work through her confusion about the application process for her desired program at UF. She graduated in December and was hoping to start at UF in the Spring, but she wasn’t aware that her degree’s program doesn’t begin until the Fall semester, she said.
With the help of her Santa Fe and UF advisers, she was able to correct the confusion and was accepted to UF.
“Everything seemed to perfectly fit together,” she said. “I’m just happy to be transferring to UF.”
Contact Antonia LaRocca at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @antoniarlarocca.
Antonia LaRocca is a staff writer at The Alligator.