As UF admission rates drop with the return to in-person classes, Santa Fe College’s are on the rise.
Cynthia Roldan Hernandez, UF media and content strategist, said the university’s acceptance rate for the class of 2026 was roughly 22.8%, a steep drop from last year’s 32.8%.
Santa Fe has already admitted more than 8,000 students for Fall 2022 — 170 more freshmen than the previous year — and applications are still open, Santa Fe recruitment director Quinten Eyman said. He said first-time applications are up 4% this year after taking a hit the last few years, and this year’s application rate is at least on par with, if not more than, what was seen before the pandemic.
The college’s reputation of successful transfers makes it an attractive option for students who wish to attend UF. Santa Fe has the highest percentage of transfers to UF of any college; sixty-eight percent of students who graduate from Santa Fe with their Associates degree successfully transfer to UF, according to Eyman.
Taylor Denton, a 17-year-old incoming biology freshman and aspiring veterinarian, strives to walk across UF’s stage in 2026 with a bachelor's degree. Her journey will begin at Santa Fe.
Denton said UF is her dream school, but she knew she didn’t have the test scores or extracurriculars necessary to get accepted straight out of high school. She decided to attend Santa Fe for her associates degree and transfer to UF in the future.
COVID-19 also plays a prominent role in the number of Santa Fe applicants, Eyman said. The pandemic’s economic impact has left families struggling..
“We try not to pretend that COVID is over,” he said. “Even though we’re seeing it as maybe slightly less of a public health impact, the economic impact is still with us and probably will be for a while.”
He said Santa Fe reaches out to less wealthy students to ensure they are aware of the cheaper alternative Santa Fe provides.
Santa Fe hosts an annual open house around the time UF admissions are released. This year, UF decisions were released Feb. 25, and the Sante Fe open house took place March 19.
Students are given the opportunity to tour campus and meet with program and academic advisers.
There is no one-size-fits-all track that students follow in life, and sometimes community college is the first step one takes.
“Our job is to provide information and inspiration to help bolster aspiration,” Eyman said.
Contact Lindsay Schindler at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @lindsschindler.