University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: An In-Depth Analysis

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

Group of students smiling at the camera.

University of Florida vs the College of William and Mary: An In-Depth Analysis

Choosing the right university is a critical decision that shapes the rest of your life. When you have to decide between two options that each offer a diverse range of academic programs, distinguished faculty, research opportunities, and extracurricular activities, it can be a challenging process. In this article, we will provide an in-depth comparison between the University of Florida vs the College of William and Mary, two prestigious universities with unique histories and strengths that attract a diverse range of students from across the world.

Location and Campus Comparison

The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, a vibrant city in north-central Florida, approximately 70 miles from Jacksonville. The campus sits on 2,000 acres and is home to 16 colleges that provide a diverse selection of degree programs for students. With a student population of nearly 56,000, UF is a large university with numerous resources and opportunities for students to explore. In comparison, the College of William and Mary is situated in Williamsburg, Virginia, about 150 miles from Washington DC. The campus spans over 1,200 acres and is home to six schools, including arts and sciences, business, education, law, marine sciences, and public policy. William and Mary’s student population is just over 8,000, giving it a more intimate atmosphere.

Smart Young Boy Works on a Laptop For His New Project in His Computer Science Class.

Despite the differences in size and location, both universities offer unique opportunities for students. The University of Florida is known for its strong research programs and has partnerships with numerous companies and organizations, providing students with hands-on experience in their fields of study. On the other hand, the College of William and Mary is recognized for its strong liberal arts education and has a long history of producing successful leaders in various industries. Both universities have a strong sense of community and offer a range of extracurricular activities for students to get involved in, from sports teams to student organizations.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Admissions Comparison

When it comes to admissions, the University of Florida is a bit more competitive than the College of William and Mary. In 2020, UF’s acceptance rate was 34.5%, and the average SAT score for admitted students was 1360. The average ACT score was 30. In comparison, the College of William and Mary had an acceptance rate of 38%, with an average SAT score of 1440 and an average ACT score of 32. Both universities have rigorous academic standards and require applicants to submit a competitive application that includes essays, transcripts, and test scores.

However, there are other factors that prospective students should consider when choosing between these two universities. For example, the University of Florida has a larger student body, with over 52,000 students enrolled in 2020, while the College of William and Mary has a smaller student body of around 8,600 students. This may impact the overall campus culture and the availability of resources and extracurricular activities.

Additionally, the location of each university may also be a deciding factor for some students. The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, a mid-sized city in northern Florida, while the College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, a historic town in southeastern Virginia. Students may prefer one location over the other based on factors such as climate, proximity to major cities, and local culture.

Tuition Costs and Financial Aid Comparison

For in-state tuition, the University of Florida is more affordable. In 2021-2022, undergraduate tuition at UF was $6,381 per year for Florida residents and $28,659 per year for out-of-state students. In comparison, the College of William and Mary’s tuition for both in-state and out-of-state students was $23,628 in 2020-2021. Both universities offer a range of financial aid and scholarship opportunities to support students who need help paying for their education.

It’s important to note that the cost of tuition is not the only factor to consider when choosing a university. The quality of education, campus resources, and location are also important factors to take into account. The University of Florida is located in Gainesville, a mid-sized city in northern Florida, while the College of William and Mary is located in Williamsburg, a historic town in southeastern Virginia.

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Additionally, both universities have unique programs and opportunities that may appeal to different students. For example, the University of Florida is known for its strong programs in agriculture, engineering, and business, while the College of William and Mary is known for its strong programs in law, public policy, and international relations.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Faculty, Departments, and Programs Comparison

Both the University of Florida and the College of William and Mary boast distinguished faculty members, world-renowned research programs, and a broad range of academic programs. UF has 16 colleges, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Levin College of Law, with a comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate degrees. William and Mary has six schools, including the School of Arts and Sciences, Mason School of Business, and School of Law, that offer undergraduate and graduate programs in fields such as humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics.

One of the unique features of the University of Florida is its strong emphasis on research. UF is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the top 10 public research universities in the United States. The university has over 150 research centers and institutes, including the Emerging Pathogens Institute, the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and the McKnight Brain Institute.

On the other hand, the College of William and Mary is known for its small class sizes and personalized attention to students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 11:1, and the average class size is 24 students. This allows for more individualized attention and opportunities for students to work closely with faculty members on research projects and other academic pursuits.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Student Life and Activities Comparison

Both UF and William and Mary have numerous extracurricular activities and organizations for students to participate in. UF has over 1,000 clubs and organizations, including academic, service, and recreational clubs, which provide students with ample opportunities to engage with their peers and explore their interests. At William and Mary, there are more than 400 student-led organizations, including service organizations, media clubs, and honor societies. Both universities have strong Greek life communities that give students a chance to connect with others who share similar interests.

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Aside from the clubs and organizations, UF also offers a wide range of student life activities such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events. The university has a strong athletic program, with 21 varsity sports teams that compete in the NCAA Division I. Students can also participate in intramural sports and fitness classes at the campus recreation center.

Similarly, William and Mary has a vibrant campus life with a variety of events and activities throughout the year. The university hosts an annual homecoming weekend, which includes a parade, football game, and other festivities. Students can also attend concerts, theater productions, and art exhibits on campus. Additionally, the university has a strong tradition of community service, with many students participating in volunteer programs both on and off campus.

Athletics Programs and Facilities Comparison

UF and William and Mary have robust athletics departments that offer students a chance to participate in sports and support their fellow athletes. UF is home to the Florida Gators, one of the most competitive college sports programs in the country, with 21 sports teams, including football, basketball, baseball, track and field, and swimming. William and Mary competes in Division I athletics and offers sports, including basketball, football, soccer, and track and field. Both universities have modern athletics facilities and stadiums that provide an engaging and dynamic atmosphere for students, alumni, and visitors.

UF’s athletics program has a strong focus on student-athlete success both on and off the field. The university has a high graduation rate for its student-athletes and provides academic support services to ensure their success in the classroom. Additionally, UF’s athletics department has a strong commitment to community service, with student-athletes participating in various volunteer activities throughout the year.

William and Mary’s athletics program has a unique focus on sustainability and environmental responsibility. The university has implemented several green initiatives in its athletics facilities, including the use of solar panels and rainwater harvesting systems. The athletics department also encourages its student-athletes to participate in environmental service projects and promotes sustainability education among its fans and supporters.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Career Services and Opportunities Comparison

Both UF and William and Mary have comprehensive career services offices that provide students with resources and guidance to prepare them for successful job searches. UF’s career services include offerings, such as career coaching, internship placements, and job fairs, that help students navigate job searches in their field of study. William and Mary’s career services department offers similar services, including career exploration guidance, resume reviews, and interview preparation assistance, helping students develop the necessary skills for job searches.

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However, UF’s career services office also offers a unique program called Gator Professional Series, which provides students with opportunities to network with professionals in their desired industry and gain valuable insights into the job market. On the other hand, William and Mary’s career services department has a strong focus on community engagement and encourages students to participate in volunteer work and community service projects, which can enhance their resumes and make them more attractive to potential employers.

Alumni Network and Job Placement Comparison

UF and William and Mary have expansive alumni networks, providing graduates with connections and opportunities to pursue their careers. UF’s alumni network includes successful professionals in various industries, from healthcare and engineering to the arts and entertainment. William and Mary’s alumni network comprises influential leaders, including CEOs and politicians, illustrating the university’s strong commitment to preparing graduates to succeed in various fields. Both universities boast impressive job placements after graduation, with graduates securing jobs with top employers in their respective fields.

However, UF has a unique program called Gator CareerLink, which provides students and alumni with access to job and internship postings, career fairs, and networking events. This program has been highly successful, with over 90% of UF graduates securing employment or continuing their education within six months of graduation. William and Mary also offers a similar program, called Tribe Careers, which connects students and alumni with employers and provides career development resources. Both universities’ alumni networks and job placement programs demonstrate their commitment to supporting their graduates’ success in the workforce.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Research Opportunities and Funding Comparison

Both UF and William and Mary emphasize and prioritize research endeavors and offer students a chance to engage in extensive research opportunities. UF spent over $900 million on research in 2020, with numerous research centers focused on fields such as healthcare, energy, and technology. William and Mary is also home to several research centers and institutes, such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which supports research on global health and economic development. Both universities provide funding and resources to support research projects and offer opportunities for students to engage in cutting-edge research.

Additionally, UF and William and Mary have established partnerships with various industries and organizations to provide students with real-world research experiences. For instance, UF has partnerships with NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the Department of Energy, among others. William and Mary has partnerships with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and the Virginia Coastal Policy Center, among others. These partnerships provide students with access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment, and resources, as well as opportunities to work on projects that have a real impact on society.

Diversity and Inclusion Efforts Comparison

UF and William and Mary are both committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus environment that supports students from different backgrounds. UF’s diversity initiatives include programs that promote equity and inclusion and provide resources for underrepresented student groups, such as LGBTQ+ students and students of color. William and Mary has a diversity and inclusion website that provides resources and information about the university’s efforts to facilitate conversations about diversity and inclusion, develop initiatives to promote equity and inclusion, and build community through meaningful interactions both inside and outside the classroom.

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Additionally, UF has a Multicultural and Diversity Affairs office that offers a variety of programs and services to support students from diverse backgrounds. These include cultural celebrations, leadership development opportunities, and mentorship programs. William and Mary also has a number of student organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion on campus, such as the Asian Student Association and the Black Student Organization.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Sustainability Initiatives and Campus Environment Comparison

Both UF and William and Mary are committed to sustainability and prioritize efforts to reduce their environmental impact. UF’s sustainability initiatives include efforts to reduce energy usage, promote bike and pedestrian-friendly transport, and reduce waste generation. William and Mary’s environmental sustainability initiatives focus on reducing their carbon footprint, developing sustainable dining, and supporting transportation initiatives. Both universities prioritize creating a sustainable and eco-friendly campus environment for students, faculty, and staff.

Additionally, UF has implemented a water conservation program that includes low-flow fixtures and irrigation systems, as well as a recycling program that diverts over 50% of campus waste from landfills. William and Mary has also implemented a composting program and has installed solar panels on several campus buildings to reduce their reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Both universities regularly host sustainability events and offer educational programs to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainable practices among their campus communities.

Student Success Metrics: Graduation Rates, Retention Rates, and Post-Graduate Outcomes Comparison

UF boasts an impressive graduation rate of 88% and a retention rate of 97%, indicating that the university provides a supportive and engaging environment that keeps students on the path to graduation. William and Mary also has an impressive graduation rate of 90% and a retention rate of 96%. Both universities have successful post-graduate outcomes, with graduates securing jobs at top employers, attending prestigious graduate schools, and making significant contributions to their fields.

However, it is important to note that graduation and retention rates are not the only indicators of student success. Other factors, such as student satisfaction, academic rigor, and access to resources, also play a crucial role in determining the overall quality of education. For instance, a university with high graduation rates but low student satisfaction may not necessarily provide the best learning experience for its students.

Furthermore, it is worth considering the impact of socioeconomic factors on student success metrics. Graduation and retention rates may be influenced by factors such as family income, race, and first-generation status. Therefore, it is important to analyze these metrics in conjunction with other data points to gain a more comprehensive understanding of student success.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Faculty-Student Ratio and Class Sizes Comparison

UF has a student-faculty ratio of 20:1 and an average class size of 33. In comparison, William and Mary’s student-faculty ratio is 11:1, with an average class size of 21. William and Mary’s smaller class sizes provide students with a more intimate classroom experience, with greater access to faculty members and individualized attention.

Additionally, studies have shown that smaller class sizes can lead to improved academic performance and higher graduation rates. This is because students in smaller classes are more likely to participate in class discussions, receive personalized feedback from their professors, and develop stronger relationships with their peers. Therefore, William and Mary’s emphasis on smaller class sizes not only provides a better learning environment but also contributes to the overall success of its students.

Online Learning Offerings at the University of Florida vs College of William and Mary

Both UF and William and Mary have established online learning platforms to provide students with flexibility and access to coursework. UF offers a range of online programs, including undergraduate courses, graduate certificates, and even six UF online degree options. William and Mary offers several online programs, including graduate degrees in education, business, and public policy. Both universities have made a significant investment in online learning, providing students with unprecedented access to quality education and the chance to further their careers.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Campus Safety Measures Compared

Campus safety is a top priority for both UF and William and Mary, which have implemented extensive policies and procedures to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. UF’s campus safety initiatives include a partnership with the Gainesville Police Department, a student escort service, and emergency phone booths placed across campus. William and Mary’s campus safety initiatives include a 24/7 public safety department and resources for students and faculty to report incidents of sexual violence and harassment.

students talking while using laptop

Quality of Life in Gainesville vs Williamsburg

Gainesville and Williamsburg offer distinct lifestyles and quality of life. Gainesville is a vibrant college town with a diverse range of cultural attractions, including music festivals, theater productions, and art galleries. It also boasts an active nightlife scene and ample outdoor recreation opportunities. In comparison, Williamsburg is a historic town with a colonial charm, featuring numerous museums, historical sites, and authentic cuisine. Both cities offer unique lifestyle options that provide an enriching experience for students who choose to attend these universities.

University of Florida vs College of William and Mary: Extracurricular Activities Compared

Both UF and William and Mary have a strong commitment to extracurricular activities that provide students with an opportunity to engage with their community and explore their interests. Greek life is a particularly strong tradition at both universities, with numerous fraternities and sororities that provide students with an opportunity to form close connections with their peers. Both universities also have a diverse range of clubs and organizations, from service and academic organizations to recreational and arts clubs. Finally, both universities have a robust volunteerism culture, with numerous opportunities for students to work with local nonprofit organizations and give back to the community.


Choosing between the University of Florida and the College of William and Mary requires careful consideration of each university’s unique strengths and offerings. Whether you are interested in rigorous academics, comprehensive career services, a vibrant campus life, or a safe and inclusive community, both universities provide ample opportunities to pursue your goals and interests. By examining these universities’ strengths and weakness, you can make an informed decision that takes into account your academic, personal, and career goals. As you embark on this critical decision, we hope that this comparison guide has provided a useful perspective on the University of Florida and the College of William and Mary.

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