Florida State University

The Basics: Located near Georgia, the landscape, architecture, and atmosphere of Tallahassee has a southern charm and naturally picturesque appeal. The campus has a quaint, small town feel with a big population.

The Dorms: Freshmen are required to  live on campus their first year. The Residential Assistants in the dorms make sure residents acclimate well and find ways for everyone to get involved. Smith Hall is the least expensive dorm pricing at $2,150 per semester. The most expensive is Ragans Hall, individual apartments exclusively for upperclassman, which cost $3,120 a semester.

The Nightlife: West Tennessee Street, 32304: This legendary street of clubs and bars is the number one place to hit when partying in Tallahassee. Commonly referred to as “The Strip” by FSU students, Tennessee Avenue includes the most affordable dinner specials and music from the best DJ’s in town.

A.J.’s Sports Bar & Grill (1800 West Tennessee St., 32304):

From Major League Baseball to the NFL, A.J.’s offers almost any televised game. The sports and entertainment venue on “The Strip” serves jumbo wings in 15 different flavors and handmade burgers.

Restaurants: Gordos (1907 West Pensacola St., 32304): This college favorite serves delicious Cuban sandwiches

under $ 9.50 and dinner dishes under $11.95.

Momo’s Pizza (1416 West Tennessee St., 32304): Offering large pizzas, the spot is highly recommended with large appetites. (16” Med. Pizza Pie $11.95, 30” XLarge Pizza Pie-$22.95)

Monks (1710 W. Tharpe St., 32303): As a unique hamburger joint, one  Monk’s specialty is the Lip Smacker ($8.50), a peanut butter hamburger topped with smoked bacon and cheddar cheese.

Things to do: Student Life Cinema: This  free movie theatre, exclusively for FSU students, plays current blockbusters.

Crenshaw Lanes: This on campus bowling alley includes Internet access and a lounge area. Cosmic bowling ($10) is held every Friday and Saturday from 9 p.m.- 2 a.m.

Flying High Circus: A student run circus premieres each fall and has been a unique tradition since 1947. The dazzling performance rivals that of a professional show.

Winter Wonderland: In December, snow is shipped in from Georgia and the campus creates a winter landscape with snow ball fights, hot chocolate and snow globe decorating.

The Words From the Wise: “FSU as a university is not seen as a difficult school to get into, but the individual colleges like communications and studio art are very competitive. They are considered the top in the country, accepting only 30 students per program,” FSU freshman Nicole Regan said.

University of Florida

The Basics: The UF campus is made up of 2,000 acres and more than 900 buildings holding 50,000 students. It is officially one the largest campuses in the nation.

The Dorms: After completing the fall/spring contract, students submit preferences for up to three halls and two room types, along with two specific roommates. An alternative option to dorms is the rental rate. Rental rates are per student, per semester and include cable TV, high speed Internet, electricity and other utilities. All rooms are fully furnished.

The Nightlife: Swamp (1642 W. University Ave.): This social night bar and patio is the definition of going out at UF. This popular sports bar features food like buffalo wings, burgers, tacos and seafood. It attracts the college crowd and always has an energetic atmosphere.

Spannk (20 NW. 2nd St):  This local club’s goal is to help make the discovery of local bands easier. Spannk aims to be the definition of upcoming shows and promotion for local bands.

Restaurants: Dragonfly (3117 SW. 34th St.): This is a good choice for Asian food. Although a bit more expensive than average meal choices, it is worth it ($11 – $30).

Leonardo’s (706 West University Avenue): This Italian specialty is less expensive and serves pizza along with other Italian cuisines ($10 – $15).

The Peach Valley Cafe, 3275 SW 34th St: This cafe is highly recommended and serves only breakfast and lunch ($4 – 8).

Things To Do: The Reitz Union (1080 SW. 11th St.): This is a major hangout for studying or grabbing something to eat. The Reitz Union contains several restaurants including Tijuana Flats, Pita Pit and Jimmy Johns Gourmet Sandwiches, a bookstore and a Starbucks.

The Words From the Wise: “If you are a freshman, go to campus before the first day of classes so you don’t get lost or show up late to your classes,” sophomore Moises Diffo said.

University of South Florida

The Basics: Opened in 1960, USF now teaches 47,000 students and is recognized as one of the top 100 public research universities.

The Dorms: The campus assigns four students per suite which have individual bedrooms and a shared kitchen. The cost of the four suite room is $3,785 per semester, per student.

The Nightlife: Empire Night Club (1902 7th Ave., 33605): Open from Wednesday to Saturday nights, is a two-floor, crowded nightclub and bar that plays hip-hop music.  The cover charge is $5.

Restaurants: Taco Bus (913 E. Hillsborough Ave, 33604): Serving food 24/7, the Taco Bus provides authentic Mexican food.  From vegetarian rice, bean and vegetable burritos and tacos to meaty quesadillas, fish tacos and barbacoas, a style of barbeque authentic to ancient Mexican recipes, the Taco Bus menu caters to guests with a wide variety of diets. ($5 – $8)

CBD’s Southside Italian Restaurant and Bar (3671 S. Westshore Blvd., 33629): This area favorite serves classic Italian, from pizza to pasta ($25 – $30).

Things To Do: Open only to USF students and staff, the Riverfront Park is a popular hangout on campus that offers free kayaking and canoeing.

The Words From the Wise: “I would encourage living in dorms the first year. It’s the best way to meet people, and you have class with a lot of the same people in your [dorm area], so it’s easy to form study groups or find people to hang out with.  There is always someone awake which makes it so convenient to meet friends,” USF sophomore Madison Smith said.

University of North Florida

The Basics: The campus lays on 1,300 acres of perfectly preserved nature and wildlife. Living in Jacksonville means one can experience the city as well as the rugged environment.

The Dorms: Prices for dorms can vary from $1,500-$4,600 per semester.  There are various floor plan styles available for students, including private apartments, doubles and even six bedroom residencies.

The Nightlife: Plush (845 University Blvd): is located next to the campus and hosts events for artists such as Diddy Dirty Money.

Metro (2929 Plum St.): A 15 minute drive away from campus where one can enjoy fun and partying.

Restaurants: Sushi House 2 (201 SE 2nd Ave): Serves traditional sushi and Japanese dishes ($10 – $15).

Things To Do: On campus lazy river: The “Osprey Fountain” residence comes adorned with a lazy river solely for students to relax and wash away all college stress.

The Osprey Cafe: Dine on campus at this buffet style restaurant which is popular with students who have meal plans.

The Words From the Wise: “Join a student organization that gets priority registration [for classes], like Student Government or Presidential Envoys,” UNF senior Chris Warren said.

University of Central Florida

The Basics: UCF recently gained the interest of USA Today when it ranked as one of the top 50  public colleges in the United States.

The Dorms: The Apollo Community is equipped so that each room can house four people. It costs $2,420-$2,755 per semester and includes three bedrooms and a shared bathroom and kitchen.

The Nightlife: The Ikiwi Yogurt Bar (4250 Alafaya Trl.

Oviedo, 32765): A new addition that can satisfy one’s sweet tooth.

The Liquid Cellar Bar and Bistro (12233 University Blvd. Orlando, 32817): This social gathering offers more than just drinks and food, it also is home to performances by local artists.

Restaurants: Lazy Moon Pizza (12269 University Boulevard.

Orlando, 32817): Close to campus and known for their massive slices of pizza and student-friendly atmosphere ($5 – $10).

Mama Millie’s (12273 University Blvd. Orlando, 32817): Offers traditional Caribbean food and its location makes it a popular place for students ($5 – $10).

Things To Do: Lake Claire Recreational Area (Gemini Blvd., Orlando, 32826): A fun, free, on campus feature that provides canoes, kayaks, paddleboats and swimming for students to do in their free time.

The Words From the Wise: “It’s important to focus on schoolwork, but UCF offers a lot of young, modern activities that kept me entertained as a student. Find a balance between school and fun, and UCF becomes a wonderful school for anyone,” Henrik Allanson, University of Central Florida graduate, said.

Florida Atlantic University

The Basics: Located near both the Palm Beach and Miami, FAU offers a vast variety of on and off campus excitement.

The Dorms: Gladdes Park Towers is the dormitory hall offered to incoming freshmen.  The building boasts both single and double rooms ($2850 – $3712 per semester).

The Nightlife: Funky Buddah Lounge (2621 N. Federal Hwy.): This casual bar located less than 10 minutes from the university provides a cozy atmosphere for students to unwind after a hard day of classes.

Restaurants: Tomasso’s (1229 W. Palmetto Park Rd.): An Italian restaurant that has traditional Italian dishes including pizza, pasta and calzones.  One may choose to dine in or have the food delivered to a dorm ($15 – $25).

Things to Do: Cinemark Palace 20 (3200 Airport Rd.): Located across the street from FAU, this movie theater features current and retrospective films ($10).

Red Reef Park (1400 N Ocean Blvd.): A maintained beach front that provides snorkeling and an Environmental Information Center ($10).

The Words From the Wise: “Don’t skip class to go to the beach  because it’s so close,” freshman Lindsey Cooper said. “It will be there when your class is over.”

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