A Visit to Florida Gulf Coast University

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By Sue Luse

I recently vacationed in Bonita Springs, Florida, and was looking forward to checking out Florida Gulf State University. So on a breezy, sunny day, I took off to tour the campus and explore the area.

From their website:

Fast Facts:

  • Public University
  • 10 percent from out-of-state
  • 13,000 undergraduates
  • 80% live on campus
  • Annual cost of out-of-state tuition is $35,000



FGCU is located in Fort Myers, on the water, close to the Gulf. This location in the heart of sunny Southwest Florida is close to beaches, outdoor activities and water sports. The airport is nearby as well as malls, concert areas and restaurants. Southwest Florida is one of the country’s fastest growing regions. The warm sunny weather is a big draw for our Minnesota students. It was fun seeing all the signs about not feeding the alligators and I did actually see some alligators swimming in a campus pond. This is a very new campus with a focus on sustainability.


Outdoor classroom

FGCU offers a wide variety of majors in the arts, sciences, business, education, engineering and the health professions. Some of the standard majors include resort and hospitality management, PGA golf management, music therapy and computer programming. Classes are small and students have opportunities to conduct research early in their college careers.

Being a gulf coast university, they also offer an undergraduate program in Marine Science, designed to train students so that they can obtain jobs related to science and technology in both government and industry, jobs as educators in the natural and environmental sciences, and jobs in the expanding environmental field. After completion of the interdisciplinary core of courses, the Marine Science program offers students a great deal of flexibility for individualized program design.

Student Life

Students studying

What sets this campus apart is their huge outdoor pool and the campus beach. Also, the dining hall, SoVi, was awesome. We ate lunch there and were very impressed with the healthy options. The campus also has a free shuttle service.


FGCU has many opportunities for students to get involved. With over 15,000 students, FGCU is a lively diverse community with over 180 clubs and organizations. There is also an active Greek scene and lots of opportunities for service learning.


Campus Pool

I was very impressed with the housing options. There is a lakefront beach for older students and the freshman have a resort-style pool outside the door. The four residence halls offer suites with common living areas and many amenities. Two miles north of campus, upper classmen live in spacious apartments in the West Lake Village.


There is plenty of Eagle Spirit for the 14 NCAA Division I athletic teams. The basketball team has been very successful in the NCAA tournament. the student body has a fan club called the Dirty Birds. There is no football.


FGCU has become more selective now holds an acceptance rate of 58%. The average ACT score is 23 and average GPA is a 3.5. They have rolling admissions and have their own online application.

What Kind of Student Would Be Happy Here?

A student looking for the warm sunny weather of Southwest Florida. Someone who would prefer a medium size student body and enjoy a lively social scene as well as access to the beach. A student who values smaller classes taught by professors with a variety of liberal arts and career-focused majors.

Sail boatsOcean viewDockBeachIMG_2767Alligator signAlligatorHandling a snakeOutdoor tablesSue at Florida Gulf Coast University

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