In January, I visited Eckerd College, a small, private college on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Eckerd has about 1800 students from 48 states and 40 countries on 188 acres and eighty percent of the students are from outside of Florida. The school is good match for a politically liberal, liberal arts, science or business student who is adventurous, likes the outdoors, would like to volunteer, and wants to study abroad. Eckerd is one of the forty “Colleges That Change Lives”. If you haven’t read the book by that title, I heartily recommend it.
Academics – Eckerd is a liberal arts and sciences college, with business and management majors. Its biggest major is environmental studies and it is well-known for its marine science major. One third of the students are majoring in the natural sciences, Students can double-major or take a major and a minor. Every student has an academic mentor. In addition, Freshman also have an student mentor.
Freshmen take a 3-week term in August. This helps them get acclimated to college before the rest of the students arrive. During that term they take one class, have orientation, and participate in a host of activities.
All students, except Freshmen, take a January term where they take one course on-campus, study abroad, participate in an internship or independent study.
Above average students can get money to do research with professors starting as Freshmen.
About 500 students go abroad each year. Students can study broad for a month, a summer, a semester or a year.
Campus – The newest building is the $25 million James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences. The campus has a beach and a waterfront with free sailboats, canoes, kayaks, and tents for student use.
|Boats on Waterfront|
Housing – Housing is guaranteed all four years and there are no triples. The school has special- interest housing which lets you bring your dog or cat to live with you. There is even a fenced-in dog park on campus.
Extracurricular activities –
The school has Division II sports. Sailing is very popular. Rugby is a popular club sport.
All students are required to do at least 40 hours of volunteer work. The school has emergency volunteers on the water in the form of a search and rescue group. They respond to over 500 marine distress calls each year.
There are plenty of clubs at Eckerd. One popular club is the Improv club. If at least two students get an advisor, they can start a new club. Lots of the extracurricular activities are held outdoors.
There is no Greek life at Eckerd.
Getting In and Aid – Both need-based and merit aid are available. The average GPA for admitted students is 3.3. The middle 50% of the admitted pool earned between 1010 aand 1230 on the SAT; the school does not look at the SAT Writing score.
Do you think you would like attending Eckerd? Why or why not?