Top 6 Best Colleges in Florida | 2017 Ranking | Cheap, Top, Famous Colleges in Florida (Reviews and Comparison)


Finding the Best Colleges in Florida

Florida is a vibrant state with an energetic nightlife, beautiful beaches, and a great university system.

Choosing among college options can be overwhelming, especially when faced with a long list of search results. Our list of the top colleges in Florida presents some of the best institutions in the state to consider for your education.

Best Colleges in Florida

Award Emblem: Top 6 Best Colleges in Florida

These individual reviews of the best Florida colleges may even alert you to criteria you hadn’t initially considered, like campus life and experiential learning opportunities. Taking the time to carefully research your college options will ensure you aren’t met with any surprises when you arrive on campus for freshman year.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top 6 Best Colleges in Florida

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the names below to go directly to the detailed review section for that college):

Top 6 Best Florida Colleges | Brief Comparison & Ranking 

Top Colleges in Florida


Florida International University


Florida State University


Marchman Technical College

Depends on the specific technical program

University of Florida


University of Miami


Withlacoochee Technical Institute

$1,202.50 (cybersecurity program)

Table: Top 6 Best Florida Colleges | Above list is sorted alphabetically

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Things to Consider When Planning Your Student Financial Aid

For many students, financial aid is the only way they can afford to attend university. While some schools offer 100% of a student’s demonstrated need, others only partially fund a student’s education.

With so many types of student loans on the market, it’s important to keep a few things in mind when figuring out how you’ll fund your time at one of the top colleges in Florida.

  • The difference between loans, grants, and scholarships. Do not assume that everything in your financial aid package is “free” money. Portions of it may be scholarships or grants that you don’t have to pay back, whereas others may require you to make repayments upon graduation.
  • Check your interest rates. Different loans come with different interest rates and conditions. Read each financial aid offer carefully to ensure you aren’t met with a nasty surprise upon graduation.
  • Remember that scholarships can vary from year to year. If you were granted a scholarship that covered most your first year’s tuition, that’s no guarantee that you will receive funding for the entirety of your education.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best Colleges in Florida

Below, please find the detailed review of each of the top Florida colleges on our list of the best colleges in Florida. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these colleges in Florida to score so well in our selection ranking.

Florida International University Review

Florida International University is a public research university. It is one of the largest schools in Florida, offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees.

As one of the public Florida colleges, Florida International University is governed by a board of trustees. Individuals in both West Miami-Dade County and North Miami Beach have the opportunity to attend one of the best colleges in Florida within commuting distance, since FIU has major campuses in both locations.

As one of the best schools in Florida, FIU also has centers spread across the area, including its Engineering Center, business center, and its Miami Beach Urban Studios.

Holistic Review

Florida International University is one of the good colleges in Florida, and as a result, they receive a lot of applications. Their admission process involves a holistic review that takes all elements of a student’s academic experience into consideration.

Like most colleges in FL, Florida International University reviews a student’s GPA, SAT scores, and ACT scores.

Of course, as one of the top colleges in Florida, Florida International University still has many applications to sort through, even once they thin the pile using grades and SAT scores.

In this case, FL colleges like FIU use other criteria to select their incoming students. FIU requires applicants to submit a 500 word personal statement that explains what makes them a good candidate and what strategies they will employ to be successful both inside and outside of the classroom while attending one of the best colleges in Florida.

Affordable and Accessible

If you are looking for an intersection between the best colleges in Florida and the cheap colleges in Florida, Florida International University falls into that sweet spot.

Florida International University’s tuition rates are among the lowest in the country. This makes it one of the cheap colleges in Florida and one of the cheapest colleges in the nation.

Their 2016/2017 tuition for fall and spring was $6,570.88. As one of the top colleges in Florida and the cheap colleges in Florida, Florida International University also offers loans, grants, and scholarships to make it one of the colleges in Florida that is as affordable as possible for students.

Diverse Areas of Study

Florida colleges that offer numerous undergraduate degree programs and areas of study can be ideal for students who don’t quite know what they want to be when they grow up.

This is because your undergraduate program is a time of exploration; students may find they are not very interested in the major they initially selected. Choosing one of the schools in Florida with the flexibility to switch can be useful in this scenario.

As one of the best schools in Florida, Florida International University has over 180 undergraduate and graduate programs for students to explore. Some of their programs include:

  • Accounting
  • Art History
  • Earth Sciences
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Finance
  • Global and Social Sciences
  • Hospitality Management
  • Information Technology
  • Sustainability and the Environment

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Florida State University Review

Florida State University is one of the public research colleges in Florida. It conducts research and explores topics related to science, technology, arts, and humanity while also reflecting the learning and critical thinking values of a liberal arts institution.

The university population consists of students from every county in Florida as well as 140 countries for a total population of 41,867. As one of the best schools in Florida, FSU had a freshman class of 2016 with an average GPA of 4.1 and an average SAT score of 1858.

Holistic Admissions Process

As with many of the schools in Florida on this list, Florida State University uses a holistic admissions process. This means that no specific factor, whether it’s grade point average or test scores, that guarantees admission to this pick for one of the best schools in Florida.

Of course, since Florida State University is one of the very good colleges in Florida, they do still take grades and standardized test scores into consideration.

They review these factors carefully while also considering the rigor of the courses taken and the overall composition of a student’s high school studies, including math levels, world languages, and more.

An essay on one of three topics is not required, but it is highly recommended. It makes sense for students to include it. There will be many applicants both in-state and out of state who will be applying to Florida State University since it is one of the top Florida colleges.

If it comes down to you and another student competing for one spot, you will want your essay to make the case for why you should be admitted over them.

Online Undergraduate Degree Programs

More and more Florida colleges are offering online undergraduate programs. This sort of program provides flexibility so that students can get a university education while working or supporting a family.

To gain entry to an undergraduate degree program at Florida State University, one of the top colleges in FL, students must meet the prerequisites for their desired degree program.

Degree programs offered online at FSU are:

  • Public Safety and Security, BS (Major in Crime Scene Investigation)
  • Public Safety and Security, BS (Major in Law Enforcement Intelligence)
  • Public Safety and Security, BS (Major in Law Enforcement Operators)
  • Criminology, BS
  • Social Science, BS

As one of the good colleges in Florida, FSU also offers certificate programs which can boost an individual’s professional experience or supplement an existing degree. These certificate programs include:

  • Leadership Studies
  • Public Administration – Emergency Management
  • Multicultural Marketing Communication


Tuition at Florida State University is $6,516.

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Marchman Technical College Review

Marchman Technical College is one of the community colleges in FL. It is one of the cheap colleges in Florida that provides students with learning based on real-world experience and application.

Industry Guidance

One of the biggest criticisms of some of the best colleges in Florida and the rest of the country is how out of touch they are with industry. Students are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for an education that does not prepare them to get the jobs they need to make a living (and pay off their student debt).

While Marchman Technical College may be something you consider because it is one of the cheap colleges in Florida, you should also keep in mind that its courses are guided by the input of local employers. They advise the school on skills they need so that the school’s curriculum has relevant material.

Technical Programs

Marchman is one of the FL colleges where students can find technical programs that will give them the hands-on skills they need to land a job upon graduation. Prospective students applying to one of the top Florida colleges for technical education can choose from the following programs:

  • Cosmetology
  • Commercial Foods
  • Early Childhood Apprenticeship
  • Patient Care Technician
  • Commercial Art Technology
  • Computer Systems & Information Technology
  • Digital Cinema Production
  • Air Conditioning, Refrigerating & Heating Technology
  • Electricity
  • Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing Technology
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Marine Service Technology

Admission Requirements

Students who want to apply to Marchman can schedule an appointment with the school’s career specialist before filling out the online application. This includes:

  • $25 non-refundable application fee
  • High school diploma or GED transcript
  • Residency affidavit and supporting documents
  • Completed FERPA (if desired)

Tuition rates are based on the individual program. The fees, including books, parking, and other fees, are between $2,000 and $3,000.

University of Florida Review

The University of Florida is one of the top FL colleges and boasts a freshman class with an average GPA of 4.3 and an average SAT score of 1918. Their goal as one of the top Florida colleges is to challenge convention and teach their students to use their education to solve big problems.

Variety of Undergraduate Degree Programs

Students look for the best colleges in Florida so that they can pursue their dreams, contribute to their communities, and build successful companies. As one of the top Florida colleges, the University of Florida offers several majors for future students including:

  • Advertising
  • American Indian and Indigenous Studies
  • Applied Physiology and Kinesiology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Botany
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Digital Arts and Sciences
  • Film and Media Studies
  • Foreign Languages and Literatures
  • Fire and Emergency Services
  • Food and Resource Economics
  • Forest Resources and Conservation
  • Information Systems
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
  • Interior Design

Cultural Opportunities on Campus

The best Florida colleges offer an inclusive campus environment and an opportunity for students to expand their horizons. There is a multi-faith cooperative that meets the “personal, religious, and social needs” of students at the University of Florida. This cooperative comprises of religious organizations and centers across the campus.

Cultural events take place throughout the school year. Students from all backgrounds and cultures are drawn to the University of Florida as one of the best colleges in Florida, and these events provide an opportunity for these talented students to celebrate their rich culture and heritage for other students to learn from.

Study Abroad Opportunities Through the International Center

As one of the best Florida colleges, the University of Florida offers students the support and resources they need to travel abroad and gain global educational experiences. Students can search for study abroad programs through the university’s website and discover new cultures while pursuing their studies.

There are also study abroad information sessions held regularly for students who want to learn more about these opportunities. Some of these information sessions are also regional, allowing students to find the specific information they are interested in.


The tuition for undergraduate students in the 2016/2017 school year was $6,380

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University of Miami Review

The University of Miami is one of the private research colleges in Florida. Over 16,000 people make up its diverse student population. It is one of the top colleges in Florida offering both graduate and undergraduate programs.

Several Options for Undergraduate Study

One reason this school has landed on our list of the best Florida colleges is the number of programs that it offers. The University of Miami is made up of several schools and colleges in Florida.

  • School of Architecture
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • School of Business Administration
  • School of Communication
  • School of Education and Human Development
  • College of Engineering
  • Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science
  • Frost School of Music
  • School of Nursing and Health Studies
  • Continuing Studies
  • Dual Degree Programs

Under each of these categories are many majors and areas of study, including:

  • American Studies
  • Biochemistry
  • Ecosystem Science and Policy
  • International Studies
  • Religion and Health Care
  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Public Relations
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Human and Social Development
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Meteorology

Cognates Program of General Education

There are several areas of study offered by the University of Miami, one of the best colleges in Florida. The Cognates Program helps students take those options and structure their education in a way that has both breadth and depth.

Students of the University of Miami structure their education at one of the top Florida colleges with one of three areas as their foundation:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • People and Society
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

A set of three courses that are related to each other are referred to as “cognates.” Cognates can focus on a number of things. Some examples the school provides are:

  • A discipline (World of Music)
  • A genre (Epic Literature)
  • A problem (Environmental Policy)
  • A topic (Earth, Stars, Wind, and Water)
  • A region (Religion in the Americas)
  • A method (Applied Ethics)
  • A time period (The Ancient World)

These cognates are in areas that are outside of a student’s major. This is to provide students with the kind of world-class education they expect to receive when they attend one of the best colleges in Florida.

Experiential Learning

What most students expect from good colleges in Florida is the opportunity to gain hands-on learning experience. The University of Miami offers experiential learning opportunities.

There are a number of internship opportunities open to students in multinational corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations. As one of the best colleges in Florida, the University of Miami also encourages community involvement through its Office of Civic and Community Engagement.

Study abroad programs provide students the chance to apply their learning beyond their own backyard, while undergraduate research opportunities provide freshman with the opportunity to work side by side with faculty members.


Tuition for the 2016/2017 school year for undergraduate studies at the University of Miami was $22,800.

florida colleges

Source: University of Miami

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Withlacoochee Technical Institute Review

Withlacoochee Technical Institute offers technical education with programs that can usually be completed within a year.

Variety of Technical Programs

Withlacoochee Technical Institute is one of the best colleges in Florida for picking up technical skills and is also among the cheap colleges in Florida. Students can gain in-demand skills and even earn their industry certifications and state licensures, depending on their program.

Some of the programs they offer include:

  • Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating Technology
  • Applied Cybersecurity
  • Automation & Production Technology
  • Automotive Collision Repair & Refinishing
  • Automotive Service Technology
  • Commercial Foods and Culinary Arts
  • Cosmetology
  • Electricity
  • Industrial Machinery Maintenance & Repair
  • Massage Therapy
  • Medical Administrative Specialist
  • Network Systems Administration
  • Patient Care Assistant
  • Practical Nursing
  • Technology Support Services
  • Welding Technology

Tuition varies by program, but it is much less expensive to attend this college. For example, their cybersecurity program’s tuition, including lab fees, is $1,202.50.

Conclusion – Top 6 Best Colleges in Florida 

There are several top colleges in Florida to choose from with a range of budget options and programs. This list should serve as a starting point to help you whittle down your list of the best colleges in Florida to attend.

colleges in florida

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Consider what you want out of your college experience and take a serious look at the financial aid offered by different schools to find the best Florida colleges for you.

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Written by News Team