UCF enrollment size beneficial for students
Published: Sunday, October 21, 2012
Updated: Sunday, October 21, 2012 15:10
The exponential growth of UCF’s student population comes with advantages as well as pitfalls. Personally, I am frustrated with the parking situation. If you’ve ever tried to get a space between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., you know what I mean. As many are well aware, UCF’s student body now soars at around 60,000 students, making us the second-largest university in the nation. While trying to park on campus during a weekday can be hectic and it’s easy to feel like just an anonymous number among your fellow students, the size of the student population is not without its perks.
Certainly there is quite a number of students who are content to float through their college career with around a 2.0 GPA, but there is also a percentage of students who strive to make a name for themselves: future grad students, doctors, scientists and college professors, for example. The enormous number of students at the university makes it tougher for this type of student to wade through the statistics. Motivation is oftentimes a tricky and elusive beast for less determined individuals. I say, what better motivator than increased competition? For those of us who want to pursue academics beyond an undergraduate career, the ever-increasing population of our school could be a blessing.
Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala, senior communications coordinator for UCF News & Information, told the Central Florida Future the number of National Merit Scholars enrolled at UCF has increased 146 percent in 10 years, and the average SAT score for the fall freshman class increased 77 points from 1167 to 1244 in the past 10 years.
With these numbers, it is easy to see how much harder one would have to work in order to rise above the rest. This is healthy and promotes hard work, which should, in turn, make students into highly desirable candidates in their future endeavors.
Of course, there is also the question of the student-teacher ratio, which is the highest in the state at UCF. It is easy with an average ratio of 31-to-1 to get caught up and lost in the numbers, but this just brings me back to the idea of healthy competition. If students wish to make names for themselves, he or she must make that conscious effort to shoulder his or her way through the competition with hard work and dedication. This is what prospective employers look for, after all: someone who is determined in his or her goals to make a name for themselves and not be a blur in a sea of faces.
I would venture to say that as our student enrollment increases, so too do our resources. More students equal more money. On top of student fees, if we have these dedicated students who strive for academic perfection, they will bring attention to themselves and to us. This should allow for increased scholarships and state funding, and in a struggling economy, we need this now more than ever. These subsidies, so far, have brought to the school several valuable resources, including the Career Services and Experiential Learning building, Technology Commons and the Recreation and Wellness Center expansion, Library renovations and the Graduate Student Center.
For an example of how this large student body can be beneficial, let me invoke our tourism industry. Would you hope that less people would come to our beaches, Universal Studios and Disney World? I hope your answer is a sturdy “no.” Tourists spend money, which stimulates our local economy, and so do college students. So when it comes to the growing population of our student body, I say bring it on. Of course, until the parking situation is dealt with effectively, I might just consider taking the bus.