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Trip Report - Eckerd College, St Petersburg, FL


creekland
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Eckerd College is a small Liberal Arts College (roughly 1800+ students) located on 188 acres right on the water at the southern end of St. Petersburg, FL.  It was founded in 1958 as Florida Presbyterian College, but was financially shaky until 1971 when Mr. Eckerd  gave a LARGE gift to the college, and it was later renamed in his honor.  (He also helped guide the school for many years.)  It remains affiliated with the Presbyterian church, but in our experience, it's in name only and perhaps in some of its brochures.  We do not consider the school (even remotely) a "Christian College."  Students there range over many religions (or none) and are happy.

 

The school was trudging along as an LAC - not so sure of success (to be honest) - until their recent President took over about 13 or 14 years ago.  Dr. Eastman was brought in after having had extensive experience at U Georgia and Cornell University.  He has changed both the financial management and the goals of the school - and it's reputation has taken off tremendously as a small LAC. It is one of 40+ colleges in the book, Colleges that Change Lives, and has been listed in every edition.  It is also now considered a top ranked college (or programs) by many institutions from The Policy Center to Business Week.

 

By the numbers...

 

They currently have 39 majors - just added Film.  Marine Science (and similar - Environmental Studies, etc) and Business are their top majors by popularity.

 

Their average class size is 19.

 

Their students come from 47 states and 35 countries - only 17- 20% are from Florida - average # of miles traveled to the college from home is roughly 1000.

 

Incoming SAT (M + CR only) for mid 50% is 1010 - 1220, ACT 23 - 28, and an acceptance rate of 71%.

 

65% study abroad at some point.

 

96% receive financial aid.

 

They do offer merit aid (top award for this year is 19K).

 

95% of their professors have terminal degrees - all are involved in research.

 

No grad students.  Professors teach all classes and labs.

 

It's a residential campus.  Roughly 90% live on campus.  All freshmen are required to live on campus unless living with family within 30 minutes away (maybe miles... I'm not sure what my "m" was for in hindsight).  There are no single dorms for freshmen.  Juniors and seniors can opt for suite style dorms.  Dorms are co-ed by floor. After freshmen fall semester, pets (dogs, cats, etc) are an option in some dorms.

 

They have the only Coast Guard recognized college (student led) First Responder water search and rescue team.

 

Division II sports.

 

The US Peace Corps says they are #1 among small colleges & universities for producing Peace Corps volunteers.

 

It is also a (maybe "the") top college for Marine Sciences - and this is what drew us to the school since that is what youngest son wishes to study.  This report is coming mainly from our recent visit at their Accepted Student Days.

 

Marine science is a HUGE draw to this school (but not the only one) as it is now so well known for producing the most Hollings Scholars (a major scholarship from NOAA) even besting larger and more "known" schools like the University of Miami by quite a bit. Of their incoming class of roughly 500 students, 175 or so will start out as Marine Science majors.  Only 60 or so will graduate with that major.  It is not an "easy" major (and many just plain change their minds once they get their feet wet), but it does produce grads who are VERY likely to succeed with jobs and/or grad school placements in their field as it is so well known for its quality and depth. 

 

The Marine Science classes will NOT be the small classes on campus, but the labs are kept small for obvious reasons.

 

Students come in from all over for this major (or others similar to it like Environmental Studies or Biology - they do Coastal Management and such things within these majors too).  Some of these students have IMPRESSIVE credentials having worked at Woods Hole or Mote Marine or similar places already.  Then there are those (like mine) who have modest credentials, but I feel he can keep up should he continue the desire.  It is our belief that if he wants to work in this field, he will need a very well-respected school as it is a competitive field.  Grads who "make it" at this place seem to have good opportunities.  All can get internships.

 

Actually, the school desires ALL students to have at least one internship while in college (regardless of major) and actively works to help them find internships via connections faculty have, etc.

 

Eckerd also has a policy that if a graduate does not have a job (or grad school lined up - roughly 60% go to grad school) within 6 months of graduation, then they can continue to audit classes (for 2 years) and have personal one-on-one "skills" augmentation to help - all for free.

 

The college definitely has a personality, so one should carefully consider if it is the right fit.  They gave us four key points for personality - Residential (rather than commuter), Global, Environmental (land and sea), and Service (volunteering) as just as important to them as academics.  Their incoming freshman summer reading book is, "Enrique's Journey" by Sonia Nazario - and she will be coming to campus to talk with the freshmen about the book.

 

http://www.enriquesjourney.com/

 

When we parents and students were all together, the Dean of Students listed out many of the accolades students in the room had on their applications.  The vast majority were global, environmental, and/or service.  The school likes seeing those traits.  (Other accolades were academic, musical, or art, so those count too, but some of the service things students have done really give me hope for our planet.)

 

They are very global minded - not "dissing" the US at all, but seeing our country as one of many on this planet.  There are MANY global travel (for credit - with faculty) options as well as more traditional study abroad.

 

They are very green and are into sustainable living.  Their new buildings (built after the new Pres) are some of the greenest possible with today's technology.

 

They are very into research - hands on research.  THINK OUTSIDE is their motto.  Freshmen start right off with labs (for sciences anyway) that are outside (as well as some inside).

 

They are very interested in the individual student.  Each student is given a faculty mentor to guide them through both academics and life.  Many keep these relationships well past graduation.

 

Their class system is a 4-1-4 deal.  Four classes are taken in fall and spring semesters (one of these can have five for the same tuition).  For freshmen, they have a 3 week long A term in August that both helps them get adjusted to campus living and gives them their first class (the "1").  For everyone else they take that "1" in January and can go abroad with a prof (multiple options) or stay on campus and study in special classes offered there (one is taught by Elie Wiesel - the author of "Night" - how I would LOVE to take that class personally!).

 

Students who like this place are those who tend to love the outdoors.  In warmer weather, many may be barefoot - even going to class.  Shoes are required in eating establishments and the library.

 

Students who like this place are also quite tolerant with a "live and let live" mentality.  This may turn some off as it's known as a big "pot" school and alcohol can be a large part of some students lives...  Personally, I see that at pretty much any campus, but... it might be more common here.  We were concerned enough to check into it and were told (by students) that kids accept each other.  Some do, some don't, and all get along without condemnation.  There are plenty of activities to do on campus for those who don't care to spend their time at parties.  One lad informed us that he was up to 3am fishing the Saturday night before we saw him... My advice to my guy is to choose his close friends carefully.  He plans to look for them in the lab...or other ECs he likes.

 

Water sports are loved by many (not all).  They have a Varsity Sailing team that does well.  Kayaks, stand up paddleboards, fishing/camping equipment, snorkeling equipment, sailboats, windsurfers, and more, all can be checked out for FREE by students and their parents (swim test required) at the waterfront.  These are popular activities.  Lessons are also available for any who need them - or - find a friend to teach you.  The sailing team welcomes complete newbies.

 

Improv, acting, and art are also big on campus.

 

Many like to head to local Farmers Markets (shuttle service is available).

 

Cars are allowed on campus, but many students don't have them and do ok (friends or shuttle).

 

Academically, they accept 4s & 5s on AP for credit, and will consider DE As or Bs for credit (this is pending professors).

 

Student complaints?  The only one we heard over and over again was regarding the food... fairly typical from many colleges we've visited.  The students say it gets very repetitive, and also say there are plenty of good places off campus they go to when they can.  As a "positive" about the food, they do try to buy local as much as possible in keeping with their green and sustainable policy.

 

Honestly, there were no other complaints.  Students there loved it and many would shout out to us to "Come to Eckerd" as we walked by.  Many talked about it being a VERY welcoming community with both other students and profs.  Many gushed over how great their profs were. (Rate my Professor also gives many profs high marks.)  When walking around we saw students both enjoying the great outdoors and working on Organic Chemistry on Sunday.  On Monday, many were headed to class.

 

When we asked (of current students) why students left Eckerd, we were told it was almost always because they had come in Marine Science, then changed to something Eckerd doesn't offer, so had to leave.  Those who change to something Eckerd does offer tend to stay.

 

My youngest (very green, very sustainable, very outdoor loving, probable marine science or similar land "outdoor" major, small college lover) feels he has definitely found his niche.  His only "concern" is hoping to find others who don't get their jollies from drugs or alcohol, but we both feel he will be able to do that - esp among those very interested in the labs or other extra curricular options.  Other students assure him it won't be a problem.

 

When we (parents) were talking with profs (MANY came out to greet parents/students) and I described some of his "fun" activities - like building an island in our pond - they seemed genuinely interested in having him as a student in the fall.  Speaking of profs... one told us she left a top school (literally, top 30) to come to Eckerd to teach as she felt the students at the Top 30 school were mainly interested in grades - not her subject (Bio).  Here at Eckerd she said many of the kids are genuinely interested in BIO rather than getting hung up on grades.  She loves it...

 

One other little "quirk..."  Our nametags were stamped if a student had already deposited to come to Eckerd (as my son has).  I noted many of the admissions counselors, etc, talking more (and longer) with those who hadn't committed yet.  (It makes sense - they have to "sell" the school.)  Many of the profs spent their time talking with the committed students and parents.  I like that.  They seemed to genuinely have an interest in those coming rather than "the sell."

 

The school does have a higher admissions rate at 71%, but I'm pretty sure it's also self-selecting.  I think many can get a feel for it ahead of time to know whether they should even apply or not. I've tried to share that fit here... Admissions also told us they look more for "fit" than scores, so take that into consideration too.

 

At this point, I have no regrets about my son's choice and wish him well.  We bought the T-shirts and are now Eckerd College parents...

 

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Unintentional pun?  :laugh:

 

Love the report!

 

Actually, it was totally intentional... ;)

 

Many students come in thinking Marine Science and dolphin training are identical.  When they find out they need Calculus, Organic Chemistry, Physics, Geology, and other "hard" sciences (as well as the "fun" hands on labs that are out getting their feet wet, say, getting core samples from the bottom of the bay as well as collecting critters to count or study), they decide it isn't for them.

 

Marine Science majors do get a specialty (Bio may be it, or there are three others to choose from) but they also get an education in the whole oceanographic scene - not just one aspect.  It's part of why Eckerd grads are so desired in the workplace.  They are not one-dimensional.  They know "all of it" and have done "all of it" with hands on training - not just book learning (though there's some of that too, of course).

 

It's not for everyone.

 

They do offer calculus and organic chemistry (and other sciences) tutoring... for free...

 

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Argh!!!! Creekland.....I think you are sending me to Florida with middle ds for a visit! I could easily see him doing well at Eckerd and though he wants to end up in Great Lakes Ecology, research indicates they are so strong in biology, ecology, and environmental science, that he should have no trouble coming back north for grad school.

 

Cornell, U of Rochester (thankfully close together), U of Wisconsin......Eckerd. I feel a lot of driving in my future!

 

Thanks a bunch for the detailed report.

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Thanks for the report - the detailed information is appreciated. I grew up/went to college in S. FL but Eckerd was not on my radar (probably had not been transformed at that point).  Eckerd was the local drug store chain (are they still around?) which I remember being wonderful stores. Now I have a budding marine biology kid entering high school. Better put Eckerd on our map.

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Argh!!!! Creekland.....I think you are sending me to Florida with middle ds for a visit! I could easily see him doing well at Eckerd and though he wants to end up in Great Lakes Ecology, research indicates they are so strong in biology, ecology, and environmental science, that he should have no trouble coming back north for grad school.

 

Cornell, U of Rochester (thankfully close together), U of Wisconsin......Eckerd. I feel a lot of driving in my future!

 

Thanks a bunch for the detailed report.

 

They've had students go to Alaska and Iceland + oodles of other places... while MY guy wants them for tropical, not everyone does.  Their marine/environmental education is very thorough.  ;)

 

Thanks for the report - the detailed information is appreciated. I grew up/went to college in S. FL but Eckerd was not on my radar (probably had not been transformed at that point).  Eckerd was the local drug store chain (are they still around?) which I remember being wonderful stores. Now I have a budding marine biology kid entering high school. Better put Eckerd on our map.

 

I believe the Jack Eckerd who "took over" the college is the guy with the drug store chain, but I didn't google to be 100% sure.

 

Eckerd should be at least on the radar for anyone considering Marine bio IMO.  They are pretty dominant and getting stronger by the year.

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Just adding the link I wanted to add referencing Eckerd's dominance in Marine Science as per NOAA and their Hollings Scholarships:

 

http://www.stpete.com/news/122460/Eckerd-College-Continues-National-Lead-in-NOAA-Hollings-Scholarships.htm

 

"Our designation as the top producer of Hollings Scholars continues an outstanding record for Eckerd College," said Eckerd President Dr. Donald R. Eastman III. "Not only are we proud of our students' success, but it is a testament of our faculty's commitment to preparing students for extensive training and research early in their college careers."

 

Eckerd's total of seven winners is more than any other U.S. college or university. Coming in second was the University of Miami and Penn State University with five recipients each, Florida State University placed third with four recipients, and eight other institutions had three each.
Eckerd College continues to expand its lead as the top winner of Hollings Scholarships since the NOAA program was introduced in 2005. Most notably, Eckerd is a private, liberal arts college in a sea of public research universities.

Hollings Scholarships at the Top Five Schools
1. Eckerd College (53)
2. University of Miami (36)
3. Penn State University (33)
4. University of Oklahoma (31)
5. Cornell University (26)

 

One also needs to note that some of these scholarships go to atmospheric studies (hence Oklahoma, etc, ranking high on the list).

 

When doing the google search to find the link from a non-Eckerd source (though St Pete is the city Eckerd is in), I found many universities highlighting that they had one or three winners... and I fully suspect ALL of the other universities are larger than Eckerd.

 

There's a reason those in the field generally list Eckerd first when recommending schools to seriously consider if looking to go into Marine Science fields.  U Miami also gets recommended.  We visited both (and a couple others).  My guy preferred Eckerd because Eckerd is literally right on the water (their web site says 1 mile of coastline).  Miami's waterfront is a van ride (few miles - can take 45 minutes) away.  Plus UM has grad students getting to do the "fun stuff" (keeping up tanks, etc) according to my guy.  Eckerd uses undergrads (no grad students there).  My guy wants to be able to roll out of his bed and head to the lab or waterfront.

 

U Miami IS a good school (I do recommend the school) and would be better for those wanting a larger U.  My guy wanted small.  For him, it all adds up to Eckerd being the best fit all around.

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Wow, great report. Thanks for taking the time to do this. I'm going bonkers right now looking for a school that has a sailing team and film studies - not an easy match!

 

I believe they said their Film Studies was the latest/newest major they have, so that can come with pros and cons.  One pro is they might REALLY want to attract students with that major.  ;)

 

I also heard that their Sailing Team is nationally ranked... but would need to look up details.  I know they said they were 2nd in their conference at that point.

 

If the great outdoors is a love and being globally minded, etc, fits, it could easily be a school worth looking into IMO.

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Thank you for sharing this information.  DS is hoping for Biology/Conservation/Marine Bio as his intended major.  He is in the process of narrowing his possible schools and I Do not think Eckerd is even on his radar.  I will have him look at this thread and the Eckerd website.  We are already planning a trip to FL for a few campus visits so stopping by Eckerd shouldn't be a problem.

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Creekland - can you share what other schools your son was considering?  I am curious to know if there is a similarity with DS's current list.

 

Sure - remember he wants tropical, so he eliminated all more northern schools including College of the Atlantic in Maine (liked it otherwise via brochures), though if looking in state (PA) and non-marine he would have liked Juniata.  I wanted him to look at Coastal Carolina, but it was too north for him and not "coastal" by his definition. 

 

His original first love was the University of Hawaii at Manoa - great program for Marine, South Pacific, and tropical, but they are a commuter school and have grad students.  He really wanted a residential college experience where the majority of the students are residential, not just OOS students, and later he decided having grad students around took away the majority of the "fun" jobs.

 

He briefly considered Texas A&M at Galveston, but eliminated that one when he saw just how specific to Marine "stuff" they are.  He wanted a bit of a wider variety.  Their graduation rate is super low - probably due to not having other majors.

 

Then, in FL he considered U Miami (a good choice, but is not on the water and has grad students), Nova Southeastern (a good choice, but also not on the water and has grad students - plus a "younger" program, so still growing - could have made a nice financial choice though as their merit aid is really good + they have ALL small classes), Palm Beach Atlantic (a Christian school with a Marine Science concentration - appealing until he found out the concentration is only a few classes AND no one we talked with in the field had ever heard of them - making it more doubtful for a good outcome), and Florida Institute of Technology (eliminated this one prior to a visit due to being more of a "Tech" school than the others).

 

In the end, had he needed a backup plan, Nova Southeastern would have been it, but he chose to go Eckerd or bust due to loving no grad students and their location right on the water (they pump water directly to their tanks, etc).

 

If he had been interested in a more northern location, there could have been other options, but we soon learned to eliminate them merely due to not being tropical... that was non-negotiable for his "fit."

 

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Sure - remember he wants tropical, so he eliminated all more northern schools including College of the Atlantic in Maine (liked it otherwise via brochures), though if looking in state (PA) and non-marine he would have liked Juniata.  I wanted him to look at Coastal Carolina, but it was too north for him and not "coastal" by his definition. 

 

His original first love was the University of Hawaii at Manoa - great program for Marine, South Pacific, and tropical, but they are a commuter school and have grad students.  He really wanted a residential college experience where the majority of the students are residential, not just OOS students, and later he decided having grad students around took away the majority of the "fun" jobs.

 

He briefly considered Texas A&M at Galveston, but eliminated that one when he saw just how specific to Marine "stuff" they are.  He wanted a bit of a wider variety.  Their graduation rate is super low - probably due to not having other majors.

 

Then, in FL he considered U Miami (a good choice, but is not on the water and has grad students), Nova Southeastern (a good choice, but also not on the water and has grad students - plus a "younger" program, so still growing - could have made a nice financial choice though as their merit aid is really good + they have ALL small classes), Palm Beach Atlantic (a Christian school with a Marine Science concentration - appealing until he found out the concentration is only a few classes AND no one we talked with in the field had ever heard of them - making it more doubtful for a good outcome), and Florida Institute of Technology (eliminated this one prior to a visit due to being more of a "Tech" school than the others).

 

In the end, had he needed a backup plan, Nova Southeastern would have been it, but he chose to go Eckerd or bust due to loving no grad students and their location right on the water (they pump water directly to their tanks, etc).

 

If he had been interested in a more northern location, there could have been other options, but we soon learned to eliminate them merely due to not being tropical... that was non-negotiable for his "fit."

 

Other than U of Miami there is no overlap.  I think it might be due to your son knowing what area of marine bio he wishes to study.  My DS is still undecided and has been counseled to stay as broad as he can for undergrad and then develop a concentration for his MA and PhD.

 

At this point in time (and it changes weekly) DS's top schools are:

1) Brown University - ScB in Biology with a concentration in Marine Bio

2) U of Miami

3) Princeton - Chemical and Biological engineering program

4) Grinnell - Biology with a concentration in Environmental studies

 

He thinks he has things settled and then some engineering school tries to woe him to study engineering and muddys the water.  He has won a couple of scholarships to our local LAC from winning local WYSE competitions and is now on the radar of even more engineering programs.

 

 

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Other than U of Miami there is no overlap.  I think it might be due to your son knowing what area of marine bio he wishes to study.  My DS is still undecided and has been counseled to stay as broad as he can for undergrad and then develop a concentration for his MA and PhD.

 

At this point in time (and it changes weekly) DS's top schools are:

1) Brown University - ScB in Biology with a concentration in Marine Bio

2) U of Miami

3) Princeton - Chemical and Biological engineering program

4) Grinnell - Biology with a concentration in Environmental studies

 

He thinks he has things settled and then some engineering school tries to woe him to study engineering and muddys the water.  He has won a couple of scholarships to our local LAC from winning local WYSE competitions and is now on the radar of even more engineering programs.

 

My guy knows he wants at least coastal and at least tropical.  I'm not so sure he's into Marine meaning ocean or Marine meaning estuaries... he loves the Everglades and similar places too.  Right now he's thinking aquaculture and trying to make it more sustainable and "green."  Who knows what it will be when he sees other options?

 

Then he loves the hands on aspect - out there actually doing it from freshman first semester rather than an occasional field trip and saving the rest for grad school or upperclass years.

 

He definitely would have no interest at all in Brown, Princeton, or Grinnell - or engineering either (hubby's an engineer, so he sees that up close!).  ;)  "Top" schools for his fit are definitely different than normal "top" schools.

 

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Thanks for posting this. my ds14 is interested in Marine Science and we loved your report!

 

Glad you liked it.  I can update the financial side that it is costing us about 7K/year more than if my guy had chosen a PA state school based upon Net Cost Calculators.  He hasn't actually applied to any PA state schools as they don't have what he wants to study (esp the tropical part), so that's as good as my guess can get.

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  • 1 month later...

Many years ago I lived in Tampa and worked at the DNR/DEP marine research lab also located on the southern tip of the St. Petersburg peninsula. Even back then, Eckerd had a good reputation with many of the researchers at our lab. I frequently worked on marine mammal projects with several Eckerd professors and thought they were top notch.

 

I think more of a problem than the drug issue is the tourism/party lifestyle that is so prevalent in the St. Pete/Clearwater/Sarasota area. Most college kids know to be wary of the drug scene, but few have learned to watch out for "shiny, happy people having fun". I knew a few kids that had to transfer to other schools because of that. One guy told me, "I just got sucked in. Every where I went, every day of the week, there seemed to be a group of cool people who were on vacation. Americans, French, Germans, Japanese...it never stopped. And everyone invited me to join in with them. I just didn't have the self discipline to remember that I wasn't on vacation even if they were." And that is very true. It takes a lot of self control to be purposeful in paradise.

 

At the same time, it is important to live a little! There are all kinds of festivals and events that are tremendous fun to visit. IMO, the challenge is to determine how much social time is right for each student. When I was there, the best way to get involved in things was to do so as a volunteer - then you got to see not only the event, but also all the behind-the-scenes things and meet many of the movers and shakers who created the event or who were the featured speakers.

 

Beyond that, I have one word for your ds - sunscreen. Now solidly in midlife, I am starting to pay significant penalties for all those hours in the Florida sun! Even though I live in the cloudy northern Midwest now. Best wishes!

 

 

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We are working on the sunscreen talk now.  He is resistant, of course, since he "knows" how much sun he can handle.  He may have to learn about fire by being burned...

 

But he's excited to be going there in less than 3 months - glad you had great experiences with the profs!  Thanks for those reassuring words!  I seriously suspect this kid will end up being a lab rat if he can.  My main worry is if he will take time from that to do his bookwork for his other classes...

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We are working on the sunscreen talk now.  He is resistant, of course, since he "knows" how much sun he can handle.  He may have to learn about fire by being burned...

 

Creekland, this made me laugh! I wish dh would learn his lesson. He was out last night setting off cremora mixed with black powder. 20 ft. fireball in my yard. His eyebrows are getting thinner and thinner...I think the hair on the tops of lower arms now refuses to even try to go. Sigh....my job, just keep him from burning up 4-H kids! :lol:  :lol:  :lol:

 

Good luck with your son. I have two that are pretty good about sunscreen and one that is atrocious, as per his genetics on his paternal side in which sunscreen is just something not to be bothered with...GRRRRR....

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Re the sunscreen thing, please be sure to tell him that I thought I could handle it too. And I did, while I was down there and in my 20's and 30's. But now, so many years later, strange spots and bumps keep appearing out of nowhere. The Dr. calls all of it "precancerous sun damage" and proceeds to burn or cut it all off. Tell your ds that he is not protecting his 20yo skin, rather his 50yo skin (which will matter to him more than he can imagine!).

 

Regarding the nonlab experiences, perhaps you can get some info from the Tampa/St. Pete/Clearwater Chambers of Commerce and see if there are any events or festivals listed that interest him. The when he gets down there are gets settled in, he can contact the organizers and volunteer to help out. There are plenty of marine themed and conservation events.

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Back home from church now. I wanted to elaborate just a bit on the sunscreen.

 

When I lived down there, my policy was that if I was on my own time, playing around and able to get out of the sun whenever I wanted, then I could take it easy with the sunscreen and tan a bit. However, if I was doing field work or was somewhere where I could not control the amount of sun I would get, then it was the highest SPF I could find. On all exposed skin including lips.

 

Please tell your son that senior researchers expect their workers to be responsible in this matter. They get really vexed when they lose a worker due to intense sunburn or sun poisoning. Several times I have seen someone get so burnt that they become nauseous, in extreme pain, dehydrated and start vomiting. More often than not, they get hospitalized briefly for it. I have also seen people diagnosed with sun poisoning, which usually stems from a bad sunburn but continues to cause problems long after the initial burn heals. Symptoms include nausea, rash and severe headache with even a slight subsequent exposure to the sun and can return anytime the person is exposed to strong sunlight for up to a couple of years. As you might imagine, this can put a real damper on any field work.

 

I never considered field work to be an opportunity for casual tanning. And I am still having some skin problems related to sun damage. Your son would want to impress his bosses by how intelligent and responsible he is, and proper skin care is one of those areas where responsibility really counts. Fourteen hours in to a twenty hour whale rescue on a shadeless beach is not the time to finally admit you misjudged and can't handle as much sun as you thought.

 

If your son was going to McMurdo Station in Antarctica, I'm sure he would diligently follow all the safety precautions regarding the climate. The tropical environment can be just as deadly, although it usually takes a while longer and may be more insidious. The sun and salt can be terribly damaging to all surfaces, especially human skin.

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Back home from church now. I wanted to elaborate just a bit on the sunscreen.

 

I love your reasoning as that is something that might stick with him far more than just "good for your future health" would ever do! (I've been literally getting nowhere.) Thanks!

 

I really love and appreciate the collective wisdom of the Hive...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I just wanted to let you know that we are taking a visit to Eckerd; we are going for the Fall open house.  DS has started the application process by submitting his ACT scores.

 

He has also changed his school list and includes Eckerd, Boston Uni and Duke.  The Duke marine lab has him starstruck but each of these schools offers hands-on, early research opportunities.

 

Can you share how generous Eckerd was with you for scholarships and financial aid?

 

 

 

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I just wanted to let you know that we are taking a visit to Eckerd; we are going for the Fall open house.  DS has started the application process by submitting his ACT scores.

 

He has also changed his school list and includes Eckerd, Boston Uni and Duke.  The Duke marine lab has him starstruck but each of these schools offers hands-on, early research opportunities.

 

Can you share how generous Eckerd was with you for scholarships and financial aid?

 

With scholarships, my guy maxed out their published awards at 19K.  With financial aid they didn't quite hit our EFC - off by about 6K if I recall correctly.

 

I can't compare Duke or BU as my guy specifically wanted tropical... those two were never on his list due to location.

 

As we get closer to the date, if you want to talk with a current freshman, send me a pm and I'll give you his contact info.  ;)

 

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I just wanted to let you know that we are taking a visit to Eckerd; we are going for the Fall open house.  DS has started the application process by submitting his ACT scores.

 

He has also changed his school list and includes Eckerd, Boston Uni and Duke.  The Duke marine lab has him starstruck but each of these schools offers hands-on, early research opportunities.

 

Can you share how generous Eckerd was with you for scholarships and financial aid?

 

ETA:  Duh... just re-read the whole thread to refresh my memory and saw that you are considering UM...  Rather than deleting the rest of this post, I'm leaving it on in case others might be interested.

 

Best wishes to your family as you do your visits!

 

ps... Not to belittle Eckerd at all, but if your guy is not "put off" by grad students (as mine was), and you are considering schools like Duke and BU, you might want to also add U Miami (FL) to your list of schools to check out.  They have a nice marine lab too (though not connected to the school, but students take classes there - they are vanned in).  U Miami is 2nd to Eckerd in # of Hollings Scholarships from NOAA, and the school overall impressed us - aside from the heavy traffic to get there (not really an issue worth crossing any school off a list for - just annoying when traveling).  UM also offers both merit and need-based aid and attracts quite a few Marine (or weather) majors from all over.

 

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I have no idea how the program at this school compares, but the daughter of a friend is attending Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fl next fall and majoring in their new Coastal Environmental Science major. Here's an article she sent me about it:

 

http://flaglermagazine.com/2013/09/20/coastal-classrooms/

 

Again, I don't really know anything about the program. I have vacationed in St. Augustine, Fl and it is a really nice little town with a ton of history. Flagler College is very small, but the school is beautiful as it occupies a former hotel resort built in the 1900's. And it's relatively cheap for a private school (she told me tuition was about $15,000 /year)

 

Just thought it might be something to consider if looking at Florida schools.

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With scholarships, my guy maxed out their published awards at 19K.  With financial aid they didn't quite hit our EFC - off by about 6K if I recall correctly.

 

I can't compare Duke or BU as my guy specifically wanted tropical... those two were never on his list due to location.

 

As we get closer to the date, if you want to talk with a current freshman, send me a pm and I'll give you his contact info.  ;)

 

 

I used the Cost Calculator to get an idea of what type of aid Eckerd gives.  Out of the 9 schools I looked through last night, Eckerd had the least amount of need based aid and the highest EFC (for our family).  I realize this is just a ballpark figure and scholarships should come into play but I was surprised that Eckerd's EFC was 2-3X higher than the other schools.  I wonder if it has to do with a low endowment.  There isn't much info on College Confidential.

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I used the Cost Calculator to get an idea of what type of aid Eckerd gives.  Out of the 9 schools I looked through last night, Eckerd had the least amount of need based aid and the highest EFC (for our family).  I realize this is just a ballpark figure and scholarships should come into play but I was surprised that Eckerd's EFC was 2-3X higher than the other schools.  I wonder if it has to do with a low endowment.  There isn't much info on College Confidential.

 

We didn't get 2 - 3X higher, but it was higher.  It caused us to think a bit about our options, but in the end (for us) the "top-ness" of the program for what he wanted tipped the scale as it's an extremely competitive field and their graduates seem to do well with job placement and/or grad school.  Graduates we heard from (marine majors) had nothing but praise for their background and enjoyed telling us what they were doing.  We've come across others with degrees from other schools who don't have jobs in their field even though they did well.

 

With oldest and middle there were far more options... but they didn't want/need anything quite so specific.

 

I do think their low endowment is a bit of the issue.

 

It was not an easy call here, but it's the path we chose.  Hopefully he will do his part.  I think he will or we wouldn't be going this way.

 

If finances are a big deal, one school you might want to consider is Nova Southeastern.  They have awesome merit aid and a great looking marine dept mainly financed by Guy Harvey.  This school started as a graduate school only and very recently ('80s) expanded into undergrad letting their grad schools decide how undergrad would be run.  ALL classes are small.  With their merit aid and philosophy (and FL location - in Ft. Lauderdale) they were a very tempting second choice.  However, like UM, their marine center is not on campus and they have grad students... plus they just don't yet have the reputation I'd like to see... but I did get the impression they were working a bit on it and would be moving up.  Finance-wise... it was very tempting.

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Thanks, Creekland.  I am having one heck of a time weeding through so much information for my DS and helping him narrow his final choices even more.  Every day he receives info in the mail from schools with marine bio/marine science/conservation programs and they all look wonderful from the brochures.  He is working at summer camp for 7 weeks and doesn't have the access or time to search the internet; he gets about 20 hours off during the weekend which is when I show him the new materials and we discuss the options.  He leaves me a list of schools to research during the week and then takes that info with him to look through during his down time throughout the next week.  Since he has 10 days off between the end of camp and the beginning of school, our time for college visits is limited.  We are planning on going to visit his non-Florida choices in August and then going to FL (Eckerd & UM) in either Sept or Oct.

 

We are having a rather good time with it.  :)  I am truly amazed at the depth and breadth of programs available in this discipline.  I am just sad that he didn't choose to visit Univ. of Hawaii.  So is my DD; she keeps slipping in little notes or messages about UH. She has volunteered to chaperone a visit to UH and says I can stay home and take a 'much needed break'.  I love how she is thinking only of my well-being.

 

I do have to laugh at one of the stats DS happenend to notice this last trip home:  Eckerd's student body is 61% female and it's on a beach.  All he did was smile.

 

I'm thinking about sending him to Northern Maine.

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Thanks, Creekland.  I am having one heck of a time weeding through so much information for my DS and helping him narrow his final choices even more.  Every day he receives info in the mail from schools with marine bio/marine science/conservation programs and they all look wonderful from the brochures.  He is working at summer camp for 7 weeks and doesn't have the access or time to search the internet; he gets about 20 hours off during the weekend which is when I show him the new materials and we discuss the options.  He leaves me a list of schools to research during the week and then takes that info with him to look through during his down time throughout the next week.  Since he has 10 days off between the end of camp and the beginning of school, our time for college visits is limited.  We are planning on going to visit his non-Florida choices in August and then going to FL (Eckerd & UM) in either Sept or Oct.

 

We are having a rather good time with it.  :)  I am truly amazed at the depth and breadth of programs available in this discipline.  I am just sad that he didn't choose to visit Univ. of Hawaii.  So is my DD; she keeps slipping in little notes or messages about UH. She has volunteered to chaperone a visit to UH and says I can stay home and take a 'much needed break'.  I love how she is thinking only of my well-being.

 

I do have to laugh at one of the stats DS happenend to notice this last trip home:  Eckerd's student body is 61% female and it's on a beach.  All he did was smile.

 

I'm thinking about sending him to Northern Maine.

 

UM and Nova Southeastern are about an hour+ apart from each other with good traffic.  We opted to stay in Ft Lauderdale at Sun Towers (near the airport and right on the beach) and commute for a day into UM (allow about an hour and a half or a little more to get there due to traffic in the mornings).  The next day was the day we flew out.  I arranged an afternoon flight and we tucked in a visit to Nova Southeastern that morning through about 4pm.

 

Just some thoughts if they would work for you... on that trip we flew in to Tampa for seeing Eckerd, then drove down to the others (taking a day for travel).

 

Your guy and mine had the same reaction to Eckerd with their stats.  I looked at a brochure that seemed to have 10 gals and 2 guys on it and pointed that out to him.  "What's the problem?" he asked with a smile...

 

You definitely have more weeding to do than we did.  The fact that my guy 100% knew he wanted tropical eliminated so many schools for us.  After that it was the little things, with Hollings scholarship numbers (trusting that NOAA knows the level of ability of those they choose), our visits, and talking with and/or reading about alumni that got us to our decision.

 

I, too, moaned when UH was taken off the list due to being a commuter school... he'd still love to do grad school there.  Time will tell if that's still in the cards many moons from now.

 

Less than 2 months now and I'll have some first hand impressions to pass along.  He checks in there Aug 8th.

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