Dear Future Gators,

This is it – the hardest part. While the application process is challenging, the period of time while you are waiting to hear back is even worse! But now is the perfect time to learn about the different options you may have at UF, so you’re prepared when that decision arrives. One of these is the PaCE program, or Pathway to Campus Enrollment. I am a second-year PaCE student but it seems like just yesterday that I opened my acceptance from UF.

My reaction to my acceptance was not like most; it was actually the opposite. I am from New Jersey, and in my particular area there are very few people who went to UF, so I did not know about all the different program options. When I first read “Congratulations on your acceptance to the University of Florida Pathway to Campus Enrollment program” my heart dropped. The only thing I knew about PaCE was that I would need to complete online credits before I could start in-person classes, and if I am being honest, that prospect terrified me. It scared me so much that I almost second-guessed myself and turned down my offer of admission – but I am so grateful every single day that I didn’t.

The PaCE program has been the most unique and amazing experience for me. I have been able to fully capture the essence of being a Gator while adjusting to college life on my own schedule. Once I realized that UF was my dream school, I began doing research about the program. I read blogs, joined Facebook groups and talked to former students. I quickly realized how little being a PaCE student would alter my idea of the “ideal college experience.” My freshman year, I lived in an off-campus dorm filled with other UF students. I was able to go through recruitment and meet so many incredible women, many of whom I call my best friends today. I was eager to continue to get involved on campus, so I went through the Rec Sports group fitness instructor training program. I am now a certified fitness instructor and teach classes at Southwest Rec here on campus. My point of sharing all of this with you is to show you how much PaCE has given me. I have the flexibility to create a personalized work schedule that has allowed me to get involved on campus while still staying on top of my classes. PaCE has also provided me with a community of incredible people eager to help me succeed during my college years and beyond. Instead of it altering my “ideal college experience,” it did quite the opposite. I can confidently say this program helped make it.

Joining the Gator community was the best decision I’ve ever made, and one that I seriously believe was meant to be. I am grateful every day to have the opportunity to receive my degree from this incredible university. So as you prepare to receive your decision in just a few weeks, know that there is more than one way to become a Gator – but there’s only one Gator Nation. I hope you’ll join it!

As always, Go Gators!