Since eighth grade, Izzie Jado knew she wanted to become a doctor.
The University of Florida was her first choice, but when the 18-year-old received an acceptance letter admitting her into the UF Pathway to Campus Enrollment (PaCE) program, she changed her mind. Admissions officers told her that taking online classes would affect her competitiveness for medical school.
Jado rejected the offer to enter the PaCE program, but she’s not the only one.
Out of the 3,118 students who were admitted to PaCE, only 272 have accepted so far, said Andrea Felder, UF director of freshman and international admissions.
“We anticipate, as we’re able to promote the program a little bit more, as more students go through the program we could potentially see an increase in confirmation from students,” she said.
“But I think we’re very pleased with the number of students who chose to enroll, because we didn’t know how many students would.”
Students admitted to PaCE must complete at least two semesters of classes online. After they have a total of 60 credits, they can then transfer to campus, according to the PaCE website.
PaCE offers more than 60 majors, including a bachelor of arts in biology. It does not, however, offer a bachelor of science in biology, which is a degree pre-med students seek.
“It sucks because I had my heart set on it,” Jado said.
Jado said a UF admissions officer told her students wishing to pursue professional school programs, such as medical, dental and veterinary, might run into issues with those programs accepting their online courses.
For students in health-related majors, PaCE officials suggest taking prerequisite courses as a residential student or at another state university.
But health-related professional schools at UF will accept credits from students taking these courses online, UF spokesperson Steve Orlando wrote in an email.
And regardless of major, most medical programs only focus on completed pre-requisites, Felder said. Online students will receive the same quality of education as on-campus students.
“We do feel that it (PaCE) would be a great opportunity for students, who want to be Gators, to start from day one taking UF online courses,” Felder said.
For now, though, Jado will attend the University of Arizona in the fall to obtain her biology degree.
“As far as my future, I still want to go to UF for medical school,” she said.