What a Year at College Looks Like: A Rollins Year in 30 Photos & Videos

You’ve no doubt wondered what your life in college will look like. Wouldn’t it be great to fast-forward a few years and experience life on the campuses of the colleges you’re considering? Well, we have the next best thing. To give you a sneak peek at the college experience, my counselors and I have put together an at-a-glance look at a year at Rollins.

You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at everything from moving into your dorm room to collecting your diploma at commencement. Along the way, you’ll sit in on some of our coolest classes, see what it’s like to intern at some of the world’s most innovative companies, and tag along on faculty-led field studies to everywhere from Costa Rica to Tanzania. Go ahead: See your future come into focus at Rollins.

Photo of Faye Tydlaska

By Faye TydlaskaVice President for Admission and Financial Aid, Rollins College

Six students cross a stream in Costa Rica on horseback.

Sustainable roots

Before even setting foot in a classroom, first-year Rollins students have the opportunity to embark on a 10-day field study to Costa Rica led by environmental studies professor Barry Allen to learn about conservation and sustainability.

Students laugh while they try to catch pancakes on their plates during orientation.

Welcome to Rollins

Welcome Week at Rollins is about far more than settling into your dorm room. Think of it as an immersive introduction to your #RollinsLife. You’ll meet your faculty advisor and peer mentors for the first time. You’ll begin to find your anchor on campus, and you’ll start building relationships that will stand the test of time. Oh, and you’ll attempt to catch stacks of pancakes during Pancake Flip, one of our most delicious (and hilarious) traditions.

Campus living

Our residence halls are far more than a comfy place to lay your head. They’re kinetic hives of community and collaboration, diversity and discourse, learning and laughter. Curtis Shaffer visits friends in their residence halls to give you a sneak peek at what life looks like on America’s most beautiful campus.

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College professor and students engage in discussion in a outdoor classroom.

Outdoor classes

Political science professor Dan Chong and his students took advantage of Florida’s fine fall weather and enjoyed a sun-drenched discussion at the outdoor classroom near Orlando Hall. The idyllic courtyard is one of the many open-air classroom locations on campus.

Male student stands in front of a space shuttle at NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

Epic internships

As a student, computer science major Michael Gutensohn completed four internships at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Those experiences laid the groundwork for his current career as an artificial intelligence and machine learning engineer at Apple. Rollins has an entire office dedicated to helping students land the best internships in Orlando and beyond.

Water works

Chemistry professor Pedro Bernal led students on a field study to the Dominican Republic. During their two weeks on the island, Bernal and his students worked to reduce the incidence of water-related illnesses by installing household water filtration systems, testing water quality, and administering health surveys.

Out on the town

Tag along with Curtis Shaffer and his classmates as they give you an insider’s look at Winter Park’s wonders. From the best restaurants to hip boutiques, explore your future classmates’ top picks and find out what it’s like to be a college student in one of America’s trendiest towns.

Students develop a walking-tour app for Hannibal Square.

Collaborative communities

Students in computer science professor Dan Myers’ Creating the Digital Future course partnered with the Hannibal Square Heritage Center to develop a new walking-tour app for Hannibal Square, a historic African-American neighborhood located a mile from campus.

Students learn about environmental studies at Florida’s Canaveral National Seashore

Beyond the Classroom

At Rollins, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to learn by doing. In fact, environmental studies professor Lee Lines has designed a one-of-a-kind collection of courses around the Rollins tradition of hands-on application. Each of the courses focuses on issues related to sustainability, with core concepts highlighted through hands-on learning opportunities in environments like Florida’s Canaveral National Seashore and California’s Point Reyes National Seashore.

Intern stands in front of a NASCAR race car at Daytona International Speedway.

Driven

Faster, bigger, flashier—all of those are synonymous with better when it comes to NASCAR, and for eight weeks, Ryan O’Donnell worked on developing strategies to make the brand more of all three. O’Donnell worked in the New York City office as the only intern in the strategic development branch, which continually works on dreaming up big ideas to enhance the sport’s long-term trajectory.

Rollins basketball player, Jakobi Bonner shoots a basketball in his residence hall.

Perfect blend

Rollins offers the perfect blend of athletic and academic excellence. For proof, look no further than Rollins’ 23 national championships and nine consecutive NCAA Division II President’s Awards, which recognize colleges for achieving the nation’s highest academic success rates. In 2019, Rollins achieved a 96 percent success rate, topping the Sunshine State Conference and tying for fourth in the nation.

Foodies, rejoice

From craft coffee, to PETA-approved vegan dishes, a variety of international options and more, Rollins offers tons of dining options to satisfy any palette.

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Students performing a holiday concert in downtown Orlando.

In concert

Rollins and neighboring Full Sail University banded together to get everyone in the holiday spirit with Songs of the Season, a free concert on the lawn at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.

Students discussion an art installation in downtown Orlando.

Art in Orlando

During Intersession over winter break, students in art history professor MacKenzie Moon Ryan’s Art in Orlando class visited seminal art institutions around the city, soaking up everything from sculptures and paintings to installations and public arts spaces.

Students on the back of a flat-bed truck in a vegetable farm.

Going all in

Just before the start of the spring semester, a group of Rollins students visited the Farmworkers Association of Florida, where they were tasked with examining the economic and political implications of immigration as well as the environmental and biological consequences of farming practices. The Immersion experience was one of more than two dozen courses taught during Intersession.

Students gather to study on the steps of Kathleen W. Rollins Hall.

Kathleen W. Rollins Hall

In January, Rollins opened the doors to its new applied learning center, Kathleen W. Rollins Hall. Located in the center of campus, the state-of-the-art facility brings together 10 Rollins programs—from the Center for Career & Life Planning to the Office of International Programs—that empower students to put their education into action. It also features four classrooms, a student lounge, and loads of space to study, work on your resume, or just hang out.

Two students and a professor work on an optical microscope in a classroom.

Laser focused

Physics professor Ashley Cannaday partnered with Samuel Hanna and James Hoelle through Rollins’ Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Program to build a customizable angular scattering microscope using off-the-shelf optical components. Their novel technique, which allows them to measure the light scattering from a single cell at a time, could contribute to earlier detection of neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s.

A Rollins student helps children in Tanzania study.

Top producer of Fulbrights

In February, Rollins was named a top producer of Fulbright students for the eighth time. The honor is an important marker in a continuing legacy of cultivating lifelong leadership and international service among Rollins graduates. The College has produced more than 50 Fulbright students since 2006, including seven recipients for 2019-20.

College student observes a young child constructing a tower from building blocks.

All-ages education

At Rollins’ on-campus Child Development and Research Center, Janae Noah observes a preschooler’s social-emotional development, fine motor skills, and other progressive behaviors as part of her Developmental Psychology lab.

Two female students hold a trophy after winning a debate competition.

The Great Debate

Whitney Elliott and Sunny Toreihi bested two other all-female teams from Jamaica and China, debating the resolution, This House Would Respond to the #MeToo Movement, during Rollins’ annual Great Debate.

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Students work on a project around an outdoor table.

Ethical fashion

Students in Raja Singaram’s community engagement course Systems & Design Thinking for Social Change helped local social enterprise deux mains secure ethical certifications for its sustainable fashion line.

Excited college students celebrate a day off classes.

The perfect day

Fox Day was once again the best day of the year. Arguably the College’s most beloved tradition—and with good reason—Fox Day occurs each spring on a random day the president deems “too pretty to have class.” Students celebrate in a number of ways, from lawn games on Mills Lawn to trips to theme parks and nearby beaches.

Adjacent adventure

Thanks to Rollins’ lakeside location, students are always a stone’s throw from a multitude of aquatic adventures. Navigate the Winter Park Chain of Lakes by paddleboard, earn credit for learning to sail and scuba dive, or soak up the sun while studying on our white-sand beach.

A group of students brainstorm at a white board.

A winning idea

Four Rollins social entrepreneurship students—Nikki Hall-Elser, Matias Meirelles Van Vliet, Dayra Diaz-Marquez, and Kinsley Gerks—won the regional competition of the Hult Prize, the world’s most prestigious collegiate competition for social innovation startups.

An art professor shows two students how to use a vintage printing press.

Craft commune

Art professor Rachel Simmons’s printmaking studio in the Cornell Fine Arts Center feels like the physical manifestation of her collaborative approach to art and teaching.

Archaeology students excavate a 5,000-year-old Native American site.

Unearthing a mystery

Students in anthropology professor Zack Gilmore’s Archaeological Field School course excavate an ancient mystery from a swamp just 20 miles east of campus. During the four-week Intersession course, students partnered with the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research to investigate 5,000-year-old Native American sites.

A social media intern takes photos on her phone at a performing arts center.

Playful promotion

Communications major Emma Webb worked as a social media intern for the Orlando Ballet, attending all the performances, shooting original photo and video content, interviewing performers, and working behind the scenes on daily promotions.

Students on a safari jeep in the middle of Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

Grow abroad

From semester and summer programs to faculty-led field studies, Rollins offers more than 90 study-abroad programs throughout the year, and more than 75 percent of Rollins students study abroad. It’s little surprise then that Rollins was ranked among the top 10 master’s-granting institutions in the nation for the percentage of undergraduate students who study abroad.

A college professor and student interview two women as part of a research project on immigration.

Research that empowers

As part of the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program, Mary Vickers and anthropology professor Nolan Kline listen intently to stories of struggle from immigrants at the Hope CommUnity Center, just 40 minutes from campus.

A collage of graduates from the class of 2020 celebrating at home.

A brilliant future

In May, the newest crop of Rollins graduates received their virtual diploma in the midst of a global pandemic, ably prepared to forge productive careers and empowered to lead meaningful lives.

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