A little sun never hurt anyone…University of Arizona

University of Arizona. Wildcats. Bear down. Happy students. A menu of college experiences and opportunities to keep you full. This is what comes to mind after visiting the campus in Tucson, Arizona. With more days of sunshine than California and an hour-ish flight away from Los Angeles, U of A is an easy alternative to exploring an out-of-state option that isn’t too far away from home. Who would thrive here? A student looking for a larger campus packing big school spirit with truly accessible programs and activities all while feeling like you have a community and support (i.e. not getting lost in a crowd or being just a number). Take a look at highlights below. I especially loved the rec center (yes, we did take a body combat exercise class with college kids…yes I ALMOST kept up). Caution, this is a long one…you can scroll to a section that interests you or read it all…sorry I’m not sorry?!

Admissions and school profile

  • 40,000+ students, 22:1 student-faculty ratio
  • Considered a “Public Ivy” (Ivy League education, public affordability)
  • Tier 1 research university (encourages collaborative research as well across many disciplines)
  • Getting in: 3.38 average incoming GPA for enrolled freshman (considers 16 core college prep courses)

Financial Aid

Amenities & Student Life

  • 7 libraries (Main library is open 24 hours) therapy dogs (awwwww) and coffee provided during finals
  • Bike friendly campus (even a free valet to check in your bike before class…seriously?!)
  • Big student support (academic support, career support…over 10 career fairs per year)
  • Rec Center
  • Over 400 clubs
  • 14% Greek (btw, many students we asked said Greek life was no pressure at U of A. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you want with it…they did however suggest that students get involved in SOMETHING in college, whether that’s the cheese of the month club or a sorority)
  • 23 residence halls ranging from themed communities, living learning communities to the honors college community
  • Two public med schools
  • Street car (metro) accessible from campus throughout downtown areas
  • Full rec center with facilities for all students (group classes, cardio, free weights, massage stations, Fuel station for healthy treats, etc.)
  • Strong alumni base (not just in Arizona)

Academics/Programs – Here’s a FEW tidbits of highlighted programs if I wrote them all this would become a novel!! View all majors and programs online or use the interactive degree search

Honors College: The Honors Colleges are the hidden gems of these large public institutions. You can truly get the amenities of a larger university and the attention and resources of a smaller, elite college by being in the honors college. Students in the honors college can receive extra scholarships, access to professors (which equals mentorship and connections for future endeavors!) Honors average GPA 3.86, ACT 29

Engineering: Students come in as general engineering and take courses before ultimately deciding in Sophomore year what specialty to enter (14 different engineering majors!) Students will take a course and hear from all engineering disciplines to help make a decision and meet with advisors.

  • Highlight: Optical Sciences & Engineering: 1 of 2 undergrad optical sciences in US. Cutting edge research, small class sizes contracted through large companies to do research

Colleges of Sciences: 60% students do research with an office dedicated to helping students find research opportunities within their area of interest

We visited the facilities responsible for Osiris-REX a satellite partnered with NASA to collect asteroid samples to bring back new organic compounds to study


Business Eller College of Management (BS Business Administration)

  • 87% students had job or admitted to grad school upon graduation
  • Freshman admitted as pre-business then into school
    • Typical student admitted to the Eller school of business in Sophomore year of college: (average 3.3 GPA, involved in 1-2 clubs and some work experience work experience doesn’t have to be necessarily in business)
  • Wall Street scholars program
  • Operations Management = 100% job employment
  • Cyber security program housed in Eller college (amazing outcomes!)
  • Entrepreneurship program (think SharkTank, also partners with law school for a legal advisor)
  • Students looking to enter law school…majoring in Economics within Eller is a popular and successful choice
  • Two career fairs dedicated just for the business school Over 60% of students have accepted full time positions outside from Arizona
  • Big on helping students with their goal (1 minute elevator pitch tell us about yourself)
  • Business students have a living learning community residential hall with peer academic advisors living on their floor
  • Partners with major sports teams and company’s for successful internship and job outlook

Visual and Performing Arts

  • BFA and BA in Theater, BFA in Musical Theater, Dance, Music, Vocal, Tech you name it!!
  • Conservatory style, hands-on, professional learning

National showcase (U of A brings agents from around the country to Arizona to connect students to future employers/opportunities)

  • Art museum on campus plus a separate space for students to showcase visual arts

 Fred Fox School of Music (comprehensive school of music, orchestra band and voice, over 300 performances a year )

Dance: Conservatory style program rigorous professional style dance education, top tier program nationally ranked, triple track in ballet modern and jazz. Performance season like a professional company – over 40 a year

Pilates and dance medicine clinic just for dancers!

SALT Center Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques

U of A’s SALT program is quite unique. Think of it as an academic support center for students with learning disabilities. An extra boost (quite a nice one!) jam-packed with tutors that assist students in becoming self-advocates and self-sufficient learners, resources and more. Apply to the SALT program in addition to U of A application.

  1. Student programs and services (weekly 30 minute private appointments with a learning specialist to review things like time management, organization, etc.)

  2. Learning support services One on one tutoring, math science lab assistance, writers lab, drop in tutors (tutors are trained to work with students with learning disabilties

  3. Educational technology support (Assistive technology (text to speech, audio note taking apps)

U of A is a wonderful opportunity for many students to find their home! An accessible out of state resource with a multitude of opportunity.







Published by Casey Barneson

Author of The College Wellness Guide. Beverly Hills High School College Counselor.

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