Arizona, University of: including learning support profile

College review by Diane Forman

In early February, I was invited to visit Chapel Haven West in Tucson, Arizona and also visited Arizona State University and the University of Arizona with my colleague, Linda Kay.  We  had the opportunity to stop by the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, an annual event that is comprised of 4,500 vendors for the world’s largest natural history showcase.

University of Arizona

Linda Kay (guest blogger)

University of Arizona has a beautiful campus filled with red brick buildings, cactus, palm trees, orange and kumquat trees.  Old Main is the original building and sits at the base of a huge campus green with academic buildings surrounding it. When classes change, one can see thousands of students moving about campus.  There are 30,000 undergrads and about 10,000 graduate students at U of A.  39% of students are from out of state. About 80% of freshmen live on campus and most dorms are located on the same street.  In order to guarantee a spot in the dorms, students must make a housing deposit by March 1.  Upperclassmen live in apartments, condos, and houses within a few blocks of campus.  Many students ride their bikes or skateboard to classes.

University of Arizona science building

Freshmen introductory classes can be huge – one student noted that he has lecture halls with 1200 students, but there are smaller Friday discussion groups taught by TA’s or preceptors (undergrads who have taken the class and done well), with 30 or so students.  Most English, math, and foreign language classes for freshmen are capped at 30 students.  Students can also choose to take some of their required classes online, as well as tests and quizzes.  Stand out majors include nursing and pharmacy, engineering, business, astronomy, psychology, and one of the few optical sciences programs in the country.  There is also a fine arts conservatory program and the dance program at U of A is second only to Julliard.  Students are admitted To U of A then must audition for the conservatory.

The student body seemed more metropolitan and wealthier than those observed at ASU, but also less diverse.  There are a lot of out-of-state students from California, but some of them leave to return to CA schools, thus U of A does not have a high retention rate from freshman to sophomore year.  However, it is also a popular school for transfers.  Students were well dressed and seemed happy, and the great weather plays a factor in student mood.

University of Arizona does not have traditional dining halls, but rather a large food court and eateries around campus.  Right off campus is a lovely downtown area with lots of restaurants and stores, within an easy walk of classes.  The weather is sunny most of the year, although summers are very hot, over 100 degrees.  Students will have to take a class over one summer in order to fulfill all requirements and graduate on time, otherwise four years can turn into five.

University of Arizona tour guide

There is no set GPA for admission, and students are reviewed holistically.  U of A is test optional, but students must submit test scores in order to be considered for merit scholarships, which can be very generous.  Our tour guide was a top student in her Phoenix HS, and was part of the Honors Program and on a free ride to U of A.

She was also one of the few students who were admitted to the PharmD program, a prestigious department, during her junior year.  The PharmD program is six years in total and our tour guide, who was a science major, was admitted early due to many AP credits from high school.  She said that many of her classmates were older or adults changing careers.  In addition to a graduate pharmacy program, University of Arizona is the only school in the state with a Medical School.

Greek Life, although not predominant, is popular, and can often provide a structure to the student’s life on campus.  Students must have a certain GPA in order to pledge, and must maintain a strong GPA in order to remain in a fraternity or sorority.  This is also helpful to students who wish to apply to some of the more competitive programs, like the Business School, while they are undergraduates.

The University offers hundreds of clubs and activities, as well as one of the nicest and largest recreation/fitness centers in the nation!

Special Addendum: Disabilities program

Diane Forman

Comprehensive Support Program

The SALT Center is a comprehensive, fee for service support program for students with learning disabilities and/or ADHD.  It has been one of the leading programs of its kind for 32 years.

In addition to being accepted to SALT, if a student wishes to receive academic accommodations they must register with The Disability Resource Center (DRC)
Students must apply to the University of Arizona and then apply to the SALT Center.  It is two separate applications. In order to help make the process easier, applicants can now apply to SALT online.

Each student who is accepted to SALT is assigned a strategic learning specialist. Together they create an Individualized Learning Plan to manage the individual needs of the student.  For some students, the focus is on time management and reviewing deadlines for papers and projects.  For other students, the support might be needed to help keep a balanced schedule and find the right fit for classes that match the student’s learning style.  Many students need to review learning strategies.

SALT students have unlimited access to tutoring at the center.  Most of the tutors are upperclassman or graduate students and are CRLA certified.  Tutoring is offered individually, in small groups, and through exam review sessions.

Other services offered to SALT students:

Writing, Math and Science Skill Development
Workshops and Skill Development Seminars
Psychological Services
Assistive Technologies
Leadership and Social Programs


University of Arizona
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