Arizona State University

A school of 90,000 students sounds daunting, to say the least.  However, the number starts to sound a lot less intimidating when you account for Arizona State University’s processes – technological and human methods – that keep students from being lost in the numbers.  For example, ASU provides an electronic Major map and the E-Advisor tool to guide students toward graduation in 4 years.  The admission rep assured my tour group that there is never an issue with class space availability—although you may have to wake up for an 8 am class!  Further, when a student registers for courses, the system automatically checks class locations to ensure it’s feasible to make it between classes in the allotted 15 minutes.  Every freshman quickly becomes familiar with his/her MY ASU page which is the hub of all contact with a student.  The page notes Priority Tasks to help students remember enrollment, payments, and other critical deadlines.  Students can access financial information, and unique to freshmen only is the Devil2Devil Facebook-like page to support freshman getting acquainted with one another.  Additionally, freshmen students are supported by VIP coaches: grad students who know the course, the professor and the material.

Those 90,000 students are spread across 5 physical campus and online programs.  The Tempe campus is by far the largest, with nearly 42,000 undergrads (9341 freshman) and 10,000 graduate students.  The other 4 campuses are significantly smaller: Downtown Phoenix (1,546 freshmen), Polytechnic (633 freshmen), West (484 freshmen), and even fewer at the newest location, Lake Havasu, established to enhance student studies in Marine Science and Biology.  ASU provides regular free air-conditioned bus service (with wifi!) between the various locations to facilitate students pursuing diverse degree programs.

While there are auditorium size classes for freshmen general education courses, ASU otherwise quotes a 22:1 student faculty ratio.  There are 4 Nobel laureates among the faculty, and one teaches a freshman class.

The student body is 60% in-state residents, but among the other 40%, 136 nations are represented. Average GPA for incoming freshmen is 3.48 and most majors do not require the SAT or ACT for admission.

There is a separate application for admission to Barrett, the Honors College, and Barrett students can major in any subject on any campus.  My tour guide lived in the dorms with other Honors College freshman and would be doing the same next year, as Barrett students must sign a two-year housing contract.  Every Barrett student will publish a thesis before completing their senior year.  Within the larger population, freshmen are not required to live on campus; those who do are assigned to residential colleges where they are assigned to floors by intended major.

Arizona State University sustainabilityThe School of Sustainability at Arizona State University was the first in the nation when it was established in 2006 and innovative sustainability projects – particularly solar panels designed and placed by sustainability majors– can be seen throughout the campus.

While there is not a specific pre-health or pre-law major, ASU assigns advisors who assist with curriculum planning toward medical school or law school applications.

As with most schools, there’s a club for everything and if there isn’t, the university encourages students to create a new club.  Harry Potter fans rejoice, they already have an active Quidditch team!

Important to keep in mind:  Arizona State University has a vast scholarship portal.  Every student is encouraged to complete the FAFSA, regardless of financial aid eligibility, to ensure maximum consideration for all scholarships.  Tuition is frozen at the freshmen entry rate.

The Disability Resource Center supports students with any disability requirements whether long-term or short-term, such as the need for a note taker while nursing a broken wrist.  Students can find part-time income at $25 per credit hour by signing up as an official note-taker for a class.

My tour guide raved about E2 Camp!  While not mandatory, E2 is the innovative orientation offered by the Fulton School of Engineering.  E2 is a must because it helps incoming engineers get to know freshmen, upperclassmen, faculty and the layout of the campus.  Attending camp makes you feel like a Sun Devil on day one.

Arizona State University Phoenix campus
ASU Phoenix campus

Paid and unpaid research positions are abundant.  The tour guide also encouraged students to get to know their professors.  “Use office hours so your professor knows your face!  If he knows you, he can support you.  When you send an email with a problem, you want to be more than just a name to your teacher. ”  This is great advice, no matter where you go to college!

The Tempe campus spans one mile, but shuttles run constantly throughout campus, as well as buses to town and the light rail to and from the airport.  If getting to and from classes doesn’t provide enough exercise, the massive fitness complex offers plenty of cardio, action and lifting options.  The outdoor pool is split into 3 sections: laps, practice and splash zone.

The tour guide assured parents the campus is 100% safe at all hours. If for any reason a student is uncomfortable (or just doesn’t want to walk through a torrential downpour) ASU vans are available to pick up or drop off students up to one mile off campus.  There’s also an ASU tracking phone app that allows a friend (or parent) to “watch” a student walk across campus to a destination.

Tempe is a beautiful campus and, walking distance away, Mill Street is a hub of student night life and shopping.  A bus will get you to Phoenix for a Diamondbacks game, and a day car rental will take you out to Apache Junction for some challenging hikes and extraordinary views.  You can scroll through photos from our visit to Arizona State University below!

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