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  • Writer's pictureAllison Styffe

Spotlights: Wildcats, DREAMers, and Paralegals

COLLEGE: The University of Arizona

Location: Tucson, Arizona

Tuition: $12,691 in-state; $36,718 out-of-state; $19,036 WUE tution for eligible programs

Size: 45,918

There are many reasons to become a Wildcat — aside from the obvious gorgeous weather in Tucson! The University of Arizona has some very special programs that make it a smart choice for many students. Bring your tank tops and sunscreen and head south to explore this campus encircled by mountain ranges and the stunning Sonoran Desert.

First, let's take a look at the highly acclaimed SALT program: Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques. This a comprehensive academic support for students with disabilities, specifically learning and attention challenges. Here, students who qualify are offered tutoring, study sessions, individualized learning plans, workshops on many subjects (reading, writing, organization, etc.). There are also psychological services available and students have access to the resource lab where they can use audiobooks, dictation software, and other technical supports. Students report that they love their weekly meetings with their student support specialist, and that the content-specific tutoring has been life-changing for their academic life.

Next, if you love science, you're in luck — the sciences are unquestionably the school's strengths. Not many colleges have a state-of-the-art subsonic wind tunnel and rocket combustion test facility to go along with their aerospace and mechanical engineering programs. The high-tech science facilities make the University of Arizona a world leader, and the faculty that leads these programs are recognized as some of the best researchers in the world.

Astronomy and astrophysics are quite popular in the science department, and the location of the university under Tucson's clear night skies lends to prime celestial viewing and research opportunities. Not only do students have mentoring from leading astronomers, but they also have the best equipment — they get to use an enormous 256-inch telescope shared by the university and the Smithsonian. Another unique science major offered at the University of Arizona is Bioinformatics. This is where biological knowledge meets 21st-century computer and computation skills. In addition, the University of Arizona has not one, but two, medical schools, so undergrads interested in medicine have many options to look forward to.

The University of Arizona is also a WUE school for certain majors! If you're not an Arizona resident, this is excellent news, as you will save tens of thousands of dollars on discounted tuition. The programs eligible for WUE tuition are Mining & Geological Engineering in the College of Engineering, and Natural Resources in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. The Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Show is a highly anticipated event by students in both of these majors and is the largest, oldest, and most prestigious gem and mineral show in the world.

If campus life, sports, and activities are important to you, you will find plenty of good energy at UA! This is a Division I school that competes in the Pac-12 Conference. Football and basketball are always prominent on the national scene and games make for great weekend entertainment, but don't forget the women — the lady Wildcats golf team took home a national championship in 2018. There are hundreds of clubs, intramural sports, Greek life, and more to distract you from your studies as if the amazing weather and easy access to awesome hikes weren't enough. If you find yourself unable to concentrate, don't forget that the SALT Center is there to help!


SCHOLARSHIP: DREAMers National Scholarship

Amount: $16.5K - $33K

Deadline: March 4, 2021

Type: for undocumented, immigrant students provides scholarships to highly-qualified DREAMers to help them pay for their college education. Most of their Scholars have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) or TPS (Temporary Protected Status) that allows them to live and legally work in the United States.

The National Scholarship is for high school or community college graduates. You need to have DACA or TPS or meet TheDream.US immigration eligibility criteria and qualify for in-state tuition at one of our Partner Colleges to receive this scholarship. We also offer an online college option. The Scholarship is for up to $16,500 for an associate’s degree and $33,000 for a bachelor’s degree.

They have 70+ Partner Colleges across the United States that are committed to serving DREAMers and prepared to offer you the support services you need to help you successfully navigate your college life. Each of their Partner Colleges designates a Scholar Advisor to work with you and your fellow Scholars – individually and as a group. You will not be alone!


CAREER: Paralegal

Median salary: $51,700

Education needed: Associate's degree Job growth: 10% (much faster than average)

Are you passionate about justice and the legal system? Do you enjoy conducting research, organization details, and summarizing information? Are you hoping to jump into a rewarding career relatively quickly? Would you thrive in a sometimes demanding, fast-paced, high-pressure work environment? Do you prefer to work behind the scenes?

If you answered "yes" to even a few of those, then let me share one word with you: paralegal.

Plain and simple, paralegals are the backbone that hold up lawyers and law firms. They play an integral role in the delivery of legal services to individuals or groups by helping lawyers prepare for hearings, trials, and corporate meetings. Depending on the day, the current case at hand, or their role within a law firm, a paralegal can expect to tackle any of the following tasks—

  • Investigate and gather the facts of a case

  • Conduct research on relevant laws, regulations, and legal articles

  • Organize and maintain documents in paper or electronic filing systems

  • Gather and arrange evidence and other legal documents for attorney review and case preparation

  • Write or summarize reports to help lawyers prepare for trials

  • Draft correspondence and legal documents, such as contracts and mortgages

  • Get affidavits and other formal statements that may be used as evidence in court

  • Help lawyers during trials by handling exhibits, taking notes, or reviewing trial transcripts

  • File exhibits, briefs, appeals and other legal documents with the court or opposing counsel

  • Call clients, witnesses, lawyers, and outside vendors to schedule interviews, meetings, and depositions

If all of that is sounding pretty technical, that's because it is! Becoming a paralegal requires specialized training: most have earned either (1) an associate's degree or (2) a bachelor's degree in another field and a certificate in paralegal studies approved by the American Bar Association (ABA). Students in Oregon interested in the paralegal track should look into Portland Community College's program — it's the only ABA approved institution in the state that provides both the 2-year associate's degree and 1-year certificate options.

For those who want to learn more about a day in the life of a paralegal, with all of its rewards and challenges, check out this article.

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