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Student Spotlight - Joel

Hometown: Gallup, NM
High School: Alhambra High School
ASU Major: Philosophy

Why ASU?

I selected ASU for a number of reasons. Probably the most significant factor was my lack of direction. Graduating from high school my career goals were indeterminate but my aspirations remained high. I decided that it was in my best interest to stay close to my friends and family during this time of uncertainty. Fortunately for me it didn’t take long for me to find my niche in philosophy. Another determining factor was ASU’s accessibility to low-income students. ASU offered me the most financial aid from all the universities I applied to and it offered me enough funds to keep the cost of a university education to a minimum. Furthermore, ASU’s wide assortment of degree programs made it very appealing to an 18 year old who was unsure of what he wanted to do with his life but was enthusiastic to find out.

What activities are you involved in?

Currently, I am a youth sports basketball coach for the City of Scottsdale. I coach fourth and fifth graders and teach them about the fundamental aspects of the game and about sportsmanship. Additionally, I am involved in many school organizations and community service groups. I am president of Phi Alpha Delta, an international co-ed, pre-law fraternity that serves the needs of pre-law students. I am a member of Adelante, a Latino organization established to help maintain and retain the Latino presence at ASU. I am a scholar with the Doran Community Scholars Program, a program that instills a sense of social consciousness and develops an awareness of the value of service to your community while building leadership through community projects and leadership classes. I am also a member of the Spanish Language and Culture Club at the Downtown Phoenix campus, a club designed to practice daily conversational Spanish and engross its members in Latin culture. Lastly, I am a mentor for the Be A Leader Foundation, a program that promotes a college-focused mentality for middle school and high school students primarily from inner-city schools. This past summer I completed a research practicum where I was exposed to research methodology in the social sciences. As a requirement of the program, my research partners and I conducted a small scale observational study titled, “Parks and People: an observational study on the effects of neighborhood environment on physical activity.” We then presented our findings and methodology at a small conference at the end of the program. 

Best thing about ASU?

From my experience, the best thing about ASU is the name. Arizona State University is rapidly becoming a household name not only in higher education but in many walks of life especially in the state of Arizona. Being part of the ASU community provides you with many opportunities and the possibility of endless experiences; experiences that you can obtain through the plethora of partnerships and affiliations ASU has. As a result of ASU’s reach, I’ve completed two internships that provided me with meaningful experience. One with the Center for the Future of Arizona, whose CEO is president emeritus of ASU Lattie Coor, and another with the Arizona Justice Project which is housed in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Advice

My advice is simple. Take college as a learning and growing experience. Be open to new ideas and points of view. Although college is about obtaining a good education and staying on top of your grades if you focus primarily on these things you will have missed out on a truly life-changing experience. That’s not to say that your classroom performance should be disregarded; rather, you should take these things as complements to your overall experience. In my opinion, college is not about retaining information, or regurgitating a bunch of convoluted jargon. College is a tool that teaches you how to think critically and reasonably about things in general. College is a tool that teaches you how to interact with people and be cooperative. College teaches you to determine which social circumstance is best for you. Although having a good handle on subject matter is important to your career prospects, social adaptation and having an open mind are equally significant factors that will determine where you end up after college. Social adaptation and open-mindedness are two characteristics that are fundamental if you want to succeed in this cosmopolitan world. So I advise to keep your options open about what it is you want out of life and do your best to be a social chameleon. These characteristics can be very useful tools in helping you get to where you want to be. If you take all of this with great consideration you will find that you will get more out of your college years, at least that it how it turned out for me.

Test preparation

To prepare for the LSAT I took a Princeton Review classroom course. Additionally, I did a lot of independent studying using the materials I received from the Princeton Review. I made sure to set blocks of time during my school week where I would find a secluded part of the library and study for the LSAT about three hours at a time.