Finding A Home With SALT Center Online

Jennifer Hansen, Student Support Specialist

Growing up in Texas her whole life, Emma Lapin knew that she wanted to attend an out-of-state college after high school. It was, in fact, the SALT Center that drew Emma from her hometown of Bellaire, Texas to her second home, the University of Arizona’s SALT Center. “I live at the SALT Center,” Emma shared. “It’s all that I have ever wanted in an education setting.”

Entering her junior year majoring in Psychology, Emma shared that the SALT Center has been a place for her to build strong connections with other students over the years, “I have met a lot of my best friends through the SALT Center. Yes, it’s good for academics, but it is also good for social interaction.”

Emma’s enthusiasm for the SALT Center focuses on the services that we provide and her ability to maximize our resources to her advantage. This “maximizing mindset” helped Emma make a nearly seamless transition to the fully online campus (Arizona Online) this past spring semester.

This campus change made sense as it offered the flexibility Emma needed while she took courses from her home in Texas. However, the rigor of asynchronous classes provided in the Arizona Online 7.5-week format took a bit of adjustment. Emma admits that adapting to courses in the compressed format was really challenging at first. By designing a schedule that allowed her to take two classes in the first 7.5-week segment and then three courses in the second segment, she was able to “bear down” and dive right in. “You really have to be on top of your work. You have to do work in your classes each day,” Emma advises. This balanced schedule and fully maximizing SALT Center Online services helped provide the structure and routine for Emma to thrive.

Another key to Emma’s success in college has been to schedule regular SALT Center tutoring appointments each week. Emma has enjoyed working with her tutors and shared that, “Some of my tutors became friends.” Emma has appreciated the support and structure of tutoring which has enabled her to understand challenging material. “I would look at my schedule and see when I would have time for tutoring.” Once finding a good “fit” with a tutor, she would set up a standing appointment, using tutoring about 3 or 4 times a week. Emma’s consistent use of SALT Center Online services paid off, and she stepped out of a rigorous spring 2021 semester with a 3.6 GPA.

Emma credits the SALT Center for helping her realize that she can succeed in higher education. Her Student Support Specialist, Caroline Ragano, has been an integral part of the journey, providing her with time management tools, strategies, and organizational aids such as the “semester on a page.” “Caroline is fantastic,” Emma shared. “The thing about college is students put a lot of pressure on themselves. To have Caroline in my corner is really helpful so I don’t put as much pressure on myself. Even when I didn’t get the best grade, Caroline was always encouraging me.”

Emma is excited about being on main campus this fall and furthering her studies in Psychology while working on a minor in Family Studies and Human Development. While academics are her top priority, Emma looks forward to traveling around Southern Arizona and discovering the region’s unique sights, sounds, and tastes. Emma is an excellent example of a student who has been able to maximize the SALT Center’s world-class support regardless of where she calls home. “I just love the SALT Center. I think it’s great!”

Emma Lapin