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Some Apaches, Hawks and Jaguars have become Wildcats.
On Monday, University of Arizona employees, volunteers, members of the pom line and dance team, cheerleaders and also Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat visited three southern Arizona high schools to surprise graduating seniors with their acceptance letter.
"A higher education opens the doors to so many opportunities, and I know the experience students have at the UA is second to none," said Kasey Urquidez, the UA's vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Advancement, and also the undergraduate admissions dean.
"The UA provides students with an excellent education that includes the complete college experience filled with engagement and knowledge," Urquidez said.
In addition to having some of the most highly ranked academic programs nationally and, in many cases, internationally, the UA has formalized a process by which UA students can receive workforce-relevant training — and recognition for it.
The University's unique 100% Engagement policy supports the involvement of students in research, study-abroad projects, jobs, service work and other experiential opportunities, both on and off campus. Beginning this year, students can have these experiences formally documented on their transcript with an "Engaged Learning Experience" annotation. Also, the UA Office of Student Engagement has begun funding engagement opportunities involving students campuswide.
Having such a supportive campus for engagement and professional development has translated well for graduates.
The Global Employability Survey in 2013 ranked the UA 13th among American public universities for having the most employable graduates. The UA also is in the top 40 for all U.S. institutions and at No. 124 internationally for producing employable graduates.
The UA team visited Desert View High School (Jaguars), Nogales High School (Apaches) and Rio Rico High School (Hawks) to surprise students during campus assemblies. All told, 270 students received their admissions packets and were able to ask questions of UA employees and volunteers.
The "Celebrate YES!" events are swiftly becoming a UA tradition.
"The University of Arizona's 'Celebrate YES!' event is one of my most treasured programs of the year," Urquidez said. "To be able to share the great news of college admission, to one of the best universities in the nation, always reminds me of why we do what we do."