College-bound students attend AVID conference at ASU

Students participate in activity at AVID conference

High school sophomores participate in a vision board activity during the AVID conference at ASU's Tempe campus. Photo by Aaron Gould


“Who will you be in your future?”

This was the question that nearly 300 high school sophomores explored at the recent AVID conference held at Arizona State University’s Tempe campus.

Presented by Access ASU, the daylong conference featured activities that prompted students to ask “Who am I?”, “What do I want?” and “How will I get there?” as it relates to their paths to college and their future careers.

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national college-readiness program that aims to close the achievement gap and prepare students for higher education by providing academic and social support. 

Students participate in AVID at their high schools through an elective course focused on writing, inquiry, collaboration and reading. They also learn academic and personal success strategies and participate in college motivational activities.

“Many of these students may be first-generation college students,” said Sylvia Symonds, assistant vice president of Educational Outreach and Student Services at ASU. “Through the AVID conference, they are prepared with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to be successful in their pursuit of a college degree and in their chosen career path.”

The conference included a variety of workshops on such topics as discovering personal strengths, developing goals and creating a vision for the future.

During a session led by ASU service organization SPARKS (Students Providing Awareness Resources & Knowledge to Start College), current Sun Devils shared their personal experiences and answered questions from attendees about college life. The questions included things like why they chose ASU, how to stand out on a college application and how to overcome social anxiety and meet new people.

The high school students further experienced life at ASU through a guided campus tour and lunch in a campus dining hall.

Jon Clark, a student at Pueblo High School in Tucson, attended the AVID conference with a group from his school. He said his college and career goals are focused on the medical field, noting that he has always wanted to be a doctor so he can help change people’s lives.

Clark said the AVID conference helped him by building up his self-esteem, creating a progress-focused mindset and reminding him not to be afraid of pursuing his goals.

“I’ve learned that I need to just try hard and not give up, because if you don’t set goals for yourself in life, you won’t go anywhere,” Clark said.

AVID conferences will also be held on Feb. 13 and 14 at ASU’s Polytechnic campus.

Along with the conferences, ASU offers an AVID Summer Camp in June, which provides an opportunity for high school students to explore the university during a five-day residential experience. Participants engage with learning communities in subject areas like math-based sciences, engineering, social and behavioral sciences, education, business or sustainability while developing leadership skills and a college-going mindset.

For questions about the AVID Summer Camp, email Applications close on April 1.