Earning relevant experience before crossing the stage
DeKayla Bell already envisions herself as a student at The University of Akron.
The Buchtel Community Learning Center (CLC) senior will have 21 college credits under her belt upon graduating this spring. She completed her Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) early and took practice ACT® tests throughout high school. Bell also spent her last four summer breaks participating in The University of Akron’s Law and Leadership Institute, an experience that influenced her interest in becoming an attorney in the future.
“I decided I want to help people and help change the justice system for the better,” Bell says, adding, “I want to be a judge.”
Prepared, passionate and persistent? Check, check and check.
Although Bell’s mother strongly encouraged her to go to college – she had enlisted in the Army, then earned a college degree – Bell’s strong academic performance and resulting high school experiences exposed her to college expectations at a younger age.
“I grew up thinking college was the way to go, but as I got older I also realized you can get better jobs with a college degree,” Bell explains. She has enjoyed having a mentor through the Educational Talent Search program, where she also volunteers.
Because she has already finished many core classes through Akron Public Schools’ Stark PASS program at East CLC, Bell is now taking more classes she is actually interested in, such as Business Law Ethics. When thinking about joining The University of Akron’s campus this fall, Bell has very little, if anything, to be nervous about; she is excited.
“I feel prepared to go to college,” Bell says. “Being around professors and meeting many people in the field of law has helped.” Attending Akron Public Schools’ Dream Day, which featured sessions on the “Three Es,” provided Bell the opportunity to speak to graduates about college life as well.
As if her 21 college credits are not impressive enough, Bell has also worked as a high school student intern with the Kenneth Crystal law firm for the past two summers. She even ranked second place on the defense side of a mock trial she attended in Columbus. Her hard work has paid off, as Bell received a scholarship to The University of Akron.
As she looks forward to the beginning of fall semester, Bell says, “I feel better about myself when I’m on campus. I have more freedom, and everyone worries about their own self, not anyone else.”
Bell adds, “Do what you like to do,” referring to advice she has for classmates. “Find friends with similar interests; you have options.”