REAL Tide for Students

Your growth experience at UA is important to us and we want you to document every step! Through the REAL Tide engagement record, we have designed a roadmap of opportunities to help you find your way through college and to connect the dots along the way via our five engagement waves. Engagement wave experiences help you connect to campus personnel who will help you navigate opportunities to complement your degree beyond the classroom. This provides an opportunity to curate your personal journey.

REAL Tide helps you track your growth in core areas, called the five engagement waves, which correlate to skills and competencies that resonate with graduate schools and employers.

From day one at UA, you can earn REAL Tide credit through engagement wave-tagged activities and positions outside of class. Graduates that earn the top REAL Tide credit level in an engagement wave earn cords for graduation.

Events and Experiences

You can earn REAL Tide credit through engagement wave-tagged events and experiences. These tagged events will offer credit in on or more of the five engagement waves.

Faculty and staff can submit activities to be approved that relate to one or more of the five engagement waves. Once approved, the faculty or staff member facilitates the activity and can recommend a REAL TIde credit level to be awarded based on their evaluation of the student reflection. For more information on faculty and staff REAL Tide processes, visit REAL Tide for Staff.

Student Organizations

Students participating in or elected to the leadership of student organizations have the opportunity to earn REAL Tide credit when they submit reflections about their experiences.

Leadership Roles and Campus Employment

Students participating in selected campus leadership roles or hired positions can submit reflections about their experiences for an opportunity to earn REAL Tide credit. Service in these positions will be verified by the department or organization hosting the opportunity.

Out-of-Class Projects

UA Students may be participating in out-of-class projects where they are working to gain experiences and skills across UA’s five engagement waves. These positions may be on-campus or off-campus endeavors. Students can submit these for REAL Tide credit by requesting evaluation of that project and submitting a reflection of their experience.


UA students may be able to earn REAL Tide credit by using their Event Pass or Action Card to record participation and visits to certain approved UA locations.

One-on-One Reflection Appointments

If you’ve had learning experiences which you believe have expanded your perspectives in one of the five engagement waves, but the experiences weren’t REAL Tide-tagged, were a compilation of multiple experiences, and/or were not provided by UA, you can meet with an evaluator during a one-on-one reflection appointment to discuss your experiences and potentially earn REAL Tide credit.

Online Activities

Official REAL Tide-tagged virtual, live or asynchronous activities which address at least one of the five engagement waves may be eligible for REAL Tide Discovery-level credit.

Engagement Wave Areas and Depth of Learning Levels

To help students embody the five engagement waves in the measure and amount that will propel them to their greatest success, REAL Tide provides three learning levels of credit: Discovery, Integration, and Transformation. Evaluators look for evidence of growth in students to determine the credit level.

The student displays a willingness to learn and grow by participating in the experience. They gained an awareness of their current perspectives related to the wave and may be developing an understand of what that wave entails.
The student is questioning, planning or beginning to expand upon previously held understandings and is embedding themselves in experiences that expand their knowledge and understanding of this wave.
The student provides strong evidence of a learning experience that resulted in a growth or a shift in values, beliefs or perspectives in the wave, and this may be evident through changes in behavior, speech or ability or through tangible experience.

Other than for certain specified REAL Tide-tagged events, experiences and locations, a credit level is not guaranteed. REAL Tide levels are awarded by evaluators who consider a demonstration of learning and reflection by the student overall, and not merely for participation.

No amount of credits at each level, once reached, bumps a student to the next level. A recommended activity amount per level can be discussed with engagement record evaluators, who can provide a more comprehensive and individualized look at how a student can grow toward the next level.