Two BYU alumni looked back on their own college experience to create “Acing BYU,” a guidebook highlighting opportunities available to students.
Throughout his time at BYU, Ben Black depended on his older brother Nate as a resource and mentor.
Ben Black first started at BYU after returning home from his mission in 2010. Nate Black had previously graduated from BYU and was interested in hearing about his younger brother’s experiences. They soon began talking on the phone weekly, sometimes even several times a week.
When Ben Black volunteered to be part of a Ph.D. student’s study, Nate Black encouraged his younger brother to reach out to the Ph.D. student and offer to be a research assistant.
According to the book, “Ben took that suggestion and not only became a research assistant to that Ph.D. student — earning himself co-authorship on a peer-reviewed journal article and an abstract in the process — but also continued adding new research experiences in five other disciplines.”
The guide starts with sections about applying to BYU, types of financial aid and how to get them and information about on– and off-campus jobs. New students can learn about available majors and how to choose one, as well as how to be a better writer. More experienced students can learn about research, internships and networking.
Acing BYU strongly encourages students to find a mentor.
According to the book, “it’s vitally important that you have a mentor (or mentors) while you move through your college years.”
The book helps students identify potential mentors and gives tips on how to build those relationships.
The authors said the book is meant to be a resource for high school students trying to get into BYU, new BYU students, more experienced undergraduate students and even parents of students.
“Any BYU student could pick it up and in a few minutes find something that will make a significant difference in their experience,” Nate Black said.
The guidebook can also be a good resource for freshmen adjusting to campus life.
Because the two brothers only have in-depth knowledge of the fields they studied, they took the time to research and talk to many BYU alumni in a variety of fields and find out what helped them succeed.
Each brother had a piece of advice for students reading the guidebook.
“Look for interesting opportunities. They may not lead to your ultimate career, but they will be super valuable. Have broad experiences, have fun and meet people,” Ben Black said.
Nate Black commented on the original theme of the book: how to take advantage of the school’s resources.
“If you take the time up front and continue to get thoroughly acquainted with the available programs and opportunities at BYU, it really can pay some serious dividends. We lose so much opportunity just from being ignorant of what’s available,” Nate Black said.
“Acing BYU” will be available for purchase beginning Fall 2018.