First-Year

Advice From The Experts

If you’ve been reading U magazine, you’ve been following the column on page 5 that is written by real PLU students who offer answers to questions they have received from prospective students. Here’s a rundown of some of them most common questions with their answers. To have your own questions about PLU answered by the experts, send them to askalute@plu.edu.

FAQ

Index

Your College Search

Paying For College

About PLU

Classes And Majors

Living On Campus

Getting Involved

Tacoma And The Pacific Northwest

Your College Search

When should I start the application for PLU?

A. ASAP! Even though PLU does not have an official deadline to submit your application, it’s really nice to have the weight off of your shoulders. Plus, it’s exciting to know that you’re officially “in.” There are five application decision dates where, if you submit your application by the 15th of a given month, you will find out about your acceptance and academic scholarship by the 15th of the following month. The first of these deadlines is October 15. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

I’ve never been to PLU, when should I visit campus?

A. Anytime, but I would recommend that you come during the school year so you can get a feel for what it’s like to be a student here. If you come during the school year, you can visit classes, meet professors if you like or talk with people in the Financial Aid office. Lots of students stay the night in a residence hall with current students. If you can’t make it during the year, you can also visit during the summer. Also, don’t forget the virtual tour at www.choose.plu.edu/virtualtour. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

Should I visit campus, or can I find enough about PLU on its website?

A. I think that the website has a lot of information, but visiting campus is really an invaluable experience. All of the people who come to visit campus really have a lot of fun either touring campus, eating lunch in the UC, or sitting in on a class. ­­—Evan Hildebrand ’14

I’m told you can spend the night when you visit campus. Is it worth it?

A. You can – I think it is totally worth it. I stayed the night when I was applying to PLU and I had a blast. I really learned a lot about campus life and how it all works during that visit. —Evan Hildebrand ’14

If I want to visit campus, how do I schedule a visit?

A. Visiting campus is the best way to determine whether a school is right for you. While brochures, virtual tours and friends’ opinions are helpful, visiting allows you to experience everything firsthand. Scheduling a visit is easy. You can call your admission counselor or the Office of Admission (1-800-274-6758) to schedule a visit. No need to wait for an open house – you can tour campus, visit classes, stay overnight in a residence hall, meet coaches and professors, and experience campus life to the fullest any time. Go to http://www.plu.edu/visit/ to find out more. —Liona Guevara ’11

Will an admission counselor be coming to visit my high school this fall?

A. Chances are, yes! You can always go online and check the admission Web site and click “On the Road.” Or give your counselor a call at 800- 274-6758 to find out when they will be coming to visit you. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

Paying For College

How do I apply for scholarships?

A. Call the Financial Aid office. They are really helpful, and you can always get a real live person on the phone. It sounds obvious, but it makes a huge difference. Once at PLU, there are often scholarships available related to your major. Being a business major, I know that I can find scholarships for the School of Business on the PLU Web site. —Brian Curtis ’09

How do I apply for academic scholarships?

A. When you apply to PLU you are automatically considered for academic scholarships, which makes it really convenient because you don’t have to fill out any extra applications. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

Is it possible to work on campus? Where could I work?

A. Yes, definitely! All students with or without work-study can work on campus. In fact we have an employment center where they help you find an open job. You can work at the UC in food services, in the science lab office, as an admission tour guide for the Red Carpet Club (that is what I do!), or simply as a front-desk worker in any residence hall. It is very easy to find a job – there are always openings around campus. —Luxi Salmon ’11

I don’t understand everything in my financial aid package, who can I contact to help me?

A.

You can contact the Financial Aid Office, found on the PLU Web site. Also, admission counselors are a great resource for financial aid questions or any other PLU questions. —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

Editor’s Note: PLU’s Financial Aid Office can be reached at 253-535-7134 or www.plu.edu/financial-aid.

About PLU

Do you have to be Lutheran to attend PLU?

A. Not at all. Students of all faiths – or of no faith – attend PLU. Students from all sorts of backgrounds come here. It’s cool to be able to meet and talk to other students who have grown up in different faith traditions. It happens all the time. —Ryan Kaliamos ’11

Are religion courses required?

A. Yes, religion classes are required. You have to take two of them. One class has to be based around Christianity, and the other class has to be based on a world religion, such as Judaism, Buddhism or Native American religions. If you are in the International Honors Program, you don’t have to take any religion class, but you have specific honors classes that are based around religion. —Evan Hildebrand ’14

What is ‘J-Term’?

A. Not every university has a January Term because some people prefer the year to be evenly split into semesters or quarters. During J-Term, each student only focuses on one or two classes, or up to five credits. I view J-Term as a refreshing change of pace because I can work intensely on one subject for the month and then be finished with it. Last J-Term, I took a science class, but also was able to take ballroom dance twice a week. It was great to have a schedule like that just to experience something different. Lots of other students use J-Term to study away without having to be gone a whole semester. —Bethany Petek ’13

Can I study away during “J-Term”?

A. J-Term is a mini-term between fall and spring semester. A lot of students use J-Term to study off campus – every J-Term, PLU has more than 20 different study-away courses that take place all over the world. It is a great way to see another country and still be back in time for the spring semester. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

How is PLU committed to being sustainable and green?

A. One of the things I love about PLU is its commitment to sustainability. Last year, our Take Back the Tap campaign installed water-bottle spouts on the drinking fountains, which encourages students to fill their water bottle instead of buying bottled water. This year, there is a campus-wide competition between the residence halls to see which one can be the most energy efficient. My hall, Pflueger, won the first round. —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

What do you like best about PLU?

A. I love the people at PLU. I have developed really strong relationships that I’m sure will last past graduation with not only other students and peers, but staff and faculty members as well. They all have been an integral part of my time at PLU. Conversations with the people I have met have helped me develop my passions, determined my studies, and clarified my perceptions about the world – and these great people that I know aren’t just smart, they’re really fun! —Emily Richey ’11

What do you like the best about PLU?

A. Probably the academic freedom. As a business major, you have to also choose a concentration in a certain area, like finance, HR, accounting, marketing or global. I found that none of those areas were really for me, but I loved one of the core busi­ness classes in operations. I was able to create a concentration for myself, in operations. Now I will be the only student graduating from PLU with this unique concentration. School aside, I would say the people are best. I met six great guys in my hall freshman year and we stayed together and moved off campus. They are my best friends, and I will stay in contact with them for the rest of my life. —Brian Curtis ’09

So, what exactly is a Lute?

A. Originally, I think a Lute was a nickname for Lutheran. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a Lute if you aren’t Lutheran. I’m a Lute, you’re a Lute, were all Lutes. ­­—Tyler Russell ’13

Classes And Majors

What are classes like?

A. Sitting in a class at PLU feels similar to being in a close gathering of friends talking in depth about a certain subject. In many of my classes, we circled our desks along with our professor to create a unified feeling during discussion. At PLU, I value the close connection I get not only with my professors – they learned my name within a few days – but also with my classmates. In a class of 16 people, I am able to get to know everyone personally which makes it easier to ask questions and engage in class discussions. —Bethany Petek ’13

How challenging are the classes at PLU?

A. The hardest thing about classes for me is time management. There is a lot of work to do, and getting a good grade isn’t hard as long as you do your assignments on time. Chat with your professor if you’re having problems understanding class material, or go into one of the various academic advising centers for help with studying. The writing center is also really helpful because students review your papers and give you tips to improve them. It’s not limited to English or literature either – writing is essential in any class. —Liona Guevara ’11

What can I major in?

A.

There are a lot of choices. Nursing? Norwegian? Music? Business? It is hard to know where to start. —Ryan Kaliamos ’11

Editor’s Note: A list of PLU majors is here: www.choose.plu.edu/majors

I don’t know what to major in, is that a problem?

A. Not at all. I also remain mostly undecided on what I want my major to be, largely because I have so many interests. At PLU, I am encouraged to pursue my interests (like in my current graphic design and women’s and gender studies courses), and that makes me confident that I will eventually figure it all out. I know that so many people and programs at PLU are here to support me in my search for what my passions are in life and how I can use them. That is a very comforting feeling whenever I feel stressed about not having it figured out yet. —Bethany Petek ’13

Can students double major, and still graduate in four years?

A. I know a lot of people who were able to double major, graduate on time – and they managed to study away. It’s all about planning. It’s best to talk to your advisor(s) about your interests to determine all the classes that you’ll need to take. If you want to study away, go to the Wang Center for International Programs and they’ll help you to find a program with the courses that you’ll need. —Liona Guevara ’11

When can I study away, and will my credits transfer?

A. You can study away during J-Term, during the spring or fall semester, or in the summer (basically, year round!) The staff at the Wang Center, the Student Services office and faculty all over campus want students to have a great – and productive – study away experience. I studied away twice (one J-Term and one semester) and transferred 16 credits to be counted toward my majors. —Emily Richey ’11

Are the professors easy to access if I have questions or need help?

A. All my professors have been really easy to talk to. They all seem to have the success of their students as their main priority. All of them encourage students to visit them during office hours or to talk with them before or after class. Since class sizes remain relatively small, I have found that it makes it easy for professors to get to know their students on a personal level. This has made me feel really comfortable approaching my professors when I have questions. —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

Living On Campus

What is it like living on campus?

A. Living on campus has been one of my favorite parts about college. It is a great way to meet new people and keep in close contact with your friends. It makes the transition from living at home to living on your own a lot easier because you have a supportive community just down the hall. It was a lot easier than I expected to move away from home because there is always someone around to talk to who is also going through the same thing as you. The residence halls work to build a community and make living on campus as enjoyable as possible. —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

What is there to do on campus?

A. Living on campus means you get to be at the center of all the great things going on around campus. You’re never more than a 10-minute walk from a concert, dance, sporting event or faculty lecture. PLUS you live next door to some of your best friends. When so many fun people are your neighbors, it’s almost impossible not to make friends. It made it super easy to be involved when so many opportunities were right next door to my Res Hall. —Emily Richey ’11

Do I have to live on campus my freshman year?

A. If you have first-year or sophomore status, and are under 20 years old, then you have to live on campus or at home with your parents. If you have junior or senior status, or are 20 years old or older, then you can live wherever you want. For me, getting to live on campus really helped with the transition into college life and kept me up to date with a lot awesome events. You also get to meet a lot people that you might not run into if you were living at home or off campus. I think that living on campus in a residence hall is a great experience that everyone should get to have. —Evan Hildebrand ’14

What are the residence halls like?

A. I chose a private school because I strongly desired a close-knit community where it felt like a second home. Each residence hall at PLU does an excellent job of creating a family that exists within the larger PLU community. Every hall plans events for everyone else on campus. For example, when I go to the Ordal Beach Party where there is a band, food, and jumping castles, or to the awesome Halloween party on Pflueger Pfright Night, I can meet people not only from my hall but from others, as well. I particularly love being able to walk down a hallway and feel comfortable stopping at any open door just to say hello. When everyone is so inviting and fun to be around, it truly makes each hall feel like a home away from home. —Bethany Petek ’13

Is there a residence hall curfew?

A.

No, but all residence halls have quiet hours. Sunday through Thursday, the quiet hours are 10 p.m. to 8 a.m., and Friday and Saturday the quiet hours are from midnight to 10 a.m. Also during dead week (the week before finals week), and finals week, there are 24-hour quiet hours so everyone can study in their rooms. —Evan Hildebrand ’14

What is the best residence hall?

A. For this question there really is no answer. I believe all 10 residence halls can be the best to live in. each is wonderful in its own way and can have a different effect on students. If you are a woman who loves to live with other women and have lots of sisters, then Harstad is the best hall for you. If you love to play sports and don’t want to be very far from the gym or athletic fields, then Tingelstad, Foss or Pflueger can be the best. If you are a music student and want to be right by the music building, then Hinderlie, Hong or Ordal can be your best. You get the point – all residence halls are awesome to live in and can help you make your college years memorable ones. —Luxi Salmon ’11

How does PLU choose my roommate?

A. When submitting your housing application, you are asked to fill out some personal information. Things like: What kind of music do you like? What times do you go to bed, wake up, and study? And so on. In the end, you’re usually matched really well. Having a roommate in your first year really helps to broaden your social network, open your mind, and settle into the college environment. I’m from Trinidad and my roommate was from Alaska, talk about broadening your horizon! We got along well. —Liona Guevara ’11

What does the food taste like?

A. PLU’s cafeteria is called The Commons, and it offers a variety of options for dining. It is in the UC, and it was totally remodeled. The food is generally pretty good. The Commons has a bunch of different stations that have totally different types of food. CRAVE consists of fast food, like burgers and fries. There is a pasta and pizza place, and a station called Cross Cultures, which has ethnic food. Last but not least, there are always really good desserts! —Luxi Salmon ’11

Do you feel safe when you are on or around campus?

A. Safety was a big concern of mine when searching for a college. PLU does a really great job at informing students about safety on campus and making sure we know about the safety resources here. I have used our 24/7 Campus Safety Escorts on numerous occasions to avoid a possible risky situation, even walking back to my residence hall in the dark. The emergency blue lights around campus are constant reminders that help isn’t too far away, if you need it! —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

Do a lot of people go home during the weekend?

A. I know some people who go home on weekends, but most people stay on campus. There is a lot to do during the weekends. The campus puts on activities all year long, including dances in The Cave and activities through our Outdoor Rec program. —Katelyn Wattanaporn ’12

What’s there to do on the weekends?

A. There is some kind of an event happening on campus almost every weekend, whether it’s a football game, a choir concert, an ASPLU dance, or kayaking with Outdoor Rec. When I want to get off campus, I head to downtown Tacoma to get dinner with friends or take a day trip to Seattle. Sometimes I’ll head to the mountains to go camping. If anything, it’s hard to decide what to do because there are so many great options, not too few. —Emily Richey ’11

Should I bring my car to campus? How can I get around town without a car?

A. It’s always nice to have your own car, and there is access to secure parking round campus. If you don’t have a car, you can always take the bus. The system is really reliable. I use it all the time, whether it’s going to the mall or downtown Tacoma. You can even go to piercetransit.org to plan your rip – you’ll get all the details you need to get to your destination and back. —Liona Guevara ’11

Do I need to bring a computer to campus? Does PLU have computers that I can use?

A. PLU is well equipped with computer labs, and the library is a great resource as well. If you have a computer, then you’ll have the convenience of wireless Internet access and being able to do homework in your room. If you don’t have a computer of your own, it’s not a huge problem – you’ll have access to computers between 7 a.m. and midnight. —Liona Guevara ’11

Getting Involved

What sorts of clubs can I join?

A. Lots. Sometimes I wish I could have more time in the day because there are honestly so many clubs I wish I could join. I went to the Involvement Fair and literally signed up to receive information on 18 different clubs. Around 70 clubs exist at PLU, but any student can also create a new club if he/she wants something more – my friend just started an aerobics group. —Bethany Petek ’13

What are some of the most unique clubs and organizations?

A. That’s tough, we always have clubs springing up. Outdoor Rec has to be my favorite – they organize trips on weekends to different areas and go hiking, snowshoeing, climbing, kayaking, etc. I think the most unique one I have seen is the Meat Club. It’s a bunch of students who meet one night a week and have a barbecue, even in the winter. —Brian Curtis ’09

Does PLU have fraternities and sororities?

A. PLU does not have fraternities or sororities. Even though we don’t have them, that doesn’t mean it is harder to meet people. The residence halls are a great way to meet people. Also, another great way to meet people is by joining a club where you all have a common interest. And if there isn’t a club for what you like, you can start a new one and meet people that way.  —Evan Hildebrand ’14

Can I be involved in sports, but not play a varsity sport?

A. I found the intramural sports to be a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and have a lot of fun. They are perfect for any student who may want to play a sport but doesn’t have the time or experience for a varsity sport. Competitively, intramurals are completely relaxed so I recommend every student try at least try one, even if you have never played a sport before. —Ryan Kaliamos ’11

Do I have to attend chapel?

A. No, you do not have to attend chapel. There are no requirements such as every student has to attend chapel. PLU was founded by Scandinavian immigrants, so Lutheran heritage is very important to our school, but that doesn’t mean it will be forced upon you. That’s one of the great things about PLU. There are many religious opportunities that are offered on and off-campus – for people of all faiths. —Luxi Salmon ’11

What programs, events, or courses does your school offer to promote being a more environmentally sustainable and eco-friendly institution?

A. PLU is a very sustainable and eco-friendly institution – PLU was the first Northwest university to sign the Talloires Declaration, which commits universities around the world to sustainable practices and action. Even The Commons is going green – most of their waste is composted, instead of going to the dump. There are many different events offered throughout the year that bring up the issue of global warming, effects of pollution, or just recycling on campus. A lot of these are put on by GREAN, the student-based environmental club. —Luxi Salmon ’11

Tacoma And The Pacific Northwest

What is it like living in the Pacific Northwest?

A. Coming from Colorado, transitioning to the Pacific Northwest was not too difficult. The weather here is actually really comfortable. I am always lured outdoors by the natural beauty of the environment. The Outdoor Rec program offers activities every weekend like kayaking or climbing. It is a great way for students to experience the Pacific Northwest. —Ryan Kaliamos ’11

What is there to do in Tacoma?

A. It depends on what you want to do! I love finding new things to do and new places to hang out. My favorite places to go are the fun restaurants you can find in downtown Tacoma, and Point Defiance Zoo. Tacoma’s waterfront is a great place to walk. Another popular spot would probably be the Glass Museum (with an awesome Dale Chihuly glass bridge) and the Tacoma Art Museum. These are both filled with great exhibits and, luckily, many students got to go there for our homecoming and spring formal dances. Tacoma is also home to the Tacoma Dome that is a popular venue for many artists (like Britney Spears or Rascal Flatts). —Carissa Davidson ’10

Does it really rain every day?

A. I grew up in the Caribbean, so of course there is a huge difference in climate. It doesn’t rain everyday, but it can be overcast a lot. When it does rain, it’s really light rain, so it’s easy to walk around even without an umbrella. I like that a lot. Snowfall isn’t common, but it can surprise you once in a while – which is nice too. —Liona Guevara ’11Back to Top