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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

How I became a Lute

By Chris Jensen '05

Chris Jensen, '05

As a senior at Mountlake Terrace (Wash.) High School last year, Chris Jensen '05 wrote a journal for the American College Testing Web site on his college application experiences. The following are some highlights of his journey.

August 2000
Senior Year-The Grand Finale
I'm excited and a little nervous.

I'm not sure where I'll be going yet, but I have a pretty good idea of what I'm looking for in a four-year college. I don't want to go to a big college where the student-to-teacher ratio is high…I like having someone I can go talk to who knows what's going on and who knows who I am.

Whatever school I go to has to have a strong education program. You see, I want one of the most under-appreciated jobs in the world: I want to be a teacher. Even if I can just touch one student, just one person, and help him or her find a dream and achieve it, well, then, it will be all worth it.

I've already visited one of the schools I'm looking at-Pacific Lutheran University-and even met with the football coach.

October 2000
I feel like our house is becoming College Central. Everywhere I turn I run into reminders-college brochures, financial aid forms, drafts of my résumé and scholarship forms.
In most cases the applications have to be in before December. That will be here before we know it! It's kind of scary because the choice I have to make ultimately will be with me for the next four or five years. There is a lot riding on this one.

November 2000
The pressure is starting to get to me a little. I'm dealing with homework, sports, my job, and-oh, yeah-finding a college.

I'm trying to meet with the college representatives from my top schools. Recently, I talked with PLU during their visit to my high school. Their representative did give me some good inside information on the application essay. She told me the same thing my mom has for years: less is more. Another thing I learned is that with the financial aid and scholarships they are generally able to offer students, the actual out-of-pocket cost for tuition is about the same as for public schools. That was good news for my parents and me.
I've also been on the phone a lot with colleges. PLU has called multiple times. I like being wanted!

February 2001
The hard work is done…all my applications are in. By now I think I know everything by heart-I can tell you what college my parents went to and when, the year they graduated and with what degree-you name it, I know it! I've written about how I spend my summers, academic experiences that significantly influenced my life, who I am, special circumstances on why I should be selected, and favorite activities.

I applied to Central Washington University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Pacific Lutheran University, and University of Puget Sound. This has got to be the worst: just waiting.

May 2001
PLU is where it's gonna be! They've got the most to offer: a great campus, a great program, lots of options, and everyone I've talked to has been extremely nice. They actually care about who I am and what I want to do. It's going to be my home for the next four years. I'm really looking forward to it.

June 2001
June 18, I was officially enrolled as a college freshman at the fine institution of Pacific Lutheran University. Now that my college planning days are over, I'll tell you what I learned:

  • Keep your options open. Apply to more than one or two colleges, and apply to both public and private schools. This will give you a better idea of which school "wants" you the most. Present yourself to those colleges the best you can. Don't play to them-just be yourself.
  • Work hard the entire four years of high school. I wish I had. Good grades and a good GPA translate into more financial aid dollars from the college. A good GPA also helps you earn scholarships.
  • There are so many scholarships out there. I was dumbfounded at just the ones our school brought in.
  • Get involved in community service. Many scholarships ask about community service in the applications; the colleges like to see it, and it's a good way for you to help out and learn about yourself. I challenge all of you to go out and donate a few hours of your time each week or every other week to help a cause that you believe in.
  • Start saving money for college now.

I'm excited about the next four years of my life, and I believe that I made the right choices. I know I picked the right college. It's time now to prepare for the rest of my life.

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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