How is College Different from High School?
- You manage your own time:
Where you were in class 6-8 hours a day in high school and given perhaps 2 hours of homework, now you can expect to be in class about 3-4 hours a day and have 4+ hours of homework per day. It’s up to you to schedule your time.
- You need to study:
The average student will need — on average — to spend 2-3 hours studying and preparing outside of class for every hour in class in order to earn an average grade.
- It’s up to you to do the reading:
Class-time is for discussion and development of readings/homework, not for summary or recap. You must do the prep work if you expect to benefit from class.
- Professors offer guidance and help, but they will not check up on you:
Keeping up with the work, doing the homework, making an effort to connect readings with lectures, discussions, and assignments–all of these are your responsibilities. Professors structure coursework to help you learn, but it’s up to you to take that last step.
- Grades reflect mastery, not effort:
Tests, quizzes, papers, and other assessments are opportunities for you to show your mastery of the material; they also point the way for you to adjust your efforts so that you will achieve the mastery you aim at. A good faith effort is a necessary, but not sufficient condition for a good grade.
What Makes PLU Special?
The PLU Mision:
Educating students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other people, for their communities and for the earth.
PLU is a small, liberal arts college in the Pacific Northwest that educates the whole student. Professors and the University don’t see students as “brains on sticks” but take an active role in connecting class with life outside the campus.
A Liberal Arts Education in a Responsible Context
- A Liberal Arts Education
- PLU’s General Education Program guarantees that each student will have the broad background of knowledge and appreciation of multiple disciplines (in the Natural Sciences, the Social Sciences, and the Humanities) that characterizes the Liberal Arts.
- The General Education Program at PLU uniquely integrates six major goals into its courses–goals that transcend individual disciplines and subjects:
- Building a Broad Knowledge Base
- Learning to Reflect Critically on the sources and biases of our knowledge
- Learning to Express Thoughts clearly in writing and speech
- Interacting With Others, who may not share the same background or assumptions
- Recognizing and Articulating One’s Own Values, and Respecting the Values of Others
- Recognizing the Role of Culture in the values, assumptions, and perspectives of ourselves and those around us
- “PLU seeks to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care—for other people, for their communities, and for the Earth. Students at PLU enjoy the distinctive tradition of Lutheran higher education that helps students discern their vocation in life, and they experience successful internship opportunities in world-class Puget Sound region businesses and institutions, hands-on classes with professors who are experts in their fields of study, and a tradition of excellence and service, to the world established by more than a century of PLU alumni.” — President Thomas W. Krise, from the “Message from the President” in the PLU Catalogue 2018-2019
- The 44 hour rule
- No more than 44 hours (i.e., 11 courses) may count towards your total graduation requirements.
- The average PLU student takes between 33 and 36 courses in their four years. The 44 hour rule grows out of PLU’s commitment to providing the in-depth education of a major alongside the broad education characteristic of the Liberal Arts and of a well-rounded citizen.
- Emphasis on Diversity, Justice, Sustainability
- The students, professors, and staff of PLU consider our on-going attention to Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability to be at the heart of what makes PLU special. See below for a glimpse into what each of these means to us.
- Emphasis on Vocation
- At PLU, we encourage every person to reflect on their vocation, their calling in life. What is it that you are meant to do? Where will you find fulfillment, and how can you and we together nourish that vocation? The Wild Hope Center for Vocation is just one of the resources at PLU whose goal is to help you find your place in the world.
- Notable Facilities and Programs
Justice, Diversity, and Sustainability
- Diversity Center
- PLU takes its commitment to diversity in every form very seriously. The Diversity Center encourages self-reflection, approaching issues from the perspectives of multiple groups, and awareness of all the communities to which we and others belong.
- The Diversity Center includes resources for awareness of how our language affects others, social justice, and leadership.
- Sustainability is all about ensuring that the world of today can continue into the world of tomorrow.
- From the Office of Sustainability: “Sustainability at PLU focuses on three key components: care for people, care for the planet, and prosperity, both now and in the future. These are values that emphasize the inseparable interrelation‐ships between environmental, economic, and ethical principles that call on all individuals and communities to ensure that our present way of life does not degrade that of future generations, but leaves the world a better place for all.”
- Sustainability at PLU goes far beyond recycling (though it includes that, too!) and into a community garden, campus initiatives on energy use, water use, carpooling, and more. These initiatives involve faculty, staff, and students equally!
- Social Justice
- Social Justice is more than just a byword at PLU: we weave it into every facet of the university, from concern for sustainability and diversity, to fair treatment of students, staff, and faculty in every sphere.
- The Matrix, PLU’s Social Justice Magazine is a student publication that focuses on issues of diversity and social justice within the PLU community. From the Matrix’s website: “We see ourselves as simply the mouthpiece of the university and its students; we hope that The Matrix will spark conversation within the community on topics that its members truly care about. By providing students with the opportunity to engage in written or artistic work in the print publication or in conversation with peers in our student-led discussions, we open the doors for students to participate. What matters most is that the voices of the student body are heard.”
- How will you live your one wild and crazy life? The Wild Hope Center for Vocation is a unique organization within PLU that seeks to help students figure out how their passions and talents intersect with a profession out in the world.
- From the Wild Hope Center’s website: “Finding one’s vocation is far more than choosing a profession. Vocation is the resounding sense of one’s purpose or role in life. It exists both within one’s career and outside it—in relation to the multifaceted aspects of life and to critical exploration and understanding of the larger role a profession can play. As a vital part of the university, the center understands that one must explore profound intellectual and social questions and encounter the complexity of the world in order to unearth meaning and purpose in life.”