To the Pioneers, With Love

A sincere love letter to the students of PUC from a guest lecturer
By Patrick Vogelpohl

In 2009, I drove a dying Honda Civic up Howell Mountain Road to teach my first class at Pacific Union College. I was a former real estate marketing manager and a freelance writer. I lived in a demanding marketplace filled with unforgiving bottom lines and deadlines.

But my first son was about to be born. My wife and I needed the money. Michelle Rai, the chair of the communication department and now a dear friend, needed someone to teach newswriting at the last minute. She took me to a classroom on the first floor of Irwin Hall, introduced me to about 25 young adults, and then left the room. The students and I smiled at each other for a few seconds until I began to lecture.

Strange things began to happen right away.

As I talked, the students paid attention. They took notes. They smiled at me some more. If they talked to classmates, it was about newswriting. At the end of class, some asked me questions about my lecture. Others simply welcomed me to the college. I thought I was being punk’d, but I wasn’t. These students were friendly and sincere. It was, for lack of a better word, weird.

I drove down Howell Mountain Road and thought, “That was the most pleasant work experience I have ever had.” So I kept going back. I eventually served as an assistant professor of communication. I even taught in the English Department. I became co-director of Publication Workshop and was an advisor for the Campus Chronicle. I got to introduce Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tracy Kidder at Colloquy. Currently, I’m serving as a guest lecturer in a public relations course.

Vogelpohl, center, surrounded by four of his most attractive students. Note their dewy skin.

Vogelpohl, center, surrounded by four of his most attractive students. Note their dewy skin.

In my time on the hill, I’ve learned a few things about PUC’s exceptional students. If you are an incoming freshman, here’s what you should know about your peers:

1. PUC students are active members of the Adventist church. Some are conservative Adventists. Some are liberal. Most students, however, regularly tend to their relationships with God. They go to (and enjoy) church on Saturday, as well as residence hall worship or other prayer groups. When a PUC student wrestles with her or his faith, their friends still accept them as a fellow child of God.

2. PUC students have fantastic skin. It’s not even fair! Maybe it’s because of the plant-rich diet. Maybe it’s all the rest on the Sabbath. Every PUC graduate could earn a modeling contract based on their skin alone. Could your skin be healthier? Then get up here. By the time you leave, your skin will be best described as “supple” or “visually delicious.”

3. PUC students are serious about learning. The vast majority of students actually attend class. The vast majority does homework. Group work gets done. Are there some slackers on campus? Sure. Do students work harder in some classes than in others? Of course. This a college filled with young adults, not study-bots. But I would argue that slackers don’t last too long at PUC. Why? See #4.

4. PUC students are ridiculously active. They study. Then they play on intramural sports teams. They play instruments. They double-major. They have jobs. They have internships. They learn to play instruments while at their internships. They have terrific conversations in the Dining Commons. They feed the homeless. They take day trips to San Francisco and the beach. If these kids weren’t so friendly and attractive, they would be annoying.

5. PUC students are very good at dating. First, they are friends. Then they attend vespers together. Nine years later, they have two law degrees, three kids, a cocker spaniel named Gary, and a nice house near the beach.

6. PUC students live long lives. I once met an alumnus that was 177 years young.

And finally, PUC students look out for one another. They even look out for their professors. I have had students bring me food and snacks during marathon grading sessions—students that weren’t even in my courses. When my kids have been sick, other students prayed for them without my asking. They just did it. Stuff like this doesn’t happen often in most jobs. But it can absolutely make the worst days seem brighter.

In short, you will go to school with the best people you will ever meet. Get up here. Fast.

Keep Working on College Finances This Summer

With your senior year coming to a close, you may be asking yourself “What more can I do to help pay for college?” If you’re thinking there’s nothing more that can be done, you couldn’t be more wrong. There are still plenty of options you can explore to help reduce the upcoming cost of college this fall.

Get a Job
I’ll start with PUC-related options first, since this is our Admissions blog after all! If you aren’t already aware, we have two matching programs in place to recognize students who have made certain contributions to the Adventist church:

  • Summer Ministries Leadership Match. PUC matches 100 percent of certified earnings that are applied to tuition by students who work at a SDA youth camp or in a youth ministry program in the summer prior to fall quarter enrollment, up to $2,000. The Association of Adventist Camping Professionals has a camp directory list of all the Adventist summer camps in the country.
  • Summer Literature Evangelism Match. PUC matches 100 percent of certified earnings that are applied to tuition by students who work as SDA literature evangelists in the summer prior to fall quarter enrollment, up to $3,000. Contact your local conference office for more information about programs in your area.

Of course, you can work other places in the summer as well and put a percentage of your earnings towards your college expenses. Even if you aren’t working full time, try to make sure at least part of what you’re making is saved to help reduce your family’s payments towards your school bill in the fall. If you can, save just $10 of your earnings per workday between June 1st and September 21st (when classes at PUC start), and assuming you work five days per week, it would give you $800 to put towards your bill. Every little bit counts!

You can also make plans to get a job on campus when you arrive for New Student Orientation and continue to make contributions to your bill throughout the school year. You can learn more about what jobs are available to students and how to apply for them by reading our “Working On-Campus Has Its Perks” post.

Apply for Scholarships
If you’ve given up your scholarship search thinking all deadlines have passed, it’s time to get back in front of your computer and start searching again! There are plenty of scholarships still available, it’s just up to you to find them.

Need More Help?
Our team of Financial Counselors in the Student Finance office can give you more ideas on other places to look for scholarships to help your family afford college. They can be reached at studentfinance@puc.edu or 800.862.7080 option 1.

10 Questions with PUC’s New Modern Languages Professor

Professor Cristian Pancorbo began teaching at PUC this past winter, and already has had an impact on our community. I was able to spend a day with Cristian and got to hear how passionate he is about language and the PUC student body. To help introduce him to the rest of campus as well as prospective students, I asked him 10 questions about his experience here so far and his vision for PUC.

1. As a new member of the PUC family, tell us a little bit about yourself.

I really don’t know how to answer these kinds of questions, and most of the time I just talk about my hobbies, but I guess that’s not who I am. Right? So let me tell you about the things I love.

I love traveling and discovering places and people – I like to think there’s a unique kind of knowledge and growth to this. I like serving others on my trips, but just getting lost is excuse enough to fly for me. I love my niece, who lives in Montreal, but I try to see her every time I have a chance. She is just the best. I enjoy sports, but mainly it is a reason to be with people, doing something fun. I used to think I was good at basketball until I moved here and realized I’m not even good enough for intramurals. I almost forgot! Teaching is something I love, it gives me a rush nothing else does, and I truly believe it makes real big changes, or it should.

Cristian 2

Professor Pancorbo (bottom row, left) and his soccer intramurals team at PUC.

2. What made you decide to up and move to a new country?

I have been attached to the U.S. in many different ways since I was 16-years-old. I have been invited by some of my U.S. friends since 18. I also have been teaching students from here since I started working. I wasn’t looking for a job opportunity or a way to move to a different country, but I want to think God opened this path in for me, and I’m committed to go where he takes me. I have to say, although I have loved ones in Spain, I have always felt comfortable with the idea of moving around wherever I should go. Nobody was too surprised when I said I was moving to the U.S. Nonetheless, It wasn’t an easy decision, since I had a job and colleagues I simply loved. ACA Spain (ESDES), where I was working, has the most loving teachers one could find.

3. What was your first impression of PUC?

I came for the job interview around Christmas (2013) and that was my first time at PUC. I knew the west coast more or less and I had been to the south of California many times, but I never drove further north of Yosemite; I instantly liked it. It’s the most beautiful campus I have ever been to, but nothing new about that, right? This place is wonderful and the lifestyle you can have here is just great – full of knowledge, beauty, sports, arts, nature, great weather, great people and so much more.

4. So far, what is your favorite thing about PUC?

The best thing about PUC is the student body. You guys [students] are great and make me enjoy this place so much. I think I talk on behalf of all the teachers when I say you are the reason why we do this and love it. I also like other things we have here like the spiritual life, the idea of serving others visible almost everywhere.

5. Tell us your goals for the Modern Language Department.

I want students to open their minds to new horizons and perspectives – if possible by traveling overseas. I want the students to really engage in their challenge with a new language. I want my students to learn about making a big effort, loving it, or at least enjoying it. I want to find new ways for the students to practice Spanish in a fun way outside of formal classes. The goal has to be helping the students develop their skills with communication in a new language, critical thinking and serving others using Jesus as an example.

Cristian 3

Professor Pancorbo and students on a recent trip to PUC’s Albion Retreat and Learning Center.

6. Out of all your classes, which is your favorite to teach and why?

This is like asking a parent who his favorite child is – it’s not fair. But I’ll be open to you; I love my Medical Spanish class. It’s very practical and I see a lot of motivation in my students. They realize it is something really important for their careers. It is really fun to role-play with them and use the knowledge they already have in their field of study for the class.

7. What are some benefits to taking Spanish classes?

You can communicate with the huge amount of Spanish speakers you will find in the U.S. Not only that, you will increase your number of friends, your future “clients” and your opportunities. You will understand your neighbors a lot better and you will be able to travel and discover with bigger empathy for what you encounter. It is like having another “self” with all the opportunities that come with it. In the world we live in, there needs to be more understanding and real communication among individuals and nations. But seriously, it does. Don’t just agree with me. Go learn a language and travel, go overseas through Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) for a year, or became a missionary. Do it. You can’t go wrong by learning Spanish, traveling or serving if you are holding to God.

8. How has knowing a second language benefited you personally?

Sometimes, I think learning English has impacted me wider and deeper in my life than having my degree or my master’s. I was blessed with the best friends who invited me to come visit them and thanks to that, I actually started to speak the language. You can study a language your whole life, but if you don’t practice, it is like reading books about basketball expecting to get good at it, just by that. After I learned, I started to be blessed with scholarships and opportunities to live and travel in different places all around the world. I lived a great positive experience after another and I can see now they were coming from God.

I lived and studied in Krakow (Poland) with a full scholarship. I also went to Sydney (Australia) with another scholarship to perfect my English and I had some of the most amazing working and serving experiences in developing countries like Morocco, Honduras, Ethiopia… I’m now learning French here at PUC and it’s a experience you all should try. Professor Jehanno is a great, experienced teacher from Paris and her classes are so much fun.

9. What are some interesting or less thought of careers students can get with a Modern Language degree?

A minor or a major in Spanish is a great match for any future career you might be looking at. It would be hard to think of a career that couldn’t have a good use of a second language. I think every social worker, lawyer, doctor, psychologist, physical therapist, speech pathology… or any other professional who needs to understand their client/patient and their reality as an essential part of their job needs to know their language as a basic tool. Remember you are preparing yourself to be useful with the knowledge and skills you are developing during your college years. Make sure you are getting ready for what’s coming – don’t just get a degree, try to get the tools you will use.

Professor Pancorbo and Modern Languages Department friends.

10. What fun and interesting things are happening within the Modern Language Department students might like to know about?

The most exciting thing is we’ll be offering Beginning Portuguese for the first time in Winter 2016. The Brazil mission trip to the Amazon and Manaus during Spring Break is part of the class, which will count for GE credit(s). We also have a new Japanese professor, John Inada. He has developed his career in the video game industry successfully, also finding the time to teach with us. We are planning on showing movies (original versions) at our beautiful student lounge, and also share resources and updates through our Modern Languages Facebook page. Finally, we want to develop our service learning implication as a department and continue to grow our language for specific purpose classes, like Spanish for medical personnel, which is a high-demand class.

There are other interesting things happening with Adventist Colleges Abroad. They are always trying to improve and challenge themselves with their awesome work. One of their newest features are the internships you can do overseas in places like the United Nations, architecture firms, schools, music and art and so many more. With these internships you improve your abroad experience, your language skills, and your résumé. This adds another huge reason why you have to go to ACA (and they will transfer all your credits back to PUC, including the internship ones).

Editor’s note: If you would like more information about studying a language at PUC, you can talk with an Enrollment Counselor by calling 800.862.7080 option 2 or emailing enroll@puc.edu.

Have a Question? Chat Us!

These days, it seems like nobody talks on the phone anymore. In our fast-paced world, it’s much easier to pull out your phone and quickly text someone than it is to dial their number, wait to see whether or not they answer, and if they aren’t available, leave them a voicemail they likely won’t listen to. Last spring, in an effort to keep up with the times, our office unveiled an online chat service on our Admissions website where you can ask questions and quickly get an answer from an Enrollment Counselor or our Communications Specialist. We’re happy to help!

Chat

Look for the chat button to pop up when you’re on our Admissions website.

Here’s a short list of suggested questions to ask if you aren’t sure where to begin:

  1. I’m interested in attending PUC, how do I get started?
  2. What’s the status of my application?
  3. I was just accepted – what do I do next?
  4. How do I look for scholarships?
  5. What classes will I be taking for my major?
  6. What’s there to do in the area around PUC?
  7. What events does the Student Association have on-campus during the week?
  8. What intramurals sports does PUC offer?
  9. What is the campus spiritual life like? What can I get involved with?
  10. Do I have to live in the dorms? If so, what’s dorm life like?

Don’t be shy! Please feel free to chat us with any questions you have. We staff our chat service from 8:30 AM – 5 PM Monday through Thursday, and on Fridays from 8:30 AM – 1 PM. If you would like to contact us through more traditional methods, you can email enroll@puc.edu or give us a call at 800.862.7080 option 2.

PUC Finances Made Easy

Figuring out college finances is complicated. What loans or grants should you apply for? What scholarships do you qualify for? Luckily, PUC comes with a Student Finance department full of staff whose sole job is to help you out! If you haven’t talked with your personal Financial Counselor yet, go to http://www.puc.edu/admissions/finance to find out who you should talk with – Counselors are assigned based on last name. You can always call 800.862.7080 option 1 if you prefer as well.

College is an investment and you want to make sure you’re making a smart one, so spend a few minutes watching this short video to learn the basics of college financial aid and then give our Student Finance office a call with any questions you might have.

10 Scholarships to Apply For This Spring

If you’re still looking for ways to help pay for college this fall, here’s a list of 10 scholarships open to high school seniors with application deadlines during the next few months. Some scholarships are even available to current college students!

1. Sports Unlimited Scholarship
Deadline: April 20, 2015

Write an essay between 500 and 1000 words describing a time when you have overcome adversity to succeed in a sport for a chance to win $1,000.

2. All About Education Scholarship
Deadline: April 30, 2015

This scholarship asks you to write a short essay (250 words or less) in response to the question “How will a $3,000 scholarship for education make a difference in your life?”

3. National Home Improvement Scholarship
Deadline: May 1, 2015

Open to both high school, college, and graduate students, applicants must write an essay of up to 1,000 words about how they will use their education to help the world. The winner receives $1,000.

4. Mometrix College Scholarships
Deadline: May 22, 2015

If your friends are always asking you for study tips, this is for you! Write an essay of up to 2,000 characters (about 400 words) sharing how you prepare for a test and you could win $5,000. This scholarship is also open to current college students as well as high school seniors.

5. Krylon Clear Choice Art Scholarship
Deadline: May 31, 2015

This scholarship awards five winners $1,000 each, as well as gives each winner’s school a $500 grant and Krylon supplies. To apply, you must submit your portfolio, a statement, a letter of reference and your transcripts. High school seniors as well as college freshmen and sophomores are encouraged to apply.

6. PicMonkey College Scholarship
Deadline: May 31, 2015

After taking a survey, write a short 400-500 word essay in response to one of two questions; the story behind your favorite photo or a moment you wish you had a photo of. The winner receives $1,000.

7. Sunoco Rewards Scholarships
Deadline: May 31, 2015

Sunoco is offering two $1,000 scholarships; one for designing signage to be used at their stations and the other for coming up with a digital marketing campaign for the company.

8. Stuck at Prom Scholarship Contest
Deadline: June 1, 2015

Probably one of the most famous college scholarships, this contest asks students to make outfits made entirely of Duck brand duct tape to be worn to prom. This isn’t limited to couples; there’s also a category just for singles if you’re planning on attending solo. There’s over $50,000 worth of prizes, while first place winners receive $10,000 each as well as $5,000 for their school.

9. RevZilla Design Scholarship 2015
Deadline: June 1, 2015

This $1,000 scholarship asks applicants to design a new t-shirt for the company. The winner also has their design printed on shirts the winner can hand out to friends and family.

10. Do-Over Scholarship Application 2015
Deadline: June 30, 2015

It’s never good to obsess about the past, but make an exception for this $1,500 scholarship. All you have to do is write a short response up to 250 words to the question “If you could get one ‘do-over’ in life, what would it be and why?”

Accepted to PUC – Here’s What’s Next

I hope you tossed a ton of confetti and jumped around your living room as you opened your acceptance packet because we are so thrilled that you’ve been accepted to PUC!

Andy Dwyer

We can’t even express how excited we are for you to arrive on campus this September! But before you get here, there are a few things you need to do. Lucky for you, you’ve found our blog where we’ll break everything down into four simple steps.

1. Pay your enrollment fee
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean you need to pay your entire school bill or anything. The enrollment fee is only $150. The fee is completely refundable if you decide PUC isn’t right for you before September 1. This lets us know you’re committed to attending PUC and it reserves your spot in classes. You can pay the fee online or by calling PUC’s cashier at 707.965.7530.

2. Complete your housing form
Once you’ve paid your enrollment fee, you can fill out the housing information form. A great thing about PUC is unless you’re married or over the age of 22, you’ll be living in a residence hall which makes becoming part of the PUC family super easy!

3. Register for classes
Today is April 6th, which means class registration for the fall has officially begun! Once your fee has been paid you can get your class schedule set up for your first quarter in college. To do this you can contact your Enrollment Counselor and together you’ll make sure you have the perfect schedule.

4. Make financial arrangements
Have you filled out FAFSA? Have you filled out a PUC Financial Aid Application? Finances are probably the scariest thing about college, which is why we have a great team of Financial Counselors ready to help! But first, take a few minutes to fill out FAFSA and the PUC Financial Aid Application so they have the most accurate information for you.

See? What did I tell you, four easy steps to becoming a PUC student! So hurry up and complete these so you can start doing the fun stuff, like planning how you want your dorm room to look!