There’s More to Academics Than Picking a Major

Part of choosing a college involves thinking about what program you want to study. With over 70 degrees and programs offered at PUC, whatever your passion, we’ve got a program for you! (Pssst! You can learn more about all of the college’s programs at

There’s also a lot more to academics than deciding on your major. Here are five academic-related questions students frequently ask during PUC’s admissions process. Reach out to PUC’s team of admissions counselors if you have additional questions or need clarification on anything!

What does the typical day of a college student look like?

Every day will probably be different! Sorry, it’s a frustrating answer, but it’s the truth. Most classes at PUC meet three or four times a week, so you’ll likely have different classes on different days. Some classes are an hour, while others might be three hours (like a lab). Depending on your schedule, you might have classes all in the morning or all in the afternoon. You’ll have lots of free time, but it’s important to balance your time well. Which leads to the next question …

How much should I plan to study each week?

As a general rule of thumb, most professors say college students should expect to spend about two hours studying per week for each credit hour they take. A full load at PUC is considered to be 16 credits, which means about 16 hours of your week is spent in class, and you should try to block out about 32 hours a week to prepare for classes. Class prep includes homework, reading, and any other assignments. Don’t panic though, you probably won’t spend all that time studying, as it can fluctuate based on papers, projects, and other things. To give you a better idea of what to expect, USA Today found the average college student spends about 17 hours per week preparing for their classes.

What if I don’t know what I want to study?

Don’t worry if you haven’t picked a major yet! You’ll be fine. Research suggests as many as 80 percent of college students change their major at least once, while the average student changes their major up to three times. Understandably then, many students come to college without knowing exactly what they want to study.

The beauty of PUC being a liberal arts college is you will need to take classes in many different subjects to fulfill your General Education requirements (You can read more about those in the “What on Earth are General Education Requirements?!” blog post). This is the perfect way to try something new while learning about your strengths to see whether or not you’re interested in a subject enough to major in it. Each quarter, there are hundreds of class options available to you, including classes on such topics as business law, fencing, American government, ceramics, anatomy, Christian ethics, creative writing, computer programming, and so much more.

If you’re struggling to see where your future is headed, there are also many resources available to you at PUC. Through the Career and Counseling Center, you’ll have access to multiple personality tests, interest surveys, and our career counselor will happily give you one-on-one career counseling. We’ll help you find where God is calling you.

Learn more about PUC’s Career and Counseling Center.

What academic resources does PUC have to help me with my studies?

The Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) offers free group tutoring Sunday through Thursday for more than 25 different courses, ranging from business to languages to science. Most lower-division GE courses have tutoring options available. If you’re struggling with a class but don’t see a tutoring option available, talk with the helpful TLC staff and they can set you up with a small group or an individual tutor. There’s also a writing lab available to students who would like input and direction on writing papers—take advantage of this service!

For those with a learning disability, be sure to contact the disabilities support service coordinator in the TLC when you are on campus to learn more about the accommodations we provide.

Learn more about PUC’s Teaching and Learning Center.

How do I register for classes?

For your first quarter, you’ll work with your admissions counselor to get registered for classes. Then, once you’re a student, you will be assigned an advisor in the area you’re studying. For example, if you’re planning to study business, your advisor will be a professor in the department of business (helpful, right?). Your advisor knows the ins and outs of their department’s programs and will be a valuable source for any questions you have about what classes you should take, what major you should consider for your career path, and more. Every quarter your advisor will need to approve your schedule, which is a great safety net for making sure you stay on track to complete your degree!

We have a team of five amazing admissions counselors ready to help you throughout the application process with any questions you have along the way, whether you have questions about admissions requirements, financial aid, or one of PUC’s academic programs. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email to get connected with one now!

PUC Now Offering New Online MBA Program

This year, PUC is proud to introduce the new Online Master of Business Administration program. The program can be completed in as little as one year (dependent upon the number of credits taken per term), and is tailored for working professionals. Three emphases are available: Accounting, Healthcare Administration, and Management.

Offered in collaboration with Southern Adventist University, PUC’s online MBA program is tailored to meet the demands of your professional and personal life. The program is 100 percent online and offers a flexible schedule with multiple start dates (residency requirements; open to California and Hawai’i residents only). Small class sizes offer personalized attention, and students can expect to learn and grow under the guidance of faculty with rich, real-world experience.

We talked with Victor Gaines, associate professor of business administration and the online MBA program coordinator, about why students studying business should consider obtaining their MBA, why professionals already in the workforce should consider going back to school, and what makes PUC’s program unique.

Why should someone be interested in getting an MBA?

The MBA is a post-baccalaureate degree that helps students and working professionals stand out among others in the marketplace and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern workforce and progress further in their professional career.

What are the benefits of an MBA in today’s society?

The MBA program takes what was taught in undergraduate courses and expands those concepts, allowing all types of students—from recent graduates to those who have worked in the field for some time—the opportunity to further develop the important business skills required for today’s job placement and to serve in positions of leadership.

Obviously, one of the advantages of PUC’s online MBA program is it will be taught from a Christian perspective. How will faith be integrated into the curriculum?

Faith is integrated into every part of this program. Students will be looking at business with a Christian perspective. This would include: ethics, human resources, marketing, and accounting, just to name a few. Each weekly assignment will ask students to look at business through the lens of their Christian faith.

PUC’s program is in conjunction with Southern Adventist University. Can you explain that relationship a bit?

Partnering with SAU offers students enrolled in the program a variety of positive opportunities with both their fellow students and program faculty. Working collaboratively in a diverse online setting allows students to continue to expand their knowledge and increase their career opportunities all while developing essential business skills of intercultural competence and global understanding, which are highly valued in today’s workplace. Paired with a Christian philosophy, graduates of the program will also benefit from studying and learning from other like-minded individuals.  

What are the requirements of PUC’s online program?

Students need the following:

  1. Admission to Pacific Union College (see admissions requirements)
  2. A baccalaureate degree (any major) from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education
  3. Submission of a graduate application that includes the following:
    1. online application form
    2. application fee of $40 (non-refundable)
    3. two recommendations (completed by work supervisors or undergraduate professors)
    4. official transcripts from all institutions attended
    5. a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
    6. official scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), taken within the past five years.
  4. Completion of the following courses at the undergraduate level with a grade of “C-” or higher:
    1. Introduction to Statistics (STAT 222 or equivalent)
    2. Microeconomics (ECON 265 or equivalent)
    3. Introduction to Spreadsheets (INFS 148 or equivalent)

Note: With approval from the department of business, applicants may be admitted without the GMAT if they have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 or if they have at least five years of full-time business-related management experience. Students who lack one or more of these prerequisite courses should discuss their options with the chair of the department of business.

The first start term is January 7. What are the other terms for 2019?

Summer Session I:  May 6th – June 7th
Summer Session II:  June 10th – July 19
Summer Session III:  July 29th – August 22
Fall Session: TBA

For more information about PUC’s online MBA, including program cost and application details, visit or contact Gaines at or (707) 965-6525.

Five Reasons to Apply to PUC Right Now

The fall season is prime time for high school seniors. If you haven’t already started looking at potential schools to attend next year, now’s the time—and why not start with Pacific Union College! Here are five reasons why you should consider applying to PUC today.

Make Friends for a Lifetime

One of the best things about attending PUC is living in one of our seven residence halls. About 75 percent of students live on-campus, which fosters a very close-knit community atmosphere. Students live together, study together, socialize, and worship together, which gives our campus a unique sense of unity. Besides being home for almost 10 months out of the year, the residence halls also provide students with activities like Dorm Olympics, weekly hall worships, and a chance to get to know other students outside the classroom.

Check out the Life at PUC page on our website to learn more about the true Pioneers experience.

Get Involved & Make a Difference

You don’t need to wait until you graduate to start helping with problems around the world. PUC students are already making a difference. With internships, missionary opportunities, service-learning projects, and on-campus ministry groups, you can be part of making change, today.

  • 75 percent of PUC students complete an internship by graduation
  • 10+ mission trip opportunities per year
  • 20,000+ hours PUC students have spent on service-learning projects
  • 10 campus ministry groups

Read about Lauren’s experience as a student missionary in our “How Uganda Love It?” blog post.

Have a Mentor in Your Corner

With a 12:1 student-teacher ratio, your professors will know you. They’re invested in helping you succeed. The one-on-one attention you receive in and out of the classroom will help make you a much more successful student. On top of professors’ regular office hours, students at PUC have many unique opportunities to strengthen relationships with their professors, including intramurals, pre-vespers, and community service projects. As you work towards your career goals, you will find your professors become more—they become your mentors who can help you along your journey, and ones you can still get advice from years after graduation.


Great Financial Aid Opportunities

Since 1882, PUC has been charged with an important mission: providing an excellent Seventh-day Adventist education that prepares students for successful careers and service to both God and others. We are committed to working together with you and your family to make a high-quality Adventist college experience possible.

Did you know:

  • Last year, the college awarded over $30 million in financial aid to 1,250 students
  • The average financial aid award per student is approximately $22,483
  • 100 percent of students qualify for financial aid
  • Most PUC scholarships renew for four years

Learn more about scholarships and other financial aid opportunities at

Enjoy NorCal Life

One of the best things about life at PUC is our amazing location. Nestled in the mountains above the beautiful Napa Valley, students are #blessed to wake up each morning to gorgeous views of a perfect mixture of forest and vineyards. Surrounded by over 30 miles of picturesque hiking and biking trails with incredible destinations, allow for some of the most exquisite sunsets over the charming town of Angwin, perfect to get that Instagram-worthy photo. And just a car ride to San Francisco away holds all the culture you can dream of with galleries, concert halls, museums, theaters, sports stadiums, and plenty of shopping. With so many unique sites and attractions, you’ll always have somewhere to explore.

As you’ve seen, there are many advantages to attending PUC and we would be thrilled to welcome you into the Pioneers family! The online application is quick, easy to complete, and always free. Reach out to the Admissions office with any questions you might have by calling (800) 862-7080, option 2 or emailing

Don’t wait—apply to PUC now!

A Day in the Life of a Capitol Hill Intern

By Redi T. Degefa

Editor’s note: Redi Degefa is a sophomore and political science major at PUC. Her goal is to attend law school and later work in Washington, D.C. Born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, among lawyers and politicians, Redi developed her passion for legislation and public service at an early age.

For undergraduates like myself, inclined toward a career in politics and public service, an internship on Capitol Hill is the ultimate opportunity to gain firsthand experience in the world of government and politics. This summer I interned in  Washington, D.C., for Congressman Mike Thompson. He is the representative in Congress for California’s 5th district, which includes Napa Valley.

As an aspiring politician and congressional staffer, it was important for me to experience my future career climate and gain a better understanding of what it means to work on Capitol Hill. I started pursuing this internship in December  2017 and was accepted in March. I interned for almost three months, starting on June 26 and ending on Sept. 14.

This internship opportunity was both exhilarating and challenging. Not only was I constantly learning something new, but I was also seeing our politicians are not the self-seeking, money-grubbing verbal jousters we see portrayed in the media. In reality, they are genuine and passionate individuals who care about the people and the country they serve. This internship restored my faith in our government and our politicians.

When Congress is in session—meaning when representatives are scheduled to vote or debate on the floor of the House—both interns and staffers have their busiest days. Below is my typical daily timeline from one of those in-session days.

5:45 a.m. – 7 a.m.

Wake up. Stare at my closet for approximately six minutes as if my clothes are going to arrange themselves into “The Olivia  Pope” business attire I want for the day. After a

thorough waste of my time, I will choose the same black pencil skirt from the day before and the same white button-up.

7:04 a.m.

Run frantically to the bus stop while contemplating the importance of planning my outfit the night before to avoid this chaotic and sweaty run to catch the bus.

7:11 a.m.

Ride the 310 bus to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station.

7:25 a.m.

Ride the blue line to Pentagon Station while actively trying to avoid looking at the chicken bones underneath a seat or that man’s tie decorated with penguin prints.

7:50 a.m. – 8:22 a.m.

Transfer to the yellow line at Pentagon Station and ride it to L’Enfant Station. From L’Enfant, transfer to the silver line and ride it to Capitol South Station—my last stop.

8:30 a.m.

Arrive at Cannon House Office Building. A maintenance crew who believes 60 degrees is the ideal office temperature immediately makes me regret not bringing a jacket. If Rep. Thompson is in the office, I organize his newspapers and place them on the right side of his desk.

8:40 a.m. – 11:45a.m.

Unroll phones, which deactivates the voicemail mode and allows calls to come through. Check the voicemail box. Check my calendar and email for invitations to briefings.

Collect and compile news articles from the past 24 hours.

As I gather news articles, I do my best to avoid the Napa Valley Register’s list of cute pets for adoption. Complete writing the Congressional Record Statement (CRS) from the day before, then deliver the CRS to the Democratic Cloakroom. Answer calls from concerned constituents regarding our deteriorating democracy, Trump’s tweets or possible impeachment. These calls are all logged to make sure the constituent gets a response. Take phone calls from other representatives’ offices or the White House. Print the congressman’s schedules and prepare his “Take Home” binder. Buy a 3 feet by 5 feet cotton flag from the Supply Store, pack the flag and deliver it to The Flag House Building. Rep. Thompson’s office sends flags to constituents at their request for funerals or other occasions. Send out constituent letters. Rep. Thompson insists that every constituent who contacted him via email, phone call or mail receives a response. The letters address the concerns of the constituents and express Rep. Thompson’s  stance on the issues. Answer more phone calls.

12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Take the underground subway to Hart Senate Office Building to meet fellow interns for a  brief lunch. Walk to Union Station in the sweltering heat to the nearest Chick-fil-A. We discuss our failed attempts to do something “memorable” together and propose a new plan as if the next one will come to fruition.

12:45 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.

Collect co-sponsorship signatures from different representatives’ offices. Stay focused when walking by Rep. Joe  Kennedy III in the halls of Rayburn House Office Building. No fan-girling over his shiny red hair or cute freckles. Again, stay calm when taking the elevator with Rep. John Lewis. Pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming that a civil rights leader is indeed having a casual, “How is your day going?” conversation with me. What is happening?!

1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Give constituents a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building. In the  Capitol Rotunda, I place my mixed political views aside and appreciate the fact I just walked past Vice President Mike Pence and Speaker Paul Ryan.  

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Attend a short briefing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Write a memo summarizing the main points of the briefing and submit it to the staffer who handles foreign affairs. Sort and batch constituent emails and mail. Write a constituent letter responding to concerns regarding the renewal of the Farm Bill. Write another CRS honoring Napa’s retiring police chief. Draft an executive letter on behalf of a constituent who is requesting a personal tour of the White House Vinyl Collection. Submit the letter to the chief of staff for approval. Call all House committees and check for hearing rooms availability. Fill out reservation forms for all openings and book a room for a film screening hosted by Rep. Mike Thompson. Walk to FedEx in Eastern Market and mail legislative materials to the district offices. Answer more phone calls.

6:15 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Meet fellow interns in the tunnel of Cannon House Office Building. Go to a dinner at a nearby townhouse to meet “important” Capitol  Hill staffers who will help me land bigger internships and find other employment opportunities. While dining on fresh mozzarella, encounter Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen.Dianne Feinstein and chat briefly with them about the current political climate.

9:10 p.m. – 10:45 p.m.

Go to the US  Navy Memorial near Chinatown—my favorite thinking spot—and chat about my day with friends from Rep. Jared Huffman’s and Sen. Kamala Harris’s offices while admiring the beautiful architecture of the National Archives Building.

11 p.m. – 11:30 p.m.

Take the Uber home.  

11:50 p.m.

Set alarm. Fall into bed and look forward to another day. 

As previously published in the Campus Chronicle, PUC’s student-led campus newspaper.

Five Tips for Using PUC’s Library

By Allison Fox, access services librarian

I’ve spent most of my life in libraries. My mom was the librarian at my elementary school, and summers were divided between the swimming pool and the library. As a result of these experiences, libraries have always seemed like a second home to me, which is probably what led to my becoming a librarian! You don’t have to become a librarian, but I hope you will love the library as much as I do! Or at least a little bit. Being comfortable in and with the library will contribute greatly to your academic, and (dare I say), social, success. To that end, here are five tips for using the library.

1. Make yourself at home
As I’ve just implied, a library should feel like a second home. The library has a variety of different sorts of spaces so figure out which one works best for the goal you’re attempting to reach. If you need to work in a group and engage in “lively” discussion, the main floor has an open study space and a couple of rooms to reserve. If you’re seeking quiet and solitude, the top and basement levels have many study carrels where you can focus on your work. There’s also a group viewing room on the bottom level where you can watch VHS tapes on a vintage TV (or DVDs, or streaming TV through a projector), or just gather as a group. There are multiple spaces for different kinds of work and you should keep all these options in mind when planning your schedule.

However, while we librarians want you to feel comfortable here, we also want you to pick up after yourself as you (hopefully) do at home. You are allowed to eat in the library, so please do us the courtesy of throwing away any bottles or food containers. Don’t be the person who finds out what an angry librarian looks like. 🙃

2. Make use of resources
I’ve already talked about the spaces the library offers, but wait, there’s more! Printing in the library is free. We have color as well as black and white printers, available for all your academic needs. There are also laptops to check out if you don’t own one, or if yours has recently experienced any sort of meltdown, or if you just need to use the lockdown browser to take a quiz. If you’re having trouble finding an article or book (or refining a topic, or finding one at all!) there is a librarian specifically on call to help from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., every day during the week, and on Fridays from 8 a.m. to p.m. and on Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. We offer books on every possible topic, so if you’d like to take up knitting or cook an elaborate mid-century meal, we have a book for that, although unfortunately, we can’t provide you the spare time required for such undertakings.

3. Ask questions
One of the most important things you will learn about using the library is that no question is too small or large. If at any point during your research you find yourself lost, please find a librarian to talk to! There is no reason for you to struggle through the process by yourself, and we librarians are both able and willing. We librarians are a voraciously intellectually curious lot, so it’s fun for us to help you solve your dilemmas, be they tracking down a specific article, beginning an exploratory search of a broad topic, or refining a research inquiry. We’re also happy to tell you where the bathrooms are (we have them on each floor!) or help you find a book on the shelf. We welcome all (primarily academic) questions, from the straightforward and simple to the difficult and complex.

4. Be patient
While we are always happy to help you and answer questions, it is important to remember that research can be a long process which will require persistence and patience. It will always require a certain amount of reading and sifting through things, and it’s a process that will demand increasing amounts of your attention. As librarians, we want to make the process of finding these things as painless as possible, and give you methods that will continue to improve what and how much you find. It’s always going to take a certain amount of time, and the further you get into your discipline the more complex your research will be, so it’s important to accept the necessity of giving it your full attention.

Additionally, we librarians are very busy. We all have responsibilities like teaching classes, choosing books and other resources for the library, and a variety of other things like cataloging materials, processing archival collections, maintaining systems, and information literacy assessment. Therefore, if we are not immediately available to help you, please bear with us. We will cheerfully help you once we’re back from teaching or off the phone or finished with helping another student.

5. Get to know the librarians
I keep talking about the librarians so it may seem repetitive to advise getting to know us. However, I stand by it! If you know us you will feel comfortable asking questions, and your Academic struggles will be lessened greatly. We are also completely awesome! Patrick Benner is the library director, and he is the guru of all things technological. He also knows an awful lot about computer history and science fiction. Jason St. Clair is our cataloger, which means he makes sure all materials are in the library catalog so they can be found on the shelves. He is a musician and also reads a lot of sci-fi. Katy Van Arsdale is the special collections librarian and archivist, which means she maintains PUC’s history and deals with SDA scholarship. She wears fabulous nail polish and knows a lot about movies. And I’m Allison Fox, access services librarian—I deal with circulation and do a lot of instruction. I’m obsessed with sentence structure and argument construction, and pop culture.

I hope this gives you some insight into using the PUC library! And of course, all you have to do to find out more is come in and ask.

Get to Know PUC’s Teaching & Learning Center

By Becky St. Clair

What do you think when you hear the acronym “TLC”? Back in the day (and today in the real estate business) it meant “Tender Loving Care.” Those of you old enough to remember the 90s (or who know a lot about music) may recall a 1990s girl band out of Atlanta called TLC, and there’s also a cable television channel by that name—The Learning Channel.

Here at PUC, we have our own TLC, and while we can’t promise any 90s hip-hop (and we promise, no cheesy reality shows!), we can promise some super useful services there. Here on campus, TLC is short for the Teaching & Learning Center. As we get ready to begin another school year, we thought it might be handy for you to know what kinds of services the TLC can provide for you.


Starting college can be challenging for some students. For many, it’s their first time away from home for an extended period of time, and the realities of #adulting are starting to hit home (and dorm!). The TLC has a great team of professionals who will help you keep up with the demands of classes combining with the rest of your life without feeling overwhelmed. To get started with your personalized support, fill out the “Contact an Academic Mentor” form.

Study Groups

We’re not gonna lie, some of your classes will be hard. That’s part of the “blessing and curse” situation of attending a school known for its academic rigor: You’re going to be challenged, but we promise, it’s for your own good, and you will survive. Still doubtful? Join one of the many free study groups in the TLC! They meet twice each week for a lot of those tough classes you’ll encounter because trust us—you’re not the only one finding them hard!

Disabilities Services

If you’re facing additional challenges, such as learning disabilities, injuries or illness, or psychological needs, you won’t be left behind! The TLC has an office specifically for working with students who need special support due to temporary or long-term/permanent disabilities. Reach out to our disabilities coordinator to get the help you need to ensure your academic success here at PUC.

College Skills Workshops

Let’s face it, whether you found your high school classes a breeze or barely muddled through to graduation, in many ways, college is harder. In order to make the cut for whatever your career goals may be, you’ll need solid tools in-hand to make it happen. That’s why the TLC offers dynamic and fun-filled seminars on study skills and time management. These workshops will teach you to capitalize on your personal passions, using the learning and organizational strengths you already possess. Email Michelle Kendrick, who oversees tutoring, at for more information.

Academic Advising

One of the biggest stressors on a college student is deciding on a major. Did you know the average college student changes their major six times between freshman year and graduation? And yet they still do graduate, and they still embark on a career. So there is hope, and the TLC, once again, is here to save the day. If you aren’t sure about what you want your major to be, don’t worry! Talk to the TLC’s academic advisor, who can offer a strengths inventory, a personality assessment, and walk you through the results to determine what kinds of jobs might be right for you. Then, they can help you figure out what classes to take and how to get started. All of this—for free*! Make an appointment with the academic advisor and start your future today.

If you have other concerns about your academic success at PUC, the TLC can help. Call (707-965-7688), email (, or stop by any time; the TLC is located between the Dining Commons and Chan Shun/Davidian Halls. Let’s talk!

*Fees may be incurred for some tests; counselors will advise you prior to taking the test whether or not it will incur a fee.

16 Questions with Floyd Hayes

Are you thinking about studying biology in college? Meet Dr. Floyd Hayes, professor of biology at PUC, and get the inside scoop to life in Clark Hall, home of PUC’s department of biology.

One of the largest departments on campus, the department of biology is home to several other exciting programs, including the Biology Club, one of the most active student-run clubs at PUC. For a behind-the-scenes look at biology at PUC, you can follow the department on Instagram at @pucbiology.