I graduated from Pierce College in June 2011. I was on track to transfer to Pacific Lutheran University in fall 2012 with more than half my tuition paid for because of a viola scholarship. In the six months leading up to my debut at PLU, I had met countless times with officials at PLU detailing my path at their university, when I would graduate and what my exact classes would be. I was told that I would be receiving a bachelor’s degree in music composition in two years.
A week before my classes began, I received a strongly worded email saying I was immature and that I had missed a meeting about my path in the PLU music program. I had no recollection of setting up this meeting at all. I contacted them back apologizing and later learned the meeting was made without my knowledge and they had not contacted me to let me know about it. I was forced to reschedule this confusing meeting, of which I didn’t know the purpose of, to one week after classes began.
That same day, I was going to PLU to audition for their orchestra. I had received an email a couple weeks prior detailing how I was to come in between a set period of time and then play a piece of my choice. I got to PLU and found a signup sheet for auditions already posted on the door. No one had told me to come sign up. I was later told “Well you live on campus so you should’ve seen it in the music building.” Here’s the problem. I didn’t live on campus. I commuted 20 minutes to PLU from Puyallup every day. I was forced to come back in about four hours to an empty timeslot to perform. I ended up making the orchestra, thankfully, and I was able to relax until classes began a week later.
When classes began, I made my way to my first class situated in a classroom about the size of a broom closet. I’m fine with tiny classrooms, just as long as 40 students aren’t crammed into the same space. Turns out in this case they were. In one of my music classes, I was forced to stand along with several other students for the hour-long class because PLU didn’t have enough chairs or tables for all the students.
Now let’s be real here. This school is one of the most expensive in the entire state. With all that money from tuition they don’t have enough to provide chairs for all their students? You’ve got to be kidding me. One of the reasons I chose not to live on campus was because of the cost. The other was the people.
I like to think of myself as a nice guy, as someone easy to be friends with. My only other friend at PLU (she’s still stuck there) had an entirely different schedule than me, so I felt pretty alone. Almost everyone I came in contact with wasn’t interested in getting to know me. Groups of friends who already knew each other stayed pretty closed off.
Fast forward one miserable week and I’m told in my rescheduled meeting that I’ll be required to attend PLU no less than four years and my scholarships would cancel out in two years. I was done; I didn’t want to deal with it anymore. I withdrew immediately from PLU and decided to go to UW Tacoma. Then, the $7,000 bill came in the mail.
Since I had been at PLU for a week, I was charged part of the tuition. After attending six classes total, I was being charged more than $1,000 per class. I ended up having to send an appeal letter to their financial department begging them to get rid of the bill. Thankfully, they obliged and I was able to walk away from PLU mostly scratch free.
My story’s ending is good as I’m much happier now, but be warned: transferring to a new school can be devastating. I was fortunate that I didn’t have to pay that bill, but not everyone may be so lucky.
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