Pierce College opened in 1967 as “Albertson’s U” in Lakewood, Washington. In 1968, the institution was integrated into the Washington State Association of Community Colleges and renamed Fort Steilacoom Community College.
The new campus at Fort Steilacoom grew through additions and special facilities like a Student Center and an Olympic Building, which offered childhood education programs, music, and art.
In 1986, the institution was renamed Pierce College, and the two largest campuses were named Pierce College Fort Steilacoom and Pierce College Puyallup. The Puyallup campus grew quickly, adding more academic programs and facilities. Today, the Puyallup campus includes the Garnero Child Development Center, a College Center, a Health Education Center, an Arts and Allied Health Building, and amenities like a bookstore, café, and cafeteria.
Pierce College at Puyallup offers associate degrees, transfer degrees, certificate programs, and continuing education. Students enjoy small classes, personalized guidance from professors, and low tuition costs.
The Associate of Arts and Associate of Science degrees give students a broad foundation in the theory and application of the College’s academic disciplines. Students will learn critical thinking skills, research skills, general literacy and awareness, and hands-on training when necessary.
Direct Transfer Agreements (DTAs) make is easy for students to move from a two-year program at Puyallup straight to a four-year institution. They are specifically designed to satisfy the requirements of bachelor’s degrees at nearby universities. Students who have a particular four-year college in mind should talk with an academic advisor before registering for classes to be sure that their academic track will satisfy all of the school’s requirements.
The Running Start program lets juniors and seniors in local high schools enroll in college courses before receiving their diplomas. This gives students a chance to dually enroll in both high school and college and earn credit for both simultaneously. The student’s school district also covers up to 15 credits a semester in tuition costs.
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Conversation Partners is a community outreach program that pairs native English speakers with speakers of English as a Second Language. Anyone is welcome to sign up as either an ESL student or a native volunteer. The program is designed to encourage cultural exchange, build friendships, and help foreign or recently immigrated students get accustomed to English and local lifestyles.
Pierce College at Puyallup is an open-admissions college, which means that any student with a high school diploma or a GED is welcome to register and enroll in courses.
To begin studying at Pierce College, fill out an application form online or at the Admissions Office and submit it along with a non-refundable application fee. Students should also take the COMPASS test to get placed into classes, along with any tests required for specific departments and programs.
Students can also choose to attend Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) to get helpful advice on planning their college career. Professional counselors are happy to help students with every step of the registration process.
Pierce College at Puyallup offers financial aid to students who demonstrate need. Students should begin by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is available online at www.fafsa.gov. This form determines eligibility for federal aid in the form of grants, loans, and work-study programs. It may also be required as a supplement to third-party aid programs and scholarship applications.
Students can visit the Financial Aid Office to learn more about different programs that are available. For students eligible for the work-study program, it also offers a listing of available jobs as well as all the necessary forms. Puyallup does not offer any merit-based aid, but its counselors do have tools and resources for students who are seeking scholarships and merit-based grants.
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It’s easy to get involved in the student culture and activity life at Puyallup. There are 13 student clubs on the Puyallup campus, ranging from the Rainier Nursing Club and the Pokemon Club. Puyallup is also home to a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, which gives students a dose of Greek life, leadership, and service.
Students are also encouraged to participate in the culture and arts scene that many members of the Puyallup community enjoy. SLAM, the Student Literary Arts Magazine, is an annual anthology of student works. The magazine is maintained by an editorial board of students, faculty, and staff, and any community member is welcome to submit poetry, prose, and visual art.
Media-inclined students have the unique opportunity to get involved with the on-campus TV channel – PierceTV. PierceTV is produced by the Digital Design department of Pierce College, and features student hosts and members of the faculty and staff. Some of the segments include 3D animation, motion graphics, and computer illustration.
Students can also join one of the music groups on campus, which give performances to the community throughout the year. There is also an on-campus art gallery in the Arts and Allied Health Building that showcases student and local talent. Admission is free.
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Puyallup is a member of the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges. It offers six men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports teams, including soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball. By joining an intercollegiate team, students have the opportunity to play against schools across the district, travel to games, and develop their skills under a trained coach.
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Puyallup offers many resources for students who are struggling academically or in other areas. The library and bookstore have hundreds of books, audio-visual materials, periodicals, and pamphlets that will help students get started on their coursework. Students can also seek peer tutoring in a variety of subjects or ask for individualized help from their professors.
There are also counseling services for students who need help adjusting to college life, dealing with problems in their personal lives, and more. Career advisors are available to help students make plans for after graduation or to offer job placement advice. Counseling services are free to all students.
Finally, the Veteran Student Center offers specialized support and care for former military personnel. Through this Center, students can connect with other veterans, receive guidance on transitioning to college and civilian life, and learn about financial aid and housing programs available to them.
- Pierce College District 11 – Pierce College. Web. 02 Aug. 2011.
- Web Admissions Center. Washington State Community and Technical Colleges. Web. 2 Aug. 2011.
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