Road Trip: "Aha! Moment" at the University of Puget Sound

On my recent road trip through Washington and Oregon, the University of Puget Sound was one of three schools visited that are identified as Colleges That Change Lives (CTCL) — a rarified group of forty schools anointed by Loren Pope in his book of the same name as small liberal arts schools “that won’t let you hide from the potential of yourself.” Which leads to my Aha! Moment; University of Puget Sound has two unique programs that, if combined, would offer a unique and enriching experience for a student interested in international business (not what you might expect at a small liberal arts school).

Part One is the Business Leadership Program to which twenty-five freshmen business school students are admitted each year.  The fact that a small liberal arts school has a business school is in itself unique. The program is a four year curriculum of sequential courses, which emphasize experiential learning.  The business school itself requires an internship as part of the graduation requirements.

Part Two is a remarkable the Pacific Rim Program — nine months of study abroad in eight Asian countries.  The program is offered every three years, next trip is 2017-18 with applications with due in the Spring of 2016. There are perquisite courses for the program as well, so this is not something to be taken lightly or spur of the moment.

It would be logistically tricky to combine these two programs, taking some working out with the university and possibly a 5th year. But I’m confident that if a student is committed to the experience it can happen. The University of Puget Sound would live up to its classification as a College That Changes Lives for a student choosing the combination. 

Also of note is the university’s nine-day long orientation program.  The program is broken into three segments: 

  • Prelude mock classes;
  • Perspectives exploring Tacoma (a day of volunteering and a day on 6th avenue);
  • Passages outdoor activities.

I must say, that I am not familiar with any other school that has such an extensive program to ensure students are comfortable and ready to go when college starts. 

The day I visited the university happened to be “Decision Day” when admitted students visit and university admissions offices are out in force selling their school to the students and parents; typically a day when non-student/parent visitors are not graciously welcomed. The University of Puget Sound was an exception -- both welcoming and helpful.

Consider the University of Puget Sound if you are looking for a small liberal arts school yet would take advantage of their unique business and Pacific Rim study abroad experiences.