Garrhett Petrea

Seattle Pacific student Garrhett Petrea shares how an SPU education proved not only financially possible, but transformational.

Garrhett Petrea

Describe your journey to Seattle Pacific. 

I considered public and private schools, and they all landed in the same price range. But in making my final decision, I realized that the pros of SPU (small class sizes, personal relationships with professors, location in Seattle, and more) were worth it. Also, SPU does an amazing job of reducing their cost drastically for those that excel academically. As a senior in high school, I worked to earn as many outside scholarships as possible. SPU’s price became manageable, and what I got in return for hours of hard work in high school (and even during college) granted me a college experience that changed my life.

What resources have you used (scholarships, loans, work-study, off-campus job, etc.) to fund your education? 

We live in a world where money is at our fingertips. From scholarships to GoFundMe, anyone is able to project their story and be connected with donors. In my time at SPU, I used every scholarship resource I could find through the Student Financial Services website and Google.
Viewing my scholarship writing and applications as a job, I spent close to 300 hours my senior year of high school “at work.” This resulted in more than 10 external scholarships that ranged from $250 to $7,500. Put in the time, and I promise it will pay off!

What has been your experience working with Student Financial Services?

Communication. Communication. Communication. SFS are the good guys! If they were Marvel Superheroes, they would be Captain America — leading the charge. I can’t think of any less nerdy analogies right now, but you get the gist. These are the people that want to see you come to Seattle Pacific for as little money as possible. They are aware it's a lot of money to attend, and they want to help you reduce that number. So how does this happen? Call or email your advisor whenever you have a question, need advice, or if you feel like you are stuck. They will be the ones to help dig you out and show that you are not in this financial situation alone.

Has your investment at SPU been worth it?

Is SPU worth it? Absolutely! My life has been completely altered by this university — let me give an example. As a freshman, I attended a prerequisite class where I met my favorite professor and best friend, and finally answered that burning question, “What do I want to do with my life?” Going into my senior year, I studied abroad in Europe with that same professor and best friend, traveling to three different cities over nine weeks, paying half of what other study abroad programs usually cost, and building a network of people that want to help take me to the next level in my career. 

They say, “It's all about who you know,” and I would completely agree. At SPU, I have been gifted with personal relationships with faculty and staff that will be priceless to my future growth.

What is your major and what do you hope to do after graduation?

I am studying business administration with a minor in communication. After college, I hope to work in management consulting, while continuing to train the next generation of leaders at my company Generational Purpose. If you are reading this as a current or future student, please feel free to contact me via LinkedIn. I love coffee!

What advice do have you for high school students considering SPU?

Malcolm Gladwell says, “You can’t concentrate on doing anything if you are thinking, ‘What’s gonna happen if it doesn’t go right?’”

How true is that? If you are so concerned with what might go wrong, you will completely miss the moments when everything goes right. You are about to make one of the biggest investments of your entire adult life and will be so eminently happy at the end of four years. These are the days and stories that will live far beyond your life, and I cannot wait to hear them.

So to the high school students who might be intimidated by cost: Start focusing on the adventures and living a full life, because the money will find a way of working out.