PSU Admissions Myth vs. Fact

The sheer amount of info surrounding the application process can be overwhelming, to say the least. To help you sail smoothly through the process, we have set course to debunk some of the misconceptions about admissions and student life at Portland State. Let’s drop some truth bombs.


Myth: I need to write a personal essay to apply to PSU.
Fact: PSU does not require an essay or letters of recommendation to apply. Admission is based on GPA and test scores for high school students, and college GPA for transfer students. However, students do need to write essays to apply to our University Honors College as well as some scholarships, so sharpen your pencils.

Myth: I have taken college-level courses in high school (things like Running Start, Early College, etc.). So I apply as a transfer student, right?
Fact: Regardless of how many college credits you have, if you are still enrolled in high school and have not yet graduated when you apply to PSU, you will be considered a freshman applicant. You will only be required to follow Freshman admission requirements, and the college-level credits will be transferred to PSU should you be admitted.

Myth: PSU will only accept test scores sent directly from SAT or ACT.
Fact:
We understand that officially submitting scores can be costly and time-sensitive. As a result, PSU does not require test scores to be submitted through the organizations who proctor the test. All we need is for the test scores to be reported as part of your high school transcript. Talk to your guidance counselor if this is something you would like to do, and relax, we have it covered.

Myth: PSU does not allow students to take a gap year.
Fact:
Exciting news! We have recently developed a policy for gap year students! This new policy allows eligible students to defer their admission for one year. Check out the eligibility requirements to participate in this new program.

Myth: It is always less expensive for a student to first attend community college and then transfer to a four-year university.
Fact: 
It depends. Research shows that students who start at a four year school are more likely to graduate in four years, but that’s not always the best option for people. Our admissions counselors are here to work with you to determine the best route for you whether that means starting at a community college or coming to straight to PSU from high school. PSU understands the transfer student experience. In fact, 58% of our student populatation transfered here. 

Myth: Incoming freshmen are required to live on campus at PSU.
Fact:
Campus housing at PSU is always optional.  41% of incoming freshmen and 51% of students from other states choose to live on campus. Most of our international students also live on campus. Living on campus for your first year is highly encouraged, and is guaranteed for any student who applies before May 1st. We are pretty proud of our Residence Life program here at PSU. In fact, students who participate in our Living Learning communities typically have GPAs a whole point higher by sophomore year. Many of our students choose to live at home or off-campus. We are happy to work with you to find the best housing option for your situation. 

Myth:  Freshman courses at large public universities usually have over 100 students.
Fact:
The average class size at PSU is only 35! It’s the relationships that form in the classes that really matter. At PSU, you’re not just a number. With the small class size, along with a student to faculty ratio of just 20:1, means that you can get important personalized attention from professors who care about your success.

Myth: PSU doesn’t have the campus life other large public universities have and is only a commuter school.
Fact: We’ve got a lot going on at PSU and the Viking Pride is strong! We have more than 200 student clubs, 15 NCAA Division 1 sports teams, club sports teams, 10 Cultural Resource and Resource Centers, Greek Life, a student newspaper, a student run radio station and movie theater and so much more. We guarantee that every student will find something to be passionate about on campus. Go Viks!


We hope that demystifies at least some of the questions you may have about applying to Portland State University, but if we missed anything feel free to reach out to your PSU Admissions Counselor and they will get back to you pronto!

LGBTQ+ Advocate Fosters Community and Inclusivity at PSU

Eli Hess

Being exposed to diverse perspectives and experiences is an important part of college. And students play a key role in cultivating this environment. 

Eli Hess is one of these students. A liberal studies major who graduated in 2014 from Portland State, they returned as a postbaccalaureate (seeking a second bachelor’s degree). Now they’re taking classes toward a degree in social work.

As a queer and non-binary person, Eli always had advocacy on their mind. “Social justice is a big part of my world. That started to fall into place once I got involved again at PSU, with  Illuminate and the Queer Resource Center.”

With the help of students like Eli and the thriving LGBTQ+ community in Portland, PSU is consistently ranked among the top 30 LGBTQ+ friendly colleges in the nation by College Choice and Campus Pride. This welcoming environment is what made Eli initially interested in PSU. It’s proximity to downtown and extensive programs were a bonus.

Growing up in Portland, Eli went to small magnet schools specializing in art. They graduated from high school a year early and had plans to take a gap year before going to college. “I got anxious about taking time away from school and applied to PSU. I liked the idea of going to a large college that’s integrated with what’s happening downtown. I would have access to a broad range of topics and ideas.”

They took classes in many areas, from music to Spanish to queer studies. PSU’s gender, sexuality and queer studies major didn’t exist at the time. But that didn’t stop Eli—they majored in liberal studies, which allowed them the flexibility to take various sexuality and queer studies classes.

A few years after graduating, Eli got a hankering to go back to college. They returned to PSU to take writing classes while volunteering at Call to Safety, a domestic and sexual violence crisis line serving the Portland area. 

Eli started looking for opportunities to advocate for students on campus. They began working as a Peer Educator for Illuminate, a program through PSU’s Center for Health and Counseling (SHAC). It sheds light on the social injustices that lead to sexual and relationship violence and creates social change through prevention programming. 


Eli (front) wearing denim at PSU’s Denim Day event.

Illuminate holds events on campus, like Denim Day, a campaign that asks students, faculty and staff to wear denim to spread awareness about sexual violence. 

The program also hosts workshops on topics like bystander intervention, anti-oppression and consent. “We even meet with the athletic teams twice per year. We tailor workshops to specifically reflect how sports culture functions within our larger social structure. It’s discussion-based, giving athletes the opportunity to talk about their narratives and listen to their peers,” says Eli.

Then, Eli had that lightbulb moment. “I thought to myself, ‘oh, social work. This is what I want to do.’ Social work has always been in the back of my mind since my dad got his Master of Social Work from Portland State.”

Eli is now working on their bachelor’s in social work. They hope to earn their master’s in one year through the advanced standing option.

“I trust PSU specifically for social work. It’s one of the few social work programs in the state and it’s consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation,” says Eli.

Eli’s advocacy on campus continued to grow. While working for Illuminate, Eli made connections with people in the Queer Resource Center (QRC), a resource for LGBTQ+ students that provides community spaces, hosts events and offers academic and personal support. They worked in a desk staff position for two terms before becoming the Trans Student Resource and Retention Coordinator.

“I’m working exclusively with trans students,” says Eli. “The position provides these students with the resources they need in order to thrive here. I’m a part of a team creating space for queer and trans folks to feel safe and recognized. It’s important to foster a community where they’re seen and not just reduced to one part of their identity.”

Students visiting the QRC will find a comfortable lounge area, computer workstations with free printing and an LGBTQ+ lending library, which features clearly marked sections for authors who are trans, POC and more. Students can mingle with their peers or talk with confidential advocates. The QRC hosts events throughout the year, from campuswide pride celebrations to small LGBTQ+ movie nights. See list of events

“I really like working in education, especially from a student affairs perspective. It’s important to promote social justice in education. We must create ways for students who wouldn’t take a gender and sexuality class to learn about biases and intersectionality.”

Eli’s long-term goal is to continue working in higher education. They’re considering transitioning into the academic side after earning a doctorate.

Eli recognizes that part of social justice is reevaluating and continuing to educate oneself. “Education and community are the roots of social change. Learning is my thing. I view my community and my relationships as educational as well. We can learn so much from each other.”

See how you can get involved with the QRC or Illuminate.


Eli (far left) speaking on a panel at Sex and Chocolate, an event hosted by Illuminate that explores sexual health topics and provides lots of free chocolate.

Inside PSU’s Judaic Studies Program

Judaic Studies students studying talking in the Park Blocks

Portland State offers a unique Judaic Studies program, where students learn Jewish history and Hebrew. All students, whether or not they’re Jewish, can pursue a degree in Judaic Studies. The program provides important insight into how this rich history has shaped cultures across the world.

The Judaic Studies program is interdisciplinary—classes cross into other departments, including history, English, film and world languages and literatures.

There are also many opportunities to study abroad in Israel. Students can see historically significant sites firsthand and learn while being immersed in Jewish culture. Thousands of dollars of scholarship funds are available to students interested in studying abroad in Israel.

Students in the Judaic Studies program develop excellent critical thinking and communication skills. They leave the program prepared to enter diverse fields, like non-profit management, social justice, grant writing and law. Many students also go into graduate programs, Jewish educational institutions and rabbinical studies.

Degree Options

PSU offers both an undergraduate major and minor in Judaic Studies. Students majoring in Judaic Studies have the opportunity to choose an area of concentration, including Israel studies, modern Jewish history and more. Students minoring in Judaic Studies complete at least 28 credits of Judaic Studies coursework. Since many of the classes are cross-listed with the history department, a minor in Judaic Studies is a great fit for students majoring in history.

Scholarships

Students in the Judaic Studies program have access to six dedicated scholarships, many of which are awarded to multiple students each year. The major scholarship application deadline is February 1.

Available to Judaic Studies majors:
  • Harold Schnitzer Family Scholarship: a $5,000 annual award for up to four years available to incoming students. Applications for this scholarship are accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Lorry I. Lokey Endowed Fund for Israel Scholarship: an award of between $1,000 and $5,000 to support students studying abroad in Israel.
  • Shleifer Scholarship: a $5,000 annual award of tuition support.
Available to both majors and minors:
  • Sara Glasgow Cogan Memorial Scholarship and Internship: an award that covers six credits of tuition to support students interning at a local Jewish communal or cultural organization, like the Oregon Jewish Museum or the Center for Holocaust Education.
  • Abigail Jacobs-Kaufman Scholarship: a $500 to $1,000 award for students with demonstrated financial need to cover tuition.
  • Aspen Mitzvah Fund Scholarship: a $1,000 renewable scholarship for students completing their second- and third-year modern Hebrew sequences.

Get Involved

The Jewish Student Union and CHAI (the Cultural & Historical Association for Israel) provide cultural and educational resources for Jewish students and the larger community.

The Judaic Studies department has a comfortable, community space for students and student groups to gather. The program has a strong relationship with the local Jewish community and hosts fascinating lectures and events throughout the year.

See how you can join PSU’s Judaic Studies program.

Meet Nam Le

PSU student Nam Le standing with bike

Nam Le is a PSU student working toward his bachelor’s in business, with a concentration in marketing. Nam is originally from Saigon, Vietnam. He came to Portland State as a freshman student. Here’s his story:

“I first found out about PSU by signing up for a campus tour with my high school. At first, I didn’t know anything about PSU, and I wasn’t considering applying here. But then I learned about PSU’s history and amazing programs. I was attracted to the business program because I learned about how PSU alumni Carolyn Davidson invented the Nike swoosh. I finally made the decision to go into PSU’s business program because it’s the best in Oregon. As a first-generation college student, and someone who is new to American culture, it was important for me to choose a college that has everything a student like me needs, including affordable tuition and a great location in downtown Portland.

I’ve already learned a lot. My favorite classes have been Professional Selling and Business Communication. I learned how to write professional emails and communicate effectively within a team.

I got a lot of support from my professors. Dean Erica Wagner was not as strict and hard on us students as I expected. She was actually really caring and became like a second mother. Professor Daniel Wong was also a mentor to me. He’s a great role model for first-generation college students.

I love all the food places around campus. Phat Cart has the best orange chicken bento, and there are lots of Thai places with delicious Pad Thai. I decompress by getting food from the food carts and reading in the rooftop terraces around the Urban Center. When I want to study, I go to the International Lounge, which is part of the International Student Services.

I lived in campus housing for my first three years so I could be close to the unique community on PSU’s campus. Living on campus helped me grow my connections and adapt to American culture. It also gave me easy access to unlimited on-campus events.

Through all the challenges, I’ve been developing into the person I strove to become. My plan after graduation is to work in the sales and marketing field in Portland. I have one piece of advice for students applying for college: College is an investment. Invest in yourself.”

See if PSU’s business program is right for you.

PSU Community Celebrates Pride

Pride Flag

June is Pride month in Portland and around the world. The community is coming together to celebrate LGBTQ+ representation and continue the fight for equality.

2019 is an especially important year to share your Pride or stand up as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community—it marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, a pivotal moment in the LGBTQ+ rights movement in America.

Portland State takes its responsibility to support LGBTQ+ students seriously. PSU is consistently ranked among the top 30 LGBTQ+ friendly colleges, earning it a five-star rating in the Campus Pride Index. The PSU community celebrates Pride on campus in May, leading up to the larger celebration happening all around the Rose City in June.

This is the first year PSU students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends are gathering together to walk in the Portland Pride Parade, an event which invites people across the LGBTQ+ spectrum and allies to come together to promote visibility, equality and inclusivity. Although tickets to walk with PSU are sold out, you can still cheer them on in the parade. The PSU Alumni Association and Queer Resource Center also host a pre-Pride happy hour on Thursday, June 13, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Rogue Hall. People registered to walk and others in the PSU community are invited to meet and get to know each other before the parade.

The Portland Pride Parade kicks off Saturday, June 15 with a Pride festival along Portland’s Waterfront Park. There will be booths displaying LGBTQ+ community organizations and businesses. Live music and drag performances will happen throughout the weekend. And of course, there will also be lots of delicious food. The parade begins Sunday, June 16 in the North Park Blocks, just a few blocks away from PSU’s campus. PSU registered marchers will gather and begin the mile-long parade route with around 8,000 other people. They will make their way past approximately 45,000 celebrating spectators, ending in the Waterfront Park. Portlanders turn up in droves, making it the second largest parade in Portland.

This is just one of the small ways the PSU community shows support for the LGBTQ+ folks around Portland. PSU students can utilize the Queer Resource Center, which offers LGBTQ+ resources and programming. The QRC hosts many Pride events throughout the academic year, like Pride Splash Mobs in the Campus Rec pool. The PSU Alumni Association has an LGBTQ Alumni Network for those who want to stay connected after graduation.

Here’s just a small sampling of the many Pride events happening around Portland:

  • OUTwright Theatre Festival: Thursday, June 13 through Sunday, June 30. Attend plays and readings that show how art can comment on and change society.
  • Big Gay Boat Ride: Sunday, June 16. Hop on a boat to cruise the Willamette and watch drag performances by local queens.
  • Queer Oregon: Looking Back, Moving Forward: Thursday, June 20. Commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stonewall as you listen to a panel reflect on the issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

Check out more Pride events!

Returning Student’s Winding Journey to PSU

Bridie Cawthorne

When most people picture the typical college student, they think of someone fresh out of high school, living in a dorm and working a part-time job. But for many students, the journey to earning a college degree isn’t that straightforward. Sometimes, the path takes many years, and it’s never too late to go to college.

For Bridie Cawthorne, her path to earning her degree was complex. Now 38 years old, she’s about to graduate from PSU with her bachelor’s degree in biology, with a focus in molecular and cellular biology. And what’s next for Bridie? She plans on earning her Ph.D. and doing industry research.

Becoming a doctor was not her plan right out of high school. In fact, Bridie never graduated from high school. “Studying was hard for me. I was a terrible student when I was young.”

Bridie was born and raised in Portland, but she ended up moving a few times and working odd jobs. After volunteering for a veterinary hospital, she landed a job at an emergency veterinary clinic. She finally moved back to Portland and continued working as a veterinary technician.

“I spent 15 years doing that,” says Bridie, “and I felt like I had hit my glass ceiling. I was burnt out. I loved that job, but I couldn’t emotionally handle caring for sick animals anymore.”

A friend of Bridie’s was thinking about going back to school, and she encouraged her to do the same.

“I struggled like many other older students with the decision to go to college, especially because I didn’t graduate from high school. Not graduating is a hurdle many people think they can’t overcome and go back to school. Anyone can do it, and it’s totally worth it!”

It’s a common misconception that students need to have a high school diploma or GED to get into a four-year college. PSU has a few options for students with non-standard high school backgrounds, including enrolling as a non-degree student or transferring from a community college.

Bridie started taking classes at Portland Community College. She originally went back to school for nursing. That changed when she took a cell biology class.

“That class made me feel like things made sense. My professor’s lectures were amazing, and I felt supported in my learning process.”

She began doing research in the lab through BUILD EXITO, an undergraduate research training program that supports students on their pathway to become scientific researchers. Students at PSU and partnering community colleges and universities, like Portland Community College, get hands-on research experience at every stage of their undergraduate education. Students are matched with faculty advisors and peer mentors, participate in enrichment workshops and receive financial benefits, including monthly stipends and/or tuition remission. The goal of the program is to attract more diverse people into the biomedical and social sciences.

Through BUILD EXITO, Bridie was paired with faculty advisors who teach at Portland State, Dr. Mike Bartlett and  Dr. Jeff Singer. “Without their help and the support from BUILD EXITO, I wouldn’t have made it into the lab. I got so much guidance.”

When Bridie started college, she was afraid she’d still be a terrible student. But she excelled  and made it on the Dean’s List, an award that recognizes academic achievement. She earned her Associate of Science in two years at Portland Community College.

Transferring to Portland State was the perfect next step because she could continue with the BUILD EXITO program and keep working with her advisors. “All my professors and advisors have made themselves available, which helped shape my academic experience at PSU. They helped me get jobs and figure out what classes would be a good fit for me. Every student at PSU should take advantage of the faculty and staff who are there to help them succeed.”

Bridie does “wet lab” bench work in the molecular/cellular lab, which includes cloning and maintaining cell cultures, among other tasks. The research looks at proteins that play a role in regulating the cell cycle.

Because of all her hands-on lab experience, she knew working in a lab was the career she wanted. “PSU helped open doors for me. Getting to work in a real lab added so much value to my education. I took what I learned in my classes and was able to apply them to a lab environment,” says Bridie.

In her senior year, Bridie served as a classroom learning assistant. A few classes a term, she facilitated discussion in Principles of Biology, 200-level general biology classes. She helped students understand how to interpret peer-reviewed research.

At the end of 2018, Bridie went to the American Society of Cell Biology conference, which was held in San Diego. BUILD EXITO covered her travel funds. At the conference, Bridie presented a poster, showing professionals in the scientific community her research.

She faced some personal hardships along her path. “I had two miscarriages while I was a student. I was struggling with grief,” says Bridie. “I saw a therapist through SHAC. There can be a lot of stigmas associated with miscarriages, but I was able to get the help I needed.” Students taking more than five credits pay a Student Health fee, which covers most services through PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC).

Bridie has a little more winding path to travel—she’s currently six months pregnant with her first child. After graduating from PSU, Bridie plans on taking a year off to focus on her husband and baby. Then, she hopes to get a Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at OHSU.

“When I first started taking college classes, I was self-conscious because I was the oldest person in the classroom. But I realized it doesn’t matter what age you are when you go to school. I was welcomed by a diverse group of students at Portland State. I feel supported here.”

See if PSU’s biology program is the right fit for your journey.

Bridie working in the molecular/cellular lab.

Summer Job-Finding Tips for Students

Student looks for summer job

It’s officially summer in Portland. Residents of the Rose City are trading their raincoats for shorts and swimsuits. It’s the perfect time to enjoy all that Oregon’s outdoors have to offer, including hiking the Gorge, attending music festivals and hosting backyard barbecues.

Summer is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable experience at a job or internship. You can build new skills, expand your career network and add to your resume. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your summer.

Figure Out Your Goals

Knowing your goals before you start the job hunt will help you save time and get the most out of your work experience. Do you need to earn extra money? Want to develop a specific skill? Hope to explore a career you have interest in? You should use this information to prioritize what jobs you apply for. Don’t waste your time applying for jobs you know aren’t a good fit.

Don’t be afraid to ask professionals in your field for an informational interview. On top of building your network, these interviews can help you see if that industry or career path is what you want to do after graduating.

Use PSU Career Services

To start your search, visit Career Services, a resource that helps PSU students and alumni achieve their career goals. Check out Handshake, PSU’s database of job postings and internships. Career Services also hosts career workshops and fairs throughout the year. This is your go-to place to get help with your resume, cover letters and more.

Spread the Word

Connect with friends, family and professors about your job search and explain what you’re looking for. Ask for their advice and see if they can put you in touch people in your desired industry. Other students are also a great resource, since they may know who is hiring both on and off campus.

Be Prepared

Research the employers you’re interested in and the people who work there. This can easily be done with a quick Google or LinkedIn search—you may learn you already have connections! Incorporate relevant information from the job posting and your research into your resume and cover letter. Show them why you’re the perfect fit for their company.

Should you be granted an interview, be prepared to answer questions about your skills and why you’re interested in that particular position. Ask a mentor or friend to do a mock interview, so you can practice your answers and get used to the interview environment. Try to make it as close to the real thing as possible.

When you go to the interview, make sure you arrive early, turn off your cell phone and show enthusiasm for the position. Get the names of your interviewers. Follow-up the interview with a thank you note—this little touch can help you make a memorable impression. Pro tip: Bring a thank you card with you to the interview and fill it out before you leave the office.

In a competitive job market, a career-related summer job or internship can make the difference in obtaining a full-time position. It is also a great way to make contacts and show employers your interest in their field after graduation.

Take Summer Classes

We know, taking classes is often the last thing students want to do over the summer, but the PSU Summer Session is the perfect opportunity to launch your career after you graduate. PSU offers over 1,300 online and on-campus summer courses ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Taking classes over the summer can help you explore new subjects, learn about your desired field and graduate sooner.

So while you’re enjoying Oregon’s beautiful summer weather, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success in your future career!

Already thinking ahead to when you return to school? Check out our blog about why you should get an on-campus job.

Upcoming Events: June 2019

Upcoming Events June 2019

The school year is coming to a close at Portland State, which means we’re celebrating all our graduating students. Across campus, PSU students are welcoming summer with inspiring film, music and theater performances throughout the start of the month. Take advantage of these events before campus winds down. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.

Archeology Roadshow

Saturday, June 1 | 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. | Walk of the Heroines, by Hoffman Hall
Join the anthropology department for a celebration of the region and Oregon’s heritage. Explore the archaeology of daily life with 40 exhibits and hands-on activities organized by PSU students, faculty, alumni and dozens of community partners. This event is free and open to the public. See more information about the activities.

Global Rhythms VIII

Saturday, June 1-Sunday, June 2 | various showings | Lincoln Performance Hall
People love to sing, and they love to sing together—this has been true in every culture since the dawn of humankind. In Global Rhythms PDX, the choir is a vehicle to explore the widest possible range of sounds and styles for the human voice. Tickets are $15 for the general public and $7 for students from any school. Purchase tickets online.

New Play Festival

Saturday, June 1-Sunday, June 2 | various showings | Boiler Room Studio
This is the final week of the School of Music and Theater’s showcase of new dramatic works, which are written, performed and directed by PSU students! Tickets range from $6 to $15 and can be purchased online.

PSU Vocal Collective with Nancy King

Monday, June 3 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall
Portland’s beloved jazz singer Nancy King joins the PSU Vocal Collective for their final concert of the year. The PSU Vocal Collective is a 14-voice ensemble and rhythm section, presenting unique arrangements of jazz and other contemporary music styles. The concert will also feature selections by the Advanced Vocal Combo. Tickets are $10 for general admission, $5 for seniors and students and free for PSU students. Get tickets online.

Senior Send-off

Tuesday, June 4 | 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. | Park Blocks in front of the Simon Benson House
Come celebrate the Class of 2019 with FREE PIZZA. The first 200 graduating seniors will receive a special gift from the PSU Alumni Association. There will also be a decorating station with supplies for students to decorate their grad caps for the 2019 grad cap contest. All students are welcome to attend. Learn more.

Kyogen! Dance! Drums!

Tuesday, June 4 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall
At this event, PSU students and Japanese guest actor Shingeyama Ippei will perform five short comic kyôgen plays. One of the plays is the first staging of an original play written by a PSU undergraduate. All are hilarious farces, which are full of surprises, hyperbole and physical slapstick. The PSU Taiko Ensemble joins the show for rousing, up-tempo drumming. Tickets range from $5 to $12. Learn more and purchase tickets.

Noon Concert Series

Every Thursday | 12:00-1:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall
This weekly concert series is hosted by the PSU School of Music. At these events, students, faculty and guest artists will perform various instruments and music genres. The concerts are always free and open to the public. View their performance calendar.

Chuck It for Charity

Thursday, June 6-Sunday, June 15 | 5:00 p.m. | various location on PSU campus
Each spring, students moving out of residence halls dispose of many usable items. Instead of sending them to the landfill, students have the opportunity to donate them to charity! Collection bins in select residence halls will be available for non-perishable food, clothing, home goods and other items. Donated items will be redistributed on campus via Pop-Up Swaps, through the PSU Reuse Room, and to local charities. Learn more.

School of Film Spring Showcase

Friday, June 7 | 3:30 p.m. | Lincoln Hall
This showcase features the work of students graduating from PSU’s School of Film. The event includes a portfolio show, followed by a reception, student showcase and award presentation. The student showcase features a faculty-curated selection of student work produced during the academic year. This event is free and open to the public. Learn more.

Honor Day Graduation Celebration

Friday, June 7 | 5:00-8:30 p.m. | Native American Student and Community Center
This is an annual commencement ceremony where the Native American Student and Community Center recognizes graduating PSU Native American, Alaskan Native and Pacific Islander students. Learn more.

Family Friendly Commencement

Saturday, June 8 | 1:30-5:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union
The Resource Center for Students with Children hosts this free event to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have triumphed in pursuing their degree at PSU while raising children. Children are invited to join their parents and cross the stage to receive a family diploma. In addition to the ceremony, the event will start with a family bash including a bouncy house, games, arts and crafts, refreshments and more. Learn more.

Free Food Market

Monday, June 10 | 12:00 p.m. | Park Blocks in front of Shattuck Hall
Every second Monday of the month, the Free Food Market provides fresh fruits, vegetables and other food items to PSU students and the greater community. This partnership between the Committee for Improving Student Food Security and the Oregon Food Bank is an effort to increase student access to healthy food options and to reduce food insecurity. This event is free and open to the public. Here’s how it works.

Lavender Graduation

Wednesday, June 12 | 6:00-8:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union
The Queer Resource Center hosts this event to honor the graduates of their community in an intimate setting. The ceremony includes dinner and acknowledgements of each participating graduate. This event will include a catered dinner, ceremony and reception to follow. All Gender Restrooms are available onsite. Learn more and register to attend.

Multicultural Graduation

Friday, June 14 | 6:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union
This is an annual Cultural Resource Centers ceremony that honors diversity and celebrates cultural traditions by creating a student-centered inclusive space to celebrate the graduation of multicultural students. The ceremony includes student speakers, a keynote speaker and a post-ceremony dessert mixer. Learn more.

Commencement Ceremonies

Friday, June 14-Sunday, June 16 | various times | Viking Pavilion and Moda Center
PSU students will gather together to celebrate the culmination of their hard work. Decked out in regalia, students will walk across the stage to be conferred their degrees. Graduates are encouraged to invite family and friends, but they must reserve tickets. The different colleges at PSU have dedicated ceremonies throughout the weekend at either the Viking Pavilion or Moda Center. See ceremony schedule.

Many departments and programs at Portland State hold their own events to celebrate students and their communities. See the full calendar of these graduation celebrations.

Meet Sebastian Suarez Hode

Sebastian Suarez Hode

Sebastian is a junior in PSU’s School of Film. He came to PSU as an IB international student from Mozambique. Here’s what he has to say about his journey to becoming a student at PSU:

“Choosing where to go to college can be extremely daunting. For us international students, having to do it from thousands of miles away can make the entire process much more stressful. When my time came to apply to colleges, I considered all options: big city or small town, large university or small college. When I found Portland State University online, it seemed like that perfect balance of what I wanted for my college experience. Situated in the middle of downtown Portland and surrounded by luscious forests, PSU offers the best of both worlds.

When considering Portland State, whatever questions I had about the campus, city or academics were answered quickly. PSU admissions staff and the Film department were always available to answer my questions in a personalized manner. Unlike the other universities I was considering, my correspondence with PSU actually gave me a good idea of what my college experience was going to be like. Even before I was admitted, I felt valued at Portland State.

Today, I am almost halfway done with my undergraduate degree. I feel settled into a diverse community of international and domestic students alike. My classes at PSU have felt like progress towards a career in the film industry. I am learning useful skills for film production and theoretical writing, as well as developing a strong personal style, which I’m conveying through my portfolio of film and video work.

Living in Portland is a breeze! Portlanders on and off campus are welcoming to everyone, and they always share a smile. Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city is as easy as a 10 minute train ride, where I can unwind in vast urban parks. Food carts and restaurants, with all types of cuisines, are situated all over the city.There is never a shortage of things to do in Portland!”

Plan a Visit to the PSU Writing Center

Writing is something all college students will have to do for most of their classes. That’s why PSU has a Writing Center, which is designed to help students at any writing level, and at any stage in the writing process.

How do you know if you should go to the Writing Center? Well, everyone should go! Whether you’re struggling with grammar, don’t know how to write a particular assignment for a class or want feedback on a scholarship essay, the Writing Center can help.

One unique thing about PSU’s Writing Center is that all consultants have earned or are working toward their Master’s in Writing or English, and many also teach writing classes. There’s even an ESL specialist and dedicated graduate student drop-in hours.

Here’s what you should do to get the most out of your visit.

Step 1: Decide what you want to get out of your session.

When you go into your session, your consultant will ask you what you want to get out of it and will tailor their feedback accordingly. Make sure you have a few specific questions or issues in mind.

Have a tricky essay assignment and don’t know where to start? They can help you brainstorm and write an outline. Finished your paper but think you didn’t use commas correctly? Let your consultant know, and they can point out recurring issues and show you how to fix them.

Step 2: Schedule an appointment or visit drop-in hours.

The best way to meet with a consultant is to schedule an appointment online. Appointments can be either a half-hour or an hour long.

If scheduling an appointment won’t work for you, stop in during drop-in hours. Remember to show up early to sign in because drop-in hours fill up fast. The Writing Center (located in 188 Cramer Hall) holds drop-in hours Monday through Friday from 12 to 2 pm.

You can also stop by the Writing Center Outpost on the second floor of the PSU Library. Outpost hours are from 9 am to 12 pm.

Step 3: Come prepared.

Print out two copies of your paper, so both you and your consultant can easily read it. Make sure to also bring in your assignment sheet. Time is limited, so if your paper is long, have a couple of sections you want to focus on, in addition to some specific questions.

Step 4: Become a better writer!

Remember that Writing Center consultants will not “fix” your paper for you. They won’t copy edit your writing, but will point out things you can improve and give you the tools and advice to do it yourself. This means you shouldn’t bring in an assignment an hour before it’s due—you won’t have enough time to work on it before turning it in.

Once you leave your session, revise your work! Consultants even suggest you bring in the same assignment multiple times throughout the writing process. That way, you can really see your growth.

No matter your skill level, it can be helpful to get feedback on your writing, especially if it is from someone experienced.

Don’t hesitate to visit the Writing Center!

Learn more and schedule an appointment.