Surprise in the Unexpected

Sometimes a plan comes together in the shadow of uncertainty. For Hayley Pritchard, a first year School Health Education major from Nevada City, California, the decision to pursue college was never so clear. “College wasn’t really on my radar.”

It wasn’t until she visited Portland and learned that PSU had a degree that interested her, that college became a possibility in her mind. “I’ve been interested in health education ever since I started volunteering with health organizations in the seventh grade, so I was thrilled to learn that PSU had a School Health Education degree.”

Hayley is wasting no time in making her mark on campus. She is going to be an RA next year, and she sees a lot of potential to use what she is learning in her classes to help incoming students.

“What I’m learning in my Stress Management (PHE 275) and Community Health (PHE 446) classes I can apply to working with students living on my residence floor and help get them through their first year.”

Transitioning from living at home to living on campus in a big city can be a big change for some, but Hayley sees living in the heart of Portland to be an amazing chance to explore. “I love how connected all the student housing is with the city. It really allows you to explore and go everywhere. It’s unrestrictive.”

Hayley is exploring all that the city has to offer. “I feel like I’ve been all over Portland this year, tasting all the amazing food and experiencing all the amazing culture the city has to offer. I even found a place I can go blues dancing, a passion of mine.”

Getting around Portland from PSU is easy since the Max (light rail), streetcar, bus and BIKETOWN (bike share) all have a presence on campus. “You can even walk to most places you want to go.”

Don’t think that living downtown means you’ll be living in cramped spaces. PSU has a wide range of on-campus housing options, all of which, from the modern residence halls to the historic ones, include everything students need to thrive in their first year.

“Living in the dorms really helps create a community, too. You’ll get to meet a really diverse set of people.”

Hayley’s advice to students coming to campus this fall? “Make sure you are proactive. Not just in school, but to yourself as well. Make sure you take care of yourself and do what makes you comfortable. Surround yourself with everything you need to be successful, it makes all the difference.”

Learn more about Housing at PSU and sign-up to take a Housing tour!

International Baccalaureate Credits Give Students a Jump Start

If you’re an student applying to PSU and want to get ahead, International Baccalaureate (IB) credits are one of the best ways to go.

IB Credits

Earned by completing IB classes and passing end-of-year exams during high school, IB credits are equivalent to university credit at many universities, including PSU. That means that the credit you earn during high school can take the place of actual classes in university.

IB courses are ideal for students who want university-level coursework and preparation during high school, and are available at many secondary schools around the world.


PSU offers a range of benefits for students applying with IB credit. Any student who applies to PSU with an IB diploma (IBDP) with a score of 30 or higher will be guaranteed:

  • One full year of equivalent university credit at PSU. This means you will enter PSU with sophomore class standing AND 45 university  credits.
  • A merit-based scholarship.
  • An automatic waiver from PSU’s English proficiency requirements. You WILL NOT need to take the TOEFL or IELTS test to demonstrate English proficiency.

Save Time and Money

Beyond the immediate benefits of applying with IB credit, students who enter their first year at PSU with university coursework already completed tend to have more free time to study other disciplines they may be interested in.

Plus, having classes already completed means spending less money and time toward completion of your degree. IB credits = money saved.

See which PSU classes you can check off your list using IB credit and learn about all the ways you can earn university  credit before you even arrive on campus.

Submit your IB Transcripts to PSU today!

Excellence is the Norm

At what point does a chance encounter become more than just coincidence? For Frances Hanna, a junior International Studies Major from Indiana, Pennsylvania, her road to PSU seems almost fated. “I randomly visited Portland with my mom for fun and my mom recommended that I apply because she thought it would be a good fit.”

Good call, mom.

Frances found an amazing community at PSU, all of who supported her interest. “From day one I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to learn about ethical textile production in Southeast Asia. So I became an International Studies major focused on East Asia with a minor in Mandarin.”

To help her get the most of her studies, Frances’ admissions counselor encouraged her to apply to PSU’s Honors College. “They connected me with the Director of Honors at the time and Brianna Avery, the Honors Advisor.”

That choice to pursue honors has paid off in dividends. “Honors gave me scholarships that allowed me to afford PSU as an out of state student.”

Frances’ Honors College experience has allowed her phenomenal opportunities as an undergraduate, all of which will help her land a rewarding career after she graduates. “My connections with honors have helped me develop a greater understanding of the manufacturing industry in Southeast Asia by allowing me to study abroad in China through scholarships.”

“I was able to improve my mandarin in Shanghai and am now applying for an internship in Shanghai for this fall.”

Her goals after PSU? “I’d like to work for an American company that is focused on ethical production.” Her professors in the Honors College are helping her make that goal a reality by providing encouragement and support at every turn.

“I think every Honors professor I’ve ever had has written me a recommendation letter for something.”

Frances’ experience is not abnormal. The staff and faculty at PSU are passionate about helping students succeed and are excited to assist students who are seeking out internships and other professional opportunities.

But of course, you have to ask first. “Don’t be afraid to ask questions and reach out,” Frances urges. “The staff and faculty are incredibly excited about the PSU mission and everyone cares.”

So, go ahead, get in contact with a professor who shares your interests. At the PSU Honors College, the only urban-focused Honors program in the country, the international faculty bring a worldly perspective, engaging with students on a personal level and helping them pursue their career goals. At Honors at PSU, the city Portland acts as the culturally rich backdrop for an unmatched education leading to unparalleled opportunity.

Accepted to the Honors College at PSU? Confirm your enrollment today!

A Wealth of Experience

There’s something to be said about seamlessness. Apart, peanut butter and jelly are good, but when blended together they create one of the greatest culinary inventions of all time. And while we are no means comparing ourselves to the heaven that is PB&J, we think that PSU does seamlessness pretty well too.

The interaction between the city of Portland and campus is one of the things that draws students from all over the country to PSU. It certainly was a factor when Abby Williams, a Marketing and Advertising major in the School of Business and Honors College student, was choosing schools to apply to. She loved that, “You can’t tell where Portland starts and campus ends.”

PSU’s urban geography enables students to experience a multitude of cultural, professional and academic environments. “The opportunities at other schools in the Pacific Northwest don’t compare with those at PSU.”

And Abby would know. She is a first-hand recipient of many of these unique experiences, having had amazing internships every single year since she got to PSU. “My first year I got an internship through one of my business professors, who worked with the Port of Portland. I helped throw events for major airlines and helped with a community event for over 5,000 people called the Seaport Celebration.”

Professors at PSU are always encouraging students to pursue internships where they believe students can learn new skills and get hands-on experience in fields in which they want to pursue careers. PSU also has amazing resources for students looking to get real-world experience during their time as an undergraduate.

PSU’s Office of Advising and Careers Services, a resource for students, has internship and job databases, hosts career fairs, brings industry professionals to campus and provides personalized academic and career advising to every student.

“My second summer I worked in the marketing department at Blount International, a company that makes products for forestry workers. I helped them build their website so they could better communicate with customers. They had previously only marketed to businesses, their new website was part of their launch into a new market targeted at consumers.” All of Abby’s internships have helped her gain skills and use the things she is learning in class to build her resume and help her plan for her career.

And she’s not done yet. She continues to interview for even more internships around Portland. “Every summer I try to intern in different environments to learn about different parts of the industry  before I commit to something post-graduation.”

Her advice to future students? “Go into the application process with intention. Think about what you want to do long-term and about what PSU and Portland can do for you.” If Abby is any indication, the combination can sure do a lot.

Accepted to the Honors College at PSU? Confirm your enrollment today!

Lots to Explore

PSU admitted students are weighing their options and choosing where they’ll spend the next few years of their lives. We are hosting Admitted Student Receptions to  welcome newly admitted students who are eagerly anticipating the Fall term. It was at the Portland reception two years ago that Rohi Gheewala, a sophomore from Hillsboro, Oregon, decided that PSU was the perfect place for her.

“When I came to the Admitted Student Reception I felt really comfortable with all of the student ambassadors, they were really friendly and approachable. I also really appreciated the diversity and open-minded culture.” Rohi got to see all the amazing resources PSU has to offer, and one thing in particular jumped out. “I loved the campus tour, and visiting the Collaborative Life Sciences Building got me very excited.”

Rohi has a passion for health, which is why she was so excited about seeing the state-of-the-art Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the tour, a shared space in which both Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU) and PSU students take  classes in the sciences. PSU and OHSU’s partnership means that students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare can get hands-on experience with health professionals while getting their undergraduate degree.

“Being down the street from OHSU gives me opportunities for interships and to connect with the people who work there.” Through her program, Rohi joined a group that is running a Bone Marrow drive at OHSU. “We were able to take a field trip to the research lab to learn more about it.”

It isn’t just the innovative facilities that attracted Rohi to PSU, where she studies biochemistry and physics with the hope of continuing on to medical school, hopefully at OHSU, where her undergraduate experience is sure to give her an advantage. PSU is also giving her the opportunity pursue internships at OHSU.

“I met with a surgeon who works there last week,” Rohi remembers. “I found out about him while I was waiting to meet with my advisor. I was reading the PSU Visitor’s Guide and in the back they highlight PSU alumni and he was highlighted. I then found his contact information and emailed him to see if he’d be interested in meeting me for an informational interview.” The two got coffee together soon after and talked about internship options at the hospital.

Rohi’s story is not uncommon for undergraduates at PSU. Since every student, regardless of background, age or class standing, gets individual attention from PSU faculty and academic advisors, students are able to thrive and take advantage of unique opportunities  as an undergraduate including internships both on and off-campus, community projects,  study abroad, and research projects, all while earning credits that can be used toward their degree.

In addition to academic opportunities, there’s a lot to see and experience at PSU. “Spend some time exploring what Portland State has to offer,” Rohi encourages, “from our cultural events to theatre performances to cheering on our football or basketball teams. Try out all the different food carts bordering our campus and event take a trip downtown to enjoy the city.”

The breadth of student experiences at PSU is only limited to how far they are willing to explore, investigate, and discover all that both the city of Portland and PSU have to offer. “Come to campus to not only earn your degree but also to create lasting networks and find your passion.”

Resource Breakdown: Financial Wellness Center

It’s no secret, college costs a lot of money, and money can be a difficult subject to talk about.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Enter the Financial Wellness Center (FWC), a new resource on campus aimed at helping students manage and budget their money so that they can get the most out of their time here at Portland State.

The FWC has found that students often have problems talking about money, and, as a result, are unprepared when bills start rolling in. “Money has become a pretty uncomfortable subject,” says Wellness Coach Rosaline Prentice. The goal of the FWC is the create an environment where students can talk candidly about money, so that they can be proactive with their finances. “We really want to be seen as an ally to students, as someone who can work alongside them.”

This approach has been resonating with students who appreciate the transparent and collaborative aspects of the Center.

“Yeah, there’s no judgement here,” says Wellness Coach Shawna Jefferson. “We are definitely focused on people over policy.”

This policy must be working, because in addition to new students coming in everyday, the FWC is seeing a lot of returning students. And it’s not just incoming freshman who come to the Center for advice. Parents, transfer students, and even graduating seniors visit the Center. As Wellness Coach April Duval says, “the Financial Wellness Center is for everybody.”

The Center gets some students in the midst of financial crisis, but they want to Center to serve as a resource for students, to facilitate a more proactive approach to budgeting for their education, a resource Center Manager Shawna Chambers says wasn’t present before the FWC opened this Fall.

“We really weren’t being very proactive in that regard.” Chambers echoes student concerns about University finances being intimidating. She realized that the best way to assist students was to open a service-oriented space that was more personal. “We wanted to shake the idea of the university being a bill collector and really help address the needs of students.”

PSU is the only university in Oregon operating a resource like this out of the University’s business office, which speaks to the transparent stance the Center wants to take on money. “It’s really all about education,” says Chambers. Plus, scheduling a visit is totally free, and that can fit into anyone’s budget.

To learn more about the Financial Wellness Center and schedule an appointment, visit:

If you want to learn more about this amazing resource on campus, contact the Center by email at:

Or call them directly at: 503-725-3440

The Guide to Campus Life for a Successful 1st Term

Campus Housing

For many students, moving into a dorm may be their first time living on their own. Here are a few of the Orientation Team’s tips to make that transition less overwhelming, and will make it much smoother.


Swap school and work schedules with your roommate as soon as possible. The better communication you have with your roommate early on, the better your relationship will be throughout the year.

Know your Neighbors

Make an effort to know your neighbors. This may be easy if you are living on a First-Year-Experience floor because you will have a year-long class with the people on your floor. Knowing the people living near you may just get you an automatic study group and you all can watch Netflix and play video games later.

Connect to Home

If this is the first time away from home, it may be a good idea to have a conversation with parents or loved ones back home about making scheduled time to call or text. For many parents, not knowing what their student is doing and having poor communication may stress them and their student out. To avoid over or under communication, scheduling a weekly check-in may be helpful.

Know your Skills

The first time you go grocery shopping for yourself, you may feel the urge to test your inner MasterChef. Take it easy. A common problem for students is buying a huge amount of groceries their first week that ends up expiring before they can use it. Most dorms only allow microwaves so maybe for special occasions, you could try out some of these mug recipes.


Get acclimated to your new sleep schedule during Viking Days. You will thank yourself later.

Read about more resources in our blog about ways to ease homesickness on campus.

The Commuter’s Guide to a Successful 1st Term


One of the most unique things about Portland State is that it’s a commuter campus. A huge fraction of students drive, bike or use public transportation to get to class. Here are the orientation team’s top 5 tips to make your first term a success!


You can rent out a locker for $30 per term, or $65 per academic year (they are large lockers so split it with a friend). It can be convenient to store workout clothes, extra chargers, books, supplies and a pillow and blanket.


For commuters, drivers specifically – if you can schedule your classes to be on the same two or three days you can buy a Tuesday Thursday or Monday Wednesday Friday pass and save quite a bit of money! However, they sell out so always buy passes on the day they go on sale. Both of those passes also include weekend parking!

Early Means On-time

Whether you are driving or using public transportation, always account for MAX delays, traffic, and time for finding parking. Even though you have a parking pass, you never know when an extra large truck will park in an extra small parking spot, taking up two spots. Also, parking structures will be really packed for the first few weeks so make sure you account for more time than you think for parking. Leaving a little early will ensure you are on time to class and if it takes you less time than you thought, then you have time to get coffee, tea or breakfast.


Commuters may have to start their day a little earlier than those who are living on campus. During Viking Days, its a great idea to get acclimated to the new sleep schedule. You will thank yourself later. You may also want to start getting used to getting to campus how you plan to during the school year and attend some awesome Viking Days events!


For some, living away from campus may seem like finding a connection and making friends would be difficult. Attending Viking Days events the week before classes begin is a great start. Make friends in classes by finding or forming weekly study groups in some of your classes. Getting a job on campus is also an easy way to make friends.

Check out our blog: New Student Guide to Portland Transit.

Top 3 Tips for Time Management


Preparing for college classes can be daunting, but establishing a time management system early on, or even before classes begin, can help quite a bit. This system can commonly change, based on what classes you are enrolled in, or what other responsibilities you may be juggling in any given term. Here are the top 3 Tips from students that can help you succeed in your first term of college.

Find a planner that works for you:

Planners come in all shapes, sizes and styles. It’s important to keep in mind what you need from a planner. If you want to writing quite a bit of information, a larger planner is probably the best option. If all you need is a place to compile due dates, a smaller journal may work best.There are all sorts of options at stores like Target, Barns & Noble and office supply stores. At Orientation, all new students receive a student planner will all sorts of important information about PSU. Free online sources like The Passion Planner are also a great option where you just print out your pages and can customize them to how you like. Many students rely on Google Calendar either as a complete planner, or as a supplemental aid for the alerts option.

Situate the syllabi:

Most professors use D2L to post their course material. Either a professor will email the syllabus in advance, or it will be available through D2L on the Sunday before the term starts, or the first day of class. Once you get your hands on the syllabus, put all exams and major project deadlines in your planner of choice. Some professors will go into major detail of everything that is due, but some assignments will be subject to change so you may want to wait until class starts.

It is also important to keep all syllabi available by either attaching it to your planner, taping it into the inside of your note taking notebook for each class, or pin them to your wall. You never know when you will need to look at it.

Color your day:

Color coordinating your planner is a great way to stay organized. If you are new to color coding, the best thing to do is start with maybe 3 color categories. One common split is doing a color for Work, School, and Other. Once you get used to color coordinating these three, you can start moving up to splitting these categories and adding more colors if necessary. Make a color key on an index card to act as a bookmark so you can keep track of your spot in your planner as well as keep track of your color code.

Sticky notes are also really handy for adding additional notes about assignments directly into your planner if there is not enough room. Another way to use sticky notes is to use different colors to mark the things you are working on. For example, use three colors for ‘done’, ‘urgent’ and ‘turn in’.

Looking Back to Last Year: Why I Chose PSU

I’m a Portland native and am very close to my family, so my decision to attend PSU was driven by my personal connections to my city and the people I love. I know many of you are going through the process of deciding on your college, which means you’re making a decision that will impact your next four years and the rest of your life. I’m sharing with you the reasons I chose Portland State University and looking back to last year when I was making my decision.


  • I knew that I wanted to go to college close to home so I could be around to watch my younger sister grow up. PSU makes it easy for me because I can immerse myself in campus life while still being able to connect with my family.
  • As a business major, being in a city is vital. I wanted to be close to organizations where I could network and maintain connections that I’d established in high school. Portland is home to companies like Daimler, Adidas, Nike, Intel and Weiden + Kennedy (ad agency best known for its work with Nike), to name a few.
  • Cost and tuition fees were also a factor in my decision. I wanted to attend a school that would give me the best education with the smallest amount of debt; allowing me to launch into my post-graduation life with as little financial burden as possible.
  • Being in Portland means I’m surrounded by people other than college students and able to experience the food, galleries, concerts and other cultural events not available at suburban and rural colleges.

Looking Back:

Now that I’m here, I have even more examples of what makes PSU great. In my freshman year I lived in Epler Hall and had the most fantastic roommate! We were different people which made the friendship work so well. We complimented each other and were able to grow and decompress together and when to give each other space. I loved having someone to go with to midnight breakfasts, dances, cultural nights and other on-campus events.

I am so excited to see where my education takes me and what career experiences I will acquire throughout my time here. It energizes me to see the recognition Portland State gets and I cannot wait to see how we grow as a University in the coming years.

I love Portland State University and couldn’t see myself anywhere else. It is everything I could ask for; opportunistic, supportive and filled with palpable energy. I do not feel the financial stress that some of my friends at other universities feel. I know I am being educated to make wise decisions and to succeed in my career path.

Good luck on your search and don’t forget to reach out to your admissions counselor, they are ready and waiting to answer all your questions!