Get to Know the PSU Library

It’s safe to say that students have become accustomed to looking to the internet for everything. Need to research for an assignment? Wikipedia and Google Scholar are just a click away, right from the comfort of your home. But you shouldn’t overlook the PSU Library. It’s a powerful resource for students, which can be utilized both in person and online. Since there are so many resources, it can be hard to figure out where to start. Let us walk you through it.


Millar Library

The PSU Library, also called the Branford Price Millar Library (Millar for short), is that building with the curved windows overlooking a big tree and the Park Blocks. The rumors are true—the 1989 addition to the building was made to surround the ancient Copper Beech tree, rather than replace it. The historic tree and surrounding library symbolize PSU’s dedication to environmental awareness and preservation of the Pacific Northwest’s beauty.

During the term, the library is open from 7:30 a.m.-Midnight, with shorter hours on the weekend. Hours vary for different resources and for holidays, so check out their website for more information.

What You’ll Find

Resource Floor Breakdown
Circulation Desk 1 Your go-to place to check out anything you might need: books, study room keys, laptops, chargers, headphones and Course Reserves (short term loans of textbooks or other materials for class).
Study Rooms Basement,
3, 4 and 5
Every PSU student gets up to 15 hours of study room time per week. There are lots of study rooms to choose from, with different sizes and equipment. Reserve a study room online.
Computer Labs 1 and 2 Across both labs, you’ll find over 100 computers, both Macs and PCs. There are also printers you can use from lab computers or online from your personal computer. Make sure to have your student ID handy when you go to print.
Reference Desk 2 Need help finding a book or starting your research? Ask a librarian at the Reference Desk. They’re available to answer your questions.
Learning Center 2 Here you can meet with tutors and get help with almost any subject you could need, including academic coaching. They even offer some tutoring online. Check out their tutor schedule.
Writing Center Outpost 2 You’ll find Writing Center tutors at this outpost, right near the Learning Center. They’re open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon and take drop-ins. If you need more extensive help or can’t make those hours, visit the main Writing Center in Cramer Hall 188.
3D Printer 2 PSU students can print projects using the library’s 3D printer for only 15 cents per gram. You can use the printer for class or just for fun, printing other people’s designs or creating your own!
Bradford’s Bean 1 Can’t get through your study session without a pick-me-up? This little coffee bar serves Peet’s Coffee and variety of sandwiches, healthy snacks and pastries.
Quiet Floors Basement, 4 and 5 Here you’ll find study cubicles and chairs, all designed to give students a quiet and comfortable place. Remember… Shhhh…

Librarians

The library employs a large staff of librarians who specialize in any subject you can imagine. Get in contact with your subject librarian for specialized help. You can meet with librarians in person or chat with them online.

Books and Collections

Explore the many shelves of books at your leisure. Need to find something specific? Check out the PSU Library Catalog, which you can do on your own computer or by using one of the dedicated Research Kiosks throughout the library.

What if you find a book that isn’t available in the PSU Library? You have access to books from Summit and Interlibrary Loan. Summit is an alliance between 39 colleges and universities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho that makes their collections available to students in participating schools. You can request a book from Summit through the Library Catalog, and a school that has it will send it to the PSU Library for you to pick it up. Books only take about 5 days to arrive. If Summit doesn’t have the materials you need, you can request them from Interlibrary Loan. However, getting books this way takes longer and is less reliable than through Summit.

The PSU Library has a number of Special Collections and Archives, featuring everything from African American History in Oregon to rare Medieval manuscripts. PSU even has a complete Dark Horse Comics Collection! You can read and check out the comics from the browsing collection located on the third, fourth and fifth floors facing the curved windows. Learn more about the Dark Horse Comics Collection in our blog about comics at PSU and in Portland.

Students in Special Collections
Students looking at rare books in the PSU Library Special Collections.

Online

The PSU Library online resources can be accessed from your home computer or on campus. The library website is the first place you should go when you need to do research for class.

Ask a Librarian

You can chat with a librarian 24/7 using Ask a Librarian. Just open up a chat and send them any questions you have about finding a source, using the library services and more.  

Databases

Have you ever used Google Scholar, found an awesome source, then realized you needed to pay to read it? That’s why you should use the databases through the PSU Library. PSU pays all those fees for you to access articles and materials online, but you have to go through the website to take advantage of it.

Subject Guides

If you don’t know where to start your research, or you want more information about a subject you’re studying in class, check out the Subject and Course Guides. The librarians who specialize in these topics put together special guides with a bunch of useful resources. They make it as easy as possible for you to get the resources you need, like relevant databases, industry journals and more.

PDXScholar

Ever wanted to find work published by PSU students and faculty? PDXScholar is a database that provides access to all the articles and research put out by people at PSU, including studies, dissertations and theses, university archives, journals and open access textbooks.


Go explore the library in person and online, so you know everything you have access to as a PSU student!​  

From Robotics Hobbyist to Aerospace Engineer

Engineering student, Jennifer Jordan

Your hobby just might turn into your career—and PSU could be the next step to get you there. Engineering started as a hobby for Jennifer Jordan, and now she’s a student at Portland State double majoring in Electrical Engineering and Physics with a minor in Mathematics.

Jennifer is from Astoria, a small town off the Oregon coast, and also happens to be the setting for the 1980s cult classic, “The Goonies.” At first, she didn’t want to go to college far from home, so she started close by at Clatsop Community College. That’s where her interest in engineering blossomed into her future career. “I was a leader of the ROV (remotely operated vehicles) team on campus. We built a robot named Lazarus and took it to an international robotics competition. It was a cool event, and it was the first time I was really exposed to the world of engineering and met people in the industry.”

Getting her degree wasn’t an easy road, though. “My mom died when I was pretty young,” says Jennifer, “so I didn’t have a safety net. I went to three different high schools and lived on my own for a while. I ran into financial issues when I was going to community college. I was working two jobs and going to school full time, and it just wasn’t feasible to balance everything.”

After a year and a half, Jennifer dropped out of community college to work full time. She got a job in the medical industry, which she did for five years before deciding she needed to go back to college. “Working in the medical industry helped me deal with my mom’s death, so it was helpful for me emotionally. But there was a point where I wasn’t being challenged. That pushed me to get more involved in different hobbies, like robotics, and go back to school.”

She found herself exploring the PSU website. She knew she wanted to study physics, but the Maseeh College of Engineering caught her attention. “Growing up, I always liked math and science, but I was living in a small town without opportunities in STEM. It seemed just out of reach,” says Jennifer. But Portland State’s excellent engineering programs and its affordability compared to other Oregon universities made it a real possibility. In the end, she decided to do both: physics and engineering.

“The first time I was on PSU’s campus was when I made an appointment to meet with an advisor in the Maseeh College Student Services office. Coming from a hobby background in engineering, I didn’t really know the difference between mechanical, electrical and civil engineering. They helped me find the best fit and told me about different scholarships.” Current and prospective undergraduate engineering and computer science students can schedule an appointment with a Maseeh College advisor or stop by during designated drop-in hours. Advisors do more than assist with admission and scholarships—they will help students transition into a career by connecting them with jobs and internships.

It didn’t take long for Jennifer to find her place. “When I first joined the Maseeh College, I was nervous about being a girl in engineering. In my Electrical Engineering 101 class, there were about 50 guys and 6 girls. It was really intimidating. But then I joined the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and got involved with people in the community.” SWE is an organization made up of students and women working in the engineering industry, and their mission is to provide professional development opportunities and engage in K-12 outreach.

After immersing herself in the engineering community and proving herself in classes, she was offered a managerial position in the Electronics Prototyping Lab (EPL). “The EPL is a lab through the Electrical Engineering department, but it’s open to ALL students, regardless of major. We’ve had English majors, art majors, all kinds of people. It’s just such a creative and inclusive environment.”

The EPL is just one of many labs in the Engineering Building. Maseeh College Student Ambassadors, like Jennifer, lead tours of the Engineering Building frequently. What’s one of Jennifer’s favorite thing about the Engineering Building? “There are so many things, but one cool feature is the Dryden Drop Tower. It’s a 102-foot tall metal tower, which you can see by the stairs when you enter the building. It simulates the micro-gravity that occurs on spacecraft.”

Jennifer is also involved with the Portland State Aerospace Society (PSAS), a student aerospace engineering project working on building Oregon’s first satellite (which will be launched by NASA) and a rocket that would allow PSAS to launch their own satellites in the future. With the funding and resources made possible through the Beta Project, Jennifer helped design and build what she refers to as “the cage.” Jennifer explains, “the cage is going to test the satellite. It creates a magnetic field strong enough to cancel out the earth’s magnetic field or amplify it in any direction. So when we have the prototype of the satellite built, the cage is going to test the satellite’s ability to orient itself.”

For the rocket project, Jennifer is working on the Argus Module, a  360° camera device. “It has six cameras that are oriented so we can stitch together the video from all the cameras and put it in an Oculus Rift (a virtual reality headset). When the rocket gets launched, you’ll be able to look around as if you’re on the rocket.” Watch a 360° interactive video of one of their rocket launches.

Jennifer relied on the student loans she got through FAFSA for her first year at Portland State. After she gained confidence and experience through her involvement with different engineering projects and groups, she applied for scholarships. She was awarded the Science, Mathematics, and Research for Transformation scholarship (SMART) through the Department of Defense. The goal of the scholarship is to support and recruit some of the brightest STEM students in the nation. “They’re paying for my schooling, including my tuition, books and housing” says Jennifer, “and after I graduate, I’ll be doing a summer internship in Georgia and working for them for a few years after I graduate.”

And after working for the Department of Defense, Jennifer wants to work in the aerospace industry. If you had asked Jennifer years ago what she saw on her horizon, she would not have pictured this. “I don’t come from a family where I had a lot of financial or academic support. I never thought I could do anything like what I’m doing now. I’ve definitely put in a lot of hard work, but I could not have done it without the community and support here at PSU.”  

See how Portland State can help you with your next step.

Sign up for a campus tour and visit the Engineering Building.

Jennifer Engineering Project
Jennifer in one of the engineering labs showing off “the cage.”

Upcoming Events: March 2019

Events in March

This March is the month of creativity at PSU. Performances, concerts and seminars will be heard all around campus, beckoning students to take a break from school work and enjoy the show. Here are some event highlights happening in March. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.


Redefining Failure: Empowering Women of Color in Business

Friday, 1 | 12:00-2:30 p.m. | Karl Miller Atrium
Join PSU’s School of Business and Women’s Resource Center for this annual event. Hear from local leaders of color within a business as they share insights to visibility in the workplace and sustaining in a predominantly white field and city, as well as stories of redefining failure through lessons gained along the way. These speakers will be providing TEDx Talks on their experience followed by a Q&A. This event is free and light refreshments will be provided. Learn more and register to attend (required).

In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play

Friday, 3 – Saturday, 9 Various showings | Lincoln Performance Hall
This play is set in the 1860s, when a new invention has electrified the Victorian home of Dr. and Mrs. Catherine Givings. Don’t miss this provocative comedy from Sarah Ruhl about electricity, pleasure and true intimacy. This play is for mature audiences. Tickets are $6 – $15, which you can get online.

Creative Writing Program Reading Series:
Suzanne Matson and Andrea Hollander

Monday, 4 | 6:30-8:00 p.m. | SMSU 333
Fiction writer Suzanne Matson and poet Andrea Hollander read from their new work, hosted by the Creative Writing program. These readings are always free and open to the public. View their readings calendar.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Wednesday, 6 | 1:00-2:30 p.m. | SMSU M211
This conversation, facilitated by Jen Mitas, encourages attendees to reflect on their own role in the social networks that make a positive impact on the places we live. This is a free event hosted by the Office of Academic Innovation. RSVP online.

Frida Fest

Friday, 8 | 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Parkway North, SMSU 101
Diversity and Multicultural Student Services is hosting this event to celebrate International Women’s Day with influence from Frida Kahlo’s life. Come enjoy various activities, catered food and music. This is a free event.

Ladies’ Lab Night

Saturday, 9 | 12:00-6:30 p.m. | Hoffman Hall
At this event, young women in the Portland community interested in science are invited to meet the women doing research in PSU’s biology, chemistry, geology, physics and engineering labs. Attendees are able to learn about the amazing work these women are doing, make valuable connections and see what a career in science might look like. Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of gender or age (children must be above 9). RSVP online and see the event schedule.

PSU Vocal Collective: A Celebration of Women in Art

Wednesday, 13 | 7:00 p.m. | Lincoln Recital Hall (LH 75)
The PSU Vocal Collective and Advanced Vocal Combo present a concert of music by female composers and arrangers. They will explore topics of women’s rights, empowerment, strength, love and grace through a selection of contemporary compositions. This event is free and open to the public.

Elevating Impact Summit

Friday, 15 | 8:00a.m.-5:00 p.m. | The Portland Armory
Join The School of Business’ Impact Entrepreneurs to celebrate business for positive social, environmental and economic impact. Attendees enjoy talks on the main stage, a pitch fest for local entrepreneurs, exhibits and activities on the mezzanine levels and breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon reception. Student tickets are $25 and regular tickets are $110. Learn more and buy tickets online.

My Soul Is a Witness: Spirit and Spirituality in the Songs of America’s Enslaved

Sunday, 17 | 4:00 p.m. | Lincoln  Recital Hall (LH 75)
Listen to lyric tenor Leroy E. Bynum, Jr., Dean of the College of the Arts, and Music faculty Chuck Dillard, on piano. This recital will explore both the spirit and spirituality of America’s “slave songs” captured in concert arrangement by several of the 20th century’s most celebrated arrangers of spirituals. This event is free and open to the public.

Mandelring Quartet

Monday, 18 and Tuesday, 19 | 7:30 p.m. | Lincoln Performance Hall
Listen to the Mandelring Quartet, presented by Friends of Chamber Music. The four individual members are as one in their shared determination to seek out the innermost core of the music.  Their approach to the music is always both emotional and personal. Tickets range from $30-$55 and can be purchased online.

We Met in Moscow

Friday, 22-Sunday, 31 | Various showings | Alpenrose Dairy Opera House
This musical is based on the lives of Eleonora Andreevna and Ralph Bunch, Portland State University professor emeritus. Both middle-aged and broken-hearted when they met, the show not only explores the unique way this couple fell in love during the post-Cold War era but also the adventures they had exploring their cultural differences. Tickets range from $5-$18 and can be purchased online.

Vikings Sports

Vikings Basketball, Tennis and Golf are playing all month. Make sure to check out the PSU Vikings event calendar for a detailed schedule.

Portland: A Comics Hub

Comics in Portland

Portland is a city full of creative people. It should be no surprise, then, that it’s a hub for comics lovers. Portland is home to some of the best indie comics publishers, numerous comic book shops and endless events. And Portland State helps foster this vibrant community, offering one of the only programs in the nation where students can learn about and make comics.

We’ve compiled a list of all the things PSU and Portland have to offer for folks interested in the comics scene.


At PSU
Comics Studies Program

PSU students can earn a Comics Studies Certificate. This program takes an interdisciplinary approach, getting students hands-on practice to create comics, learn theory and make connections with the publishing industry. This is a 24-credit undergraduate certificate that can be fulfilled in conjunction with a bachelor’s degree. Students studying related topics, like English or Graphic Design, would be a great match for this program. The Comics Studies program helps students get internships with local companies, like Dark Horse and Oni Press.

The Comics Studies program has professors who are accomplished professionals in the comics industry. You can learn writing from Brian Michael Bendis, who has won five Eisner Awards and is the primary architect of the Ultimate Marvel Universe. He is the co-creator of Miles Morales, the character who was recently adapted into the Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie. You can also take a class from Shannon Wheeler, acclaimed cartoonist for The New York Times and creator of the satirical superhero Too Much Coffee Man.

Portland State is inspired by the creativity and innovation coming out of the comic-book scene in Portland. PSU’s mission is to connect students to the local comics community. Comics Studies students are taking what they learned at PSU and getting jobs doing what they love in Portland and beyond, as comics artists, writers and scholars.

PSU Comics Club

PSU has an active community of comics makers and enthusiasts. Many of these students are members of the PSU Comics Club, a student organization dedicated to connecting people interested in comics through reading discussion groups and other events.

Library Collection

PSU’s Millar Library has an extensive Dark Horse Comics Collection—so extensive that they have a copy of EVERY Dark Horse comic book, graphic novel, poster, figure, etc. the press has ever produced. PSU takes care to collect, document and make the collection available because of Dark Horse’s value in Oregon history. But it’s also important because Mike Richardson, founder and creative mastermind behind Dark Horse, graduated with a degree in art from PSU in 1977.

The Dark Horse Comics Collection includes a research collection and browsing collection. The browsing collection is on the third, fourth and fifth floors facing the curved windows. These books are easy to find and pursue, and you can read them in the library or check them out. If you want to look at the research collection for scholarly reasons, you’ll have to make an appointment in Special Collections.


In Portland
Comics Publishers

The comics produced in Portland run the gamut from zines printed in garages by small artists to the most popular comic series and graphic novels in the nation by local publishers.

  • Dark Horse Comics: We’d be surprised if a comic book reader hadn’t heard of Dark Horse. They’re the publisher behind many critically-acclaimed and commercially-successful comics, like Sin City, Hellboy, Aliens and Star Wars, just to name a few. We love that PSU alumnus, Mike Richardson, is the founder of Dark Horse! Their headquarters are just South of Portland in Milwaukie.
  • Oni Press: Located just across the Hawthorne Bridge from PSU, Oni Press publishes a different kind of comic—they avoid publishing anything superhero. Instead, you’ll find comics like Rick and Morty, Invader Zim and Scott Pilgrim.
  • Image Comics: One of the biggest comics publishers with numerous imprints, Image Comics recently moved their headquarters to Northwest Portland. Since their imprints feature so many genres, it’s hard to sum up their titles, but The Walking Dead, Saga and Unnatural are some of their most popular.
  • Microcosm Publishing: Granted, Microcosm publishes more than comics, but they do have an impressive number of totally unique zines and graphic novels. They’re known for their punk approach to publishing, featuring titles about art, radical politics and odd humor. They also boast way more women authors than the industry standard. Their headquarters are in Northeast Portland.
Comic Book Stores

We’d need a pretty long list to feature ALL the comic book stores in Portland, so we’ve compiled just a few of our favorites.

  • Books with Pictures: Their mission is to be inclusive and welcoming to everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, age, race or disability status. They stock everything from indie to LGBTQ to all-age comics. You can find them near the famous Ladd’s Addition neighborhood on Division Street.
  • Bridge City Comics: In North Portland, you’ll find Bridge City Comics, which offers both new and used comics and a large Portland-based creators section.
  • Cosmic Monkey Comics: Everyone from new comics fans to avid collectors can find something in Cosmic Monkey Comics’ huge selection of comics and collectibles. They’re located in Northeast Portland.
  • Floating World Comics: Located in Chinatown, Floating World Comics carries more than comics, offering records, original artwork and kids titles. Their online shop is also impressive and gives you an idea about what you’ll find in store.
Events

Author signings and comic book releases happen frequently, so follow comic book shops and publishers online to see what’s coming up.

  • Wizard World: This comic con is coming up—February 22-24. Wizard World boasts impressive celebrity guests and outstanding vendors.
  • Rose City Comic Con: In September, you can go to this annual comic book and pop culture convention. Tens of thousands of people attend each year, many of whom dress up in comic-inspired cosplay.
  • Kumoricon: If anime and Japanese pop culture is more your speed, check out this convention in November. Attendees dress up as their favorite anime characters, play games, watch panels and more.
  • Meetups: Portland hosts an impressive number of comics-related meetups, boasting hundreds of members.

So, go read a comic, preferably one made by a Portland publisher, found in the PSU Library or purchased from an independent shop. Make connections and be a part of the thriving comics scene.

Learn how you can apply to PSU and enter the Comics Studies program.

Dark Horse Comics Collections
Memorabilia and comics in the PSU Library Dark Horse Collections.

Upcoming Events: February 2019

Students attending an event at PSU

At PSU this February, students are challenged to get active and stretch out those stiff winter muscles. Here are some event highlights happening in February. For a more comprehensive list, check out the PSU events calendar.


Super Bowl Watch Party

Sunday, 3 | 3:30-7:30 p.m. | Rec Center Sports Office
Join Campus Rec to watch the Super Bowl and enjoy free food. The event is free for all Campus Rec members (all PSU students are members) and $7 for non-members.

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.

Oregon Humanities Conversation Project: Can We Get Along?

Thursday, 7 | 10:00-11:30 a.m. | SMSU 209
Chisao Hata will facilitate a discussion on race, perspectives and cultural values, considering what brings people together and what separates them. This is a free event hosted by Oregon Humanities.

Career Workshop: Writing Resumes & Cover Letters

Thursday, 7 | 10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. | ACS Office, USB 402
Advising & Career Services (ACS) hosts frequent Career Workshops throughout the year. This free workshop will help students write effective resumes and cover letters targeted to specific jobs. For more career-related events, review the ACS calendar.

Light Up Recreation (Portland Winter Light Festival)

Friday, 8 | 6:00-10:00 p.m. | Peter W. Stott Community Field
Light up the night in this interactive installation. Visitors will glow while they play games and do activities, with something for every age and ability. This free event is hosted by Campus Rec as a part of the 4th annual Portland Winter Light Festival, a city-wide event showcasing illuminated art and performances.

Nepalese Cultural Night

Friday, 15 | 5:00-9:00 p.m. | Smith Memorial Student Union 101
Celebrate Nepali culture and connect with community at PSU and beyond at this free event, hosted by the Nepalese Student Association. There will be free food, raffles and cultural performances. Nabin Dhimal, who was featured on our blog, will be officiating the event!

Splash Mob: PRIDE

Friday, 22 | 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Rec Center Pool
Trans, genderqueer and all body-positive people are invited to Open Rec Swim. Test your balance on the log roll, play water basketball, swim laps, relax in the spa and more. Free food and inner tubes will be provided. The event is free for all Campus Rec members (all PSU students are members) and $7 for non-members.

Vikings Sports

Vikings Basketball and Tennis have games going on all month. Check out the PSU Vikings event calendar for a detailed schedule.

Transferring to PSU is Easy

It's easy to transfer to PSU

There are things in life that are hard: running a marathon, doing your taxes, building IKEA furniture…

Transferring to PSU from your community college is not one of them. In fact, transferring to PSU is pretty darn easy.

More than 50% of students at Portland State University enroll after taking classes at other colleges and universities, so we understand your needs and concerns as a transfer student.

To top it off, PSU offers Transfers Finish Free, a program that covers standard tuition and fees for income-eligible Oregon transfer students. The deadline to apply to PSU to be considered is July 1.

PSU has expert Admissions Counselors specifically trained to help students transfer to PSU from community colleges and universities all over the country. Here are their tips tips for making the transfer process smooth and hassle-free.


1. Take a look at our Transfer Degree Maps and meet with an Academic Advisor

In collaboration with several Oregon Community Colleges, we have created special transfer degree maps to help students navigate the transfer process. Students are encouraged to meet with their Academic Advisor to discuss their degree plan and see how their credits will transfer into their new degree.

2. Check out Transferology

Make sure your community college credits transfer over to PSU by using Transferology, an interactive online tool where you can compare multiple universities to see where your earned credits will go the farthest.

3. Meet with a Transfer Admissions Counselor

Transfer Admissions Counselors are here for one reason: to help you apply to PSU with the strongest application possible. Admissions Counselors are available year-round to answer questions and meet with students about their transfer application to PSU. Their goal is your success, period.

4. Visit us at a Transfer Event

PSU is coming to you for Transfer Workshops! Admissions Counselors and Academic Advisors will be visiting Oregon community colleges and meeting with students. At Transfer Workshops, you can:

  • Apply to PSU and defer your $50 admission fee!
  • Speak with an academic advisor—all popular majors will be represented
  • Get your financial aid and scholarship questions answered
  • Learn how the credits you’ve already earned will transfer to PSU

Want to come visit us? Transfer Open Houses are monthly on-campus events where students interested in transferring to PSU can meet with admissions and financial aid representatives, learn about PSU and tour our beautiful, 50 acre, downtown campus.

If you bring your official transcripts (from every college you’ve attended) and apply to PSU online 48 hours before you arrive, you’ll get an instant admission decision AND we’ll defer your $50 application fee! Check the Transfer Open House schedule and sign-up today.

5. Fill out your FAFSA early on

In order to be considered for PSU scholarships and financial aid, you must first fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA also determines your eligibility for things like work study and federal grants. You can fill out the FAFSA at any stage in the admissions process, so it can be helpful to get it out of the way so that you can focus on other things. Check out our blog all about demystifying the FAFSA.

6. Know important dates and deadlines

Like with all applications, there are important dates you should know. PSU accepts admissions applications on a rolling basis, but it’s best to submit early. February 1 is the next big date to remember:

Check out our blog dedicated to breaking down all the dates you should know. Review them early on so you don’t get caught off guard.


As long as you follow our tips, transferring to PSU will be a breeze! And get in touch with us—we’re here to help you through the process.

Apply to Transfer Now

New Student Guide to Portland Transit

The beauty of Portland State’s location in the center of one of the best cities for public transportation in the U.S. is that students have easy and affordable access to all that Portland has to offer. And Portland’s public transit system (TriMet) is not limited to downtown, but stretches far and wide—from Forest Park to the Portland International Airport to the many towns surrounding Portland. With all of the buses, the trains and even a bike sharing system, PSU students can get around without the hassle or expense of a car.

TriMet is an easy system to use, but it can be confusing at first. That’s why we’ve compiled everything PSU students should know about TriMet and the transportation options in the Portland metro area.

Transportation Options

PSU’s Transportation & Parking Services is an excellent source of information. Check out their outline of all the ways new students can get to campus.

By Car

Commuting by car can be the most expensive transportation option—since PSU is located in downtown Portland, parking is extremely limited. PSU has a variety of parking permit options.

  • Carpooling: Students can reduce costs and emissions by carpooling, signing up for a Carpool Permit or sharing rides with Drive Less Connect (a free service offered by the State of Oregon that helps coordinate carpooling).
  • Carsharing: Students can use car-sharing services rather than own their own cars. Zipcar has nearly 30 cars, trucks and vans available for rent by the hour, day or weekend. PSU students are eligible for discounted membership. Car2Go and ReachNow also provide on-demand carshare vehicles in Portland.

TriMet

TriMet provides bus, light rail and commuter rail service in the Portland metro region. TriMet’s transportation options connect people with their community, while easing traffic congestion and reducing air pollution—making the region a better place to live.

  • Buses: TriMet offers almost 80 bus lines, with many buses running every 15 minutes or less during most of the day. There are multiple bus lines with stops at PSU.
  • MAX (Metropolitan Area Express) Light Rail: Like the buses and streetcar, the MAX lines run frequently throughout the day. The five color-coded MAX lines connect the far corners of Portland and surrounding suburbs. There are even convenient park and ride locations that make it easy to drive part way and hop on the MAX, enabling commuters to avoid the struggle of limited downtown parking. The Orange Milwaukie line, Yellow Expo Center line and Green Clackamas Town Center line make stops at the South end of campus and at Urban Center. Riders can connect to the Blue Hillsboro/Gresham line and Red Beaverton/Airport line just North of campus.

Streetcar

Portland Streetcar: This streetcar system offers two loop routes around downtown Portland, with streetcars running both clockwise and counterclockwise. The Portland Streetcar runs through the center of PSU campus, including stops in the Urban Center Plaza and Park Blocks. The Portland Streetcar is FREE to all PSU students—the PSU ID card is valid fare.

Other Transportation

BIKETOWN: This bike-sharing program has 1,000 bikes at over 100 stations around Portland available for rent. PSU students get 90 minutes of ride time on BIKETOWN bikes per day FREE. To take advantage of this, students must sign up for a PSU Student Plan.

Portland Aerial Tram: This tram is as much a tourist destination as it is practical transportation, carrying riders 500 feet above the city with breathtaking views. It connects the South Waterfront district to the main Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) campus.

LIFT Paratransit Service: TriMet offers shared-ride public transportation services for people with a disability or disabling health condition that makes them unable to use regular buses or trains. Rides are arranged in advance by reservation.

WES (Westside Express Service) Commuter Rail: Unlike the MAX, this rail line only serves commuters West of the Willamette (Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin and Wilsonville), running during morning and afternoon rush hours every 30 minutes.

Cost

The TriMet system allows people to ride all buses, Streetcar, MAX and WES with a single valid TriMet fare. Individual adult tickets can be purchased at $2.50 for 2.5 hours or $5.00 for all day.

The TriMet Hop card allows riders to tap their card on the green Hop reader when they get on. The Hop card charges riders and keeps track of their fares—Hop card users never pay more than a day pass in a day or month pass in a month ($100 per month). A monthly pass is also valid on the Aerial Tram. The Honored Citizen Hop card gives reduced fare to low-income riders, seniors and riders with disabilities. Honored Citizens pay up to 50% less than standard adult fare.

The Hop card can be purchased and reloaded at hundreds of local stores, including supermarkets, pharmacies and convenience stores. They can also be reloaded online or by app, making them convenient and easy to use. Android users can also download a virtual Hop card, so they can tap their phone on the Hop reader to purchase fare. The TriMet Tickets app allows users to purchase single day tickets on their phone.

PSU students can also get the Student FlexPass, a reduced-rate, quarterly transit pass valid on all TriMet buses, MAX trains, Streetcars, WES train, Aerial Tram and C-Tran local bus services (buses running in Clark County, Washington, and into Portland). The 3-month FlexPass costs $174, compared to $100 per month for public TriMet rate. The pass is a sticker applied directly to the PSU ID. The FlexPass, unlike the Hop card, is not scanned when riders enter transit, it just needs to be displayed to show valid fare.

Navigating

The PSU Campus Map is a good place to start to get a sense for the transit options and where they stop on campus.

Google Maps is an excellent app to use in determining your the best route to campus. It has fairly up-to-date arrival times and allows for trip customization, like prioritizing shortest walking distance or fewest transfers.

TriMet has an extensive list of third-party apps that can help show real-time arrivals and plan trips.

The BIKETOWN app allows users to find bike stations and pay as they ride—remember PSU students get 90 minutes per day free.

Tips and Tricks

TriMet buses often have many small stops along their routes, so they do not announce every stop. Riders unfamiliar with the area may find it helpful to watch their movement and track stops on a map app or tell the bus driver where they want to get off.

Bus drivers check fares as riders get on, but there is no consistent system for checking fares on MAX and Portland Streetcars. Transit police officers periodically check fares and issue warnings, citations and exclusions for riders without a valid fare, so riders should remember to always have valid fare on them.

Most of Portland’s public transit does not run between midnight and 5 a.m., so riders should make sure to understand the schedules and know how they will get to their destination ahead of time.  

TriMet periodically offers free transit rides and extended late-night hours on holidays to keep Portlanders safe, so stay informed about these offers by following TriMet on Twitter.

Check out PSU’s Transportation & Parking Services to learn more.

5 Ways to Ease Homesickness

5 Ways to Ease Homesickness

For many students, going to college might be the first time they’ve been away from home for more than a couple of weeks. And when students finally have some free time from their school work, they might be unable to afford that plane ticket back home. All that extra time to think means more dwelling on what they’re missing.

If you’re feeling that homesickness bug, we have some helpful suggestions for you.


Find Community on Campus

One of the best ways to beat homesickness is to find a community of like-minded people and form friendships. Joining a PSU student group that matches your interests is an easy way to find that community—a whole group of people passionate about the same thing as you! With everything from a PC gaming club to an environmental club, you’re bound to find something that peaks your interest.

At PSU, there are thriving communities you can connect with in our many Resource Centers. In addition to fostering community, these centers provide services to students in their population that make PSU accessible. Check them out:

At many of these Resource Centers, you can even become a volunteer. In fact, there are many volunteer opportunities at PSU—check out the Student Community Engagement Center for more information and their event calendar. If you want to connect with fellow students while making some money, getting an on-campus job could be a great option too.

If the big groups intimidate you, reach out to a peer or roommate to see if they’re interested in seeing a movie at the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student-run cinema on campus that’s free for PSU students.

Stay Active

It’s widely known that getting exercise helps release chemicals in the brain that boost your mood, so get active! PSU has a large Campus Rec Center that’s free for students to use at any fitness level or ability—all you need to do is sign an electronic release form and bring your PSU ID when you go. Campus Rec offers exercise equipment, a pool, a rock climbing wall, a hot tub and more.  In addition to having awesome gym equipment, Campus Rec hosts classes and special events on and off campus. You can even sign up for trips to explore Oregon’s beautiful landscape.

Sometimes all it takes is getting out of the house. Traveling around Portland can be tricky—there’s all the bridges, traffic and weather to deal with—but fortunately the public transit options can get you around town without the stress. A day pass that works on all Trimet vehicles costs about the same as a fancy-coffee-shop drink, and the Portland Streetcar is always free for PSU students. Students can even get reduced-rate transit passes.

Eat Familiar Foods

Missing that Frito pie, breakfast taco or latke? Portland may be a foodie city, but it may be hard to find your favorite foods from back home. Fortunately, there are so many restaurants and food carts around Portland and on campus that cater to every type of food, so you’ll find something that hits the spot.

For students, money’s can be sparse, so making familiar foods at home may be the best option. Grab some free food from the PSU Food Pantry and the Harvest Share Free Food Market, both programs dedicated to making nutritious food available to students at no cost. With all that great food, you can plan a potluck to connect with friends. It’s the perfect opportunity to have everyone fix their favorites from back home.

Make Video Chat Dates

Even though these are all great options, there’s nothing that beats spending time with your parents, siblings or friends who live far away. When you can’t travel to see them, video chatting is often more personal than just a phone call. Most phones now have the ability to make video calls, and there are so many free services to use: Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts and Skype, just to name a few. Schedule a time to talk with a family member or friend (accounting for any time difference, of course). You can even plan a movie date, starting the movie at the same time and talking while you watch.

Use Mental Health Resources

Sometimes homesickness stems from deeper issues. In that case, these little comforts can only do so much. You should take advantage of any counseling services available. PSU students taking five or more credits have access to free counseling services through the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), regardless of whether they have PSU insurance. SHAC offers individual and group counseling, crisis counseling, LD/ADHD testing and more. When PSU is in session, they even have a Mind Spa, a space for relaxation through meditation, yoga, biofeedback, massage and light therapy—during those rainy Portland months, getting a little extra light can help a lot.

If you can’t make it to SHAC during their office hours, you can reach out to the Multnomah County Crisis Line or check out more Portland-based or national resources.


At PSU, we have a diverse, accepting population of students, faculty and staff. So even though homesickness happens when you’re away from family, friends and that familiar environment, we know you’ll be able to make a home at PSU as well.

Trading Deserts for Forests to Study Film

Fernando Gomez on PSU campus

Finding the perfect college match can be as much about the city as the school. Fernando Gomez had his heart set on Oregon, someplace vastly different from his Arizona home, so he traveled around the state to check out different universities. But his love affair with Portland began when he toured Portland State’s campus.

A new transfer student in the School of Film, Fernando knew going to college in a city with a large art scene was a major factor in his decision.“I wanted a change, and Portland is a 180 degree difference from the Phoenix metro area. The weather is cool, the city is culturally diverse, and it’s cheaper than all the other big cities that would allow me to study film.”

When Fernando decided to transfer from Scottsdale Community College, he considered schools in different states, but he was on the hunt for something in Oregon. It was only after he realized PSU checked everything off his must-haves list that he found out about the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE), a resource that makes getting a degree more affordable for out-of-state students from participating states. “I found out about WUE after I was accepted to PSU. I got a call from one of the admissions counselors, who told me I qualified. I’ve always been a full-time student, so it’s necessary for me to find ways to pay for school. I knew I wanted to attend PSU, so WUE was just a bonus!” Qualifying students pay 150% of resident tuition—for the 2018-19 academic year, that’s $13,107 compared to $27,437 for out-of-state tuition.

Fernando keeps costs down by living on campus. He doesn’t need to worry about paying for gas, parking and upkeep on his car because everywhere he regularly goes is in walking distance from campus. He also likes how many opportunities there are in downtown Portland for people interested in film, like the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student-run cinema on campus that’s free for PSU students. “I’m always getting emails from the School of Film about internships, film festivals and film scholar talks. I was getting these emails long before I got here, so I already had an idea about the film culture in Portland.”

And the film program makes it easy for its students to get involved and get hands-on experience. “PSU has great equipment available for students.” Fernando frequently checks out equipment and treats the city as his subject, capturing video for class projects. “I go walking or running downtown to take video of things that interest me.”

Fernando likes that the film faculty have real-world experience—his faculty get him access to many people who work in the film industry. “My professors are very accredited, more than the ones I had back in Arizona.” Even though Fernando is older than the traditional college student, he has connected with people in his cohort too. “A couple guys came up to me early on, and we’ve been working together ever since. We have the same goals and mindset despite being different ages.”

Though this is Fernando’s first term at PSU, he’s already found his place. Portland is his education and inspiration.

Want to start your own love affair with Portland by attending PSU? Discover how you can make that happen.

Find out more about WUE and Fernando’s experience on our dedicated blog.

Making Art…Into a Career

Katie sits in the Park Blocks drawing in her sketchbook.

It’s pretty common to hear people say that getting a humanities degree is pointless. Well, Katie Pearce, a transfer student in her senior year studying Graphic Design, is here to tell you that’s wrong.

In her hometown of Pendleton, Oregon, Katie felt there weren’t many opportunities to pursue an art career. “In high school, I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t figure out how to make art into a career choice.” Katie decided to attend Blue Mountain Community College while she was figuring out what she wanted to study. But when it came time for her to transfer her credits to a university and finish her bachelor’s degree, she realized that PSU’s Graphic Design program was the perfect next step.

“When I was in community college, it felt like an extension of high school, but when I got to PSU it felt more like a professional environment that still allowed me to make art.”

So what prompted Katie to commit to studying graphic design? “For me, graphic design is such an important thing. It’s in everything that we do, and if we didn’t have it, we’d notice.”

Katie’s journey to a career in graphic design has been in the works since she was little. “I grew up using technology and am an aesthetically-minded person. I’ve been using Photoshop since I was nine years old, and I never really put it together that this is a skill.”

For Katie, graphic design is that perfect balance between the technical and the artistic. PSU is challenging her to apply those skills in her graphic design coursework. “The portfolio review is something all graphic design students have to pass to advance in the program. You compile eight to ten of your best projects. It’s a good assessment of your skills and forces you to learn to analyze your own work.”

It’s not just the coursework that makes PSU an excellent fit for Katie. “I love that campus is in downtown Portland. There are so many interesting people, and it’s such a lively campus.” The Portland Streetcar runs right through the center of campus, and it’s one of Katie’s favorite parts, “I need to say how much I love the streetcar. I recommend riding it all the way around to see what’s in Portland!” The Portland Streetcar is free to PSU students―just one of many transportation resources that make it cheap and easy to get around the city.

So what is Katie doing to get closer to making a career out of art? “Recently I started a graphic design internship at CD Baby Publishing, a music publisher here in Portland. I’m already getting to use skills I learned in school.”

Katie emphasizes that transferring to PSU was a great decision because, not only is she truly enjoying her coursework, but she has already made connections in her industry. PSU’s location in the heart of Portland gives students access to local companies and opportunities to learn from professionals in their field.

And Katie’s not alone—PSU enrolls around 1,800 transfer students every year! If you’re considering transferring to PSU from a college in Oregon, or even out of state, there are lots of resources available to make completing your degree easy. You may qualify for Transfers Finish Free, a program that covers standard tuition for Oregon residents.

Check out how you can take the leap and transfer to PSU.

Photo of Katie at Be Honest, the PSU Graphic Design student portfolio showcase, standing behind her work.
Photo of Katie at Be Honest, the PSU Graphic Design student portfolio showcase. Check out Katie’s work!