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: Not necessarily! There are often many more financial aid, grant (aid that does not need to be repaid), and especially scholarship opportunities for incoming freshmen when applying to a university. We understand that there are many paths on the road to getting a college education, and going directly to a university may not be right for everyone, so it is important to talk with your counselors and parents to determine what the best way forward for you.
Myth: Incoming freshmen are required to live on campus at PSU.
Fact: Campus housing at PSU is always optional. We are pretty proud of our Residence Life program here at PSU, though. In fact, students who participate in our Living Learning communities typically have GPAs a whole point higher by sophomore year. Living on campus for your first year is highly encouraged, and is guaranteed for any students who applies before May 1st.
Myth: It is difficult to take all my classes AND graduate in four years.
Fact: Not at all! Allow us to introduce to our Four-Year Degree Guarantee. We promise that full-time freshmen who sign an agreement will get the support and courses necessary to graduate in four years — or PSU will not charge them tuition for any remaining required courses. Students pay for only four years. That’s our guarantee.
Myth: Freshman courses at large public universities usually have over 100 students.
Fact: The average freshman class size at PSU is only 24! That 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 all of the clubs and organizations other large public universities have.
Fact: This couldn’t be further from the truth. We’ve got a lot going on at PSU! We have more than 200 student clubs, NCAA Division 1 sports, club sports teams, Greek Life, a student newspaper, a student run radio station, and so much more. We guarantee that every student will find something to be passionate about beyond the classroom.
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!