Student Spotlight: The Choice to Transfer to PSU Was Easy

I’m a senior studying international development studies. My home town is Mexico City, but I have lived in Aloha, OR for about 16 years. I have two brothers. I’m actually a twin! My brothers and I are first generation college students. My older brother graduated from PSU last year and my twin will be coming to PSU this fall, he’s transferring from PCC. I’m a Student Ambassador and I’m a mentor with the GANAS program. For fun, my friends and I like to cook and eat all types of food like Vietnamese, Korean, and BBQ. On the weekends we get together and cook big meals.

I have lived in many different places within the United States and internationally so I am not a stranger to making new friends and finding my place within a community.  Even still, I was nervous about transferring to a new school. There are many factors that can affect your decision to transfer colleges.

For me, I wanted to be confident in my decision to transfer and know that I was making the best choice to prepare me for my future plans. I always knew I wanted to go to school in a city where I would be surrounded by lots of activities and cultural events, so Portland was a great fit for me. During my decision making process, I met with student ambassadors on tours and orientation leaders. They had so much excitement about the programs and the school that I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The affordability factor was one of the main reasons that I transferred and PSU made the transfer process really easy.

To sweeten the deal, I was offered a scholarship through the GANAS program (Gaining Awareness and Networking for Academic Success). This program not only helped me financially, but it was also an important support system that helped me get to know people and feel like I was part of a community. In GANAS, students engage in cultural activities and connect with PSU programs that offer resources with a small cohort of other transfer students. It was a great way to meet new people, make connections on campus, and share the experience with other transfer students.

My advice to transfer students is to get involved in different programs and activities on campus if you want to make the most of your time and be successful. By getting involved, I have made friends, gotten scholarships, worked in various departments on campus, and even made connections for internships and jobs for when I graduate.

Transferring to a new environment, making new friends, and creating a whole new life can be overwhelming, but college can be some of the best years of your life and you have control over where you spend those years. If the only thing standing in your way on making the best out of your college experience is the transfer process, please speak to an admissions counselor today!

If you have questions about transferring, check out the Transfer Student website or reach out to your admissions counselor.

PSU Orientation Leaders Climb Trees to Prepare for New Student Orientation

You’ve been admitted. You’ve submitted your tuition deposit. You’ve signed up for Orientation. Next step? Attend Orientation! Every year we gear up to put together an orientation program that ensures your life at PSU will be smooth sailing. It doesn’t happen overnight either. Our orientation team spends months planning and training for your sessions and it starts by getting all of our orientation leaders and student ambassadors together to become supportive resources for you!

The first people you will meet are orientation leaders (OLs). OLs are your guides, your friends, and your human information booths. They know all the details about what it’s like to be a student at PSU, where the best food carts are located, how to navigate your PSU account, the best resources for registering for classes, and how you can get more involved on campus.

The Orientation Leaders join our Student Ambassadors for a retreat for team building and cohesiveness. This year’s retreat took place at Camp Collins. The team worked together to get through high rope courses, team challenges, and deep conversations to become stronger and to learn how to support each other and how to better serve new students for the upcoming orientation season.

If you haven’t signed up for Orientation, do so as soon as possible! You must submit your tuition deposit or exemption in order to sign up for Orientation.


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Earth Day 2016: Passion for Community Engagement Helps PSU Students Gain Real Job Skills

Community development and service learning are core components of the PSU academic experience. After all, our motto is Let Knowledge Serve the City, and our students are doing just that by building community connections and earning course credit and service scholarships to do it! In honor of Earth Day, we caught up with a member of the Student Leaders for Service, Randy Black, to learn more about the program and to see what our student service leaders were up to for this national day of service.

PSU Admissions (PA): What is the Student Leaders for Service (SLS) program?

Randy Black (RB): The SLS program is a one-year opportunity that offers members assistance with partnering, serving at, and reflecting on community-based experiences at community organizations. Members work with a community partner during the year to build real life experience in issues around social change and social justice. We have a wide range of organizations throughout the community that we can choose to work with, or we can bring a partner we’d like to help into the SLS program.

PA: What are the requirements?

RB: Each student leader is required to participate in a minimum of four hours per week of community service, but most of the students here are already involved in community activities and do way beyond the required minimum. There is also a seminar on Fridays that we attend to reflect on our experiences for the week and talk about our successes and challenges. So far, it is my favorite thing that I am involved with at PSU! Student Leaders for Service members are involved in many things throughout the year. We have an overnight retreat at the beginning of the year so we can get to know other student leaders from student-led organizations throughout the PSU community, and build a network of community leaders. We plan and participate in large national service day projects and serve as coordinators for Portland State of Mind Day of Service, the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and the Earth Day of Service. We also lead the Alternative Spring Break trips each year. This year we had a group work in organizations that feed the hungry in San Francisco, and another that learned about urban farming here in Oregon. I went on the San Francisco trip, and it was a transformative experience for me.

PA: How did you become involved with the SLS program?

RB: Rachel Samuelson, the program leader, came to one of my classes last school year, and was really inspiring, so I signed up for this year. I just loved the program and the experience I could gain from it.

My community partner this term is the Portland Student Food Pantry. I learned about the pantry through a Capstone class that I took on campus food security last summer. There are a lot of issues surrounding students and food security that go unnoticed. It breaks my heart, and it is something I am really passionate about. I’ve volunteered at the Oregon Food Bank and other hunger relief organizations in the past, so this was a chance to use my passion to help fellow students.

PA: Why is this program important to you?

RB: This program not only feeds my passion for community engagement and helps me to get job experience in the field I am interested in, but it also raises the spirit of public service to the next level. For me, it serves as a connection between doing things for the community and self engagement and learning.

PA: Why did you choose to study at PSU?

RB: I always knew I wanted to study in a field that had a service learning component. I was taking classes at PCC but hadn’t really decided what it was that I wanted to do with my life. Then, I found a degree program at PSU and it was just the right fit. I remember on my visit to the campus, sitting in the Smith Memorial Hall and looking out over the park blocks and thinking what a great place to be. I can really do this!


PSU student service leaders will be involved in many projects on campus for Earth Day! Check out the schedule of activities here. Interested in becoming a student service leader for 2016-2017? Apply here. Applications are due May 4th!

Ready to Transfer to PSU? Attend a Transfer Workshop

Ready to transfer to PSU? Meet Admissions Counselors and Academic Advisers during Transfer Workshops at local community colleges.

Learn More About PSUAttend a presentation about transferring to PSU:

  • Apply during the Transfer Workshop and defer your $50 PSU admission fee
  • Speak with an academic adviser. All popular majors will be represented!
  • Ask financial aid and scholarship questions
  • Learn how your credits will transfer to PSU
  • Gather information about on-campus housing options

[button link=”http://www.pdx.edu/transferstudent/workshop” size=”large” color=”purple” window=”yes”]View Dates and Locations[/button]

Sign Up for Housing for Fall 2016

Incoming PSU Students Fall 2016

Made your commitment to PSU? The housing contract for the 2016-2017 academic year is available to complete online. Sign up early to secure your preferences! If you are still awaiting an admissions decision, you can sign up while you wait. Priority deadline for new students is May 1.

[button link=”https://housingportal.pdx.edu/StarRezPortal/Default.aspx?Params=L9ezxPcQnQtHT%2fDwvmM%2bxHyVAB%2fnfyXd” size=”large” color=”blue” window=”yes”]Submit a University Housing Contract[/button]

Important Dates

March 15: 16-17 Room Selection ends for Current Residents

March 19: Winter Term Move-Out

March 26: Spring Term Move-in

March 28: Spring Term Classes Start

May 1: Priority Contract Deadline for 16-17 New, Incoming Students

May 20: Summer 2016 Cancellation Deadline for Current Residents

May 30: PSU Closed – Memorial Day

June 11: Spring Term Move-Out

June 18: Summer Term Move-In (new residents)

June 18: 2016-17 Cancellation Buyout Fees Apply

What You Should Really Be Asking at College Fairs

Every year, I go to at least 10 college fairs and I have been an admissions counselor for 4 years so you can bet that I’ve heard every question under the sun. I get common questions about course offerings, student body size and test score requirements, and the occasional unusual question like “what do they serve in the cafeteria?” College fairs are a great opportunity for you to connect with different colleges and universities to find the right fit for you and further your understanding of the admissions process. It is my job to talk to you about the opportunities Portland State University offers and guide you toward making the right choice for your future. To better prepare you for your next visit to a college fair (and your next campus visit), I’ve created a list of the top questions people ask me and what you should ask instead.

1. What students ask: “What department or program is the best at your school?”
Asking this question is like asking what your favorite Missy Elliott song is, they are all good!

What you should ask: Think about your own interests and what you hope to gain by going to college and then get more specific. Ask about class size, graduation rates, notable alumni and professors, study abroad programs, and work-study options. The best program will be the one that is matched to your interests and needs, and what you might gain from it.

2. What students ask: What is your most popular major?
Choosing a major is a very important part of the student experience, maybe even the most! Just because something is popular does not mean that you will like it.

What you should ask: Ask questions about your interests and goals so we can talk about a major that would be right for you.

3. What students ask: What are the chances that I will get in?
Admissions counselors are not evaluators, we really don’t know!

What you should ask: You can start with asking how many applicants there are and what the admission rate is. It will help to find out what makes you a competitive applicant for the school you are applying to and why.

BONUS 1: Ask about student life!
Most students I meet hone in on academics and forget to ask about another important part of choosing the right college, their social life. At PSU, we offer a diverse range of organizations to get involved in and we value what students do outside of their academic life. There is so much to do in Portland and we love talking about all of the options. The community Portland State offers outside academics is equally important to your success, and your success is our primary goal.

BONUS 2: Don’t let your parents ask all the questions.
Your parents’ opinions matter in your admission decision and even though they may be helping you financially, you are making the final decision. You are the student and the one who will be living out your college experience so you need to ask the questions. Showing your independence and making responsible choices during the admissions process might even win brownie points with your parents.

Do you have questions? Meet an admissions counselor at your school.

[button link=”https://www.pdx.edu/admissions/college-fairs-and-high-school-visits” size=”large” color=”green” window=”yes”]View PSU College Fair and High School Visit Schedule[/button]

Understanding Your Financial Aid Award

You’ve been admitted, you’ve filled out your FAFSA, you’ve received your financial aid award letter. Here are a few tips to help you understand your financial aid award.

Start by Looking at the Total Cost of Attendance

We encourage you to hit the books, do your research! Even though schools will typically only bill you for direct costs (tuition bill), it’s important to estimate your additional expenses such as housing, food, books and transportation in order to budget accurately.

Next, learn about the types of financial aid that you are eligible for

Your Financial Aid is based on many factors unique to you. (Don’t worry,  it’s all calculated  for you) here are the major ones:

Your academic record, family and finances:

  • Your financial strength (Estimated Family Contribution or EFC from FAFSA)
  • Your high school or college transfer GPA

Your college program and enrollment

  • Your admission level (undergraduate, graduate etc)
  • Your academic level (freshman, sophomore, junior etc)
  • Your enrollment level (full time, part time etc)

Your state of residence

  • In state Oregon resident
  • Out of state (not an Oregon resident)

Your financial aid package will help you make clear comparisons among the other financial aid offers you may have received.

Then, map out your degree path. Save time and money!

We are committed to helping you graduate in four years, saving you thousands of dollars in tuition and college costs. Check out this snapshot of how PSU compares to other universities in the area:

psucostcomparison

Kick the tires, crunch the numbers and get an estimate of what you’ll pay while at PSU. The bottom line is that you should know the value of your investment and shouldn’t feel like you’re throwing your money away.

Money-out-the-window

College is an investment and we want you to be successful which is why we’ve worked to ease the cost of college by offering more financial aid opportunities.

Fill in the Gaps

For some students, the financial aid programs may not cover all their costs, which means students need to find alternative options to decrease bills and increase financial aid. For other options, check out the Financial Aid Resources page at www.pdx.edu/finaid/resources

If your parents plan on helping you out, make sure you talk to them and know the difference between borrowing money in their name and your name. Paying for college can seem overwhelming but know there are lots of options so be smart, plan ahead, and only borrow what you really need so you can set yourself up for success down the road.

As always, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships for assistance with award letters or to answer any questions regarding financial aid.

Student Spotlight: Looking back to last year, why I chose PSU

By Abby Williams, Freshman Student at 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.

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!