Admissions Events Breakdown

Admissions Events

Every year, we host many events to welcome prospective and admitted undergraduate students to Portland State. But what do all the admissions events mean? We’ve compiled a list of all the admissions events, so you can figure out which ones you should attend.


For Prospective Students:

Campus Tours

PSU hosts guided campus tours most weekdays. Prospective students and their families will learn about the admissions process and go on tour around campus, led by one of PSU’s Student Ambassadors. Tours take about 75 minutes, and you will get to walk through the Park Blocks, tour some of our historic and renovated buildings, see the PSU Library and Viking Pavilion and check out campus housing. Sign up!

Honors Visit Days

If you are a prospective or recently admitted honors student, you can attend an Honors Visit Day, which includes an information session, campus tour and visit to the Honors Commons and Honors College housing. Register by selecting a visit labeled “HN.”


For Prospective Freshmen:

Preview Day

In the fall, high school seniors and their families are invited to this event on PSU’s campus to participate in fun activities and speak to current students, staff and faculty. You’ll get to hear about different academic departments and tour our 50 acre campus. You’ll also get to eat lunch on us at the farmers market or one of our many food cart options, which are set up along the Park Blocks. Learn more.

Bridges

High school students who are first generation and/or from ethnically diverse backgrounds are invited to this annual event, which happens in November. Students must attend as part of a school or organization. At this event, you will take part in a series of workshops and tours designed to help you make an informed decision about what career path you’re interested in and where you’ll go to college. You will learn about the admissions process, financial aid, scholarship opportunities and how to be a successful student at PSU! Learn more.

Viking Scholars

PSU hosts this event every May to honor high-achieving Oregon high school juniors. You must have a GPA of 3.50 or higher and be nominated by your high school counselor to attend. Nominated students and their families are invited to the Viking Scholars Reception, where they will be served dinner and celebrate their achievements. All students who attend will receive a $1,000 scholarship to be applied to their first term of full-time enrollment at PSU. Nominated students can register here.

VIP Vikings

Attendees to the Viking Scholars Reception who are also admitted to and enroll in the University Honors College will be invited to this event, which is held in August. Prospective Honors students and their families will enjoy an ice cream social and meet with current Honors students, faculty and staff. To top it off, all students who attend will be awarded an additional annual $3,000 scholarship. Qualifying students will receive an email invite.  


For Prospective Transfers:

Transfer Open House

These monthly events are for students interested in transferring to PSU. You will get to know PSU’s campus and meet with admissions and financial aid representatives. If you bring your official transcripts and apply to PSU 48 hours before attending, you’ll get an instant admission decision and have your $50 application fee deferred! See schedule.

Transfer Workshops

If you can’t make it to PSU’s campus for Transfer Open House, see if there’s a Transfer Workshop happening near you. PSU admissions counselors travel to community colleges around the Portland Metro area to answer your questions and help you with the admissions process. If you bring your official transcripts and apply to PSU 48 hours before attending, you’ll get an instant admission decision and have your $50 application fee deferred! See dates and locations.

Transfer Consultation

Admissions counselors frequently hold Transfer Consultations on community college campuses and at PSU. This is your chance to meet one-on-one with a counselor, who can answer any questions you have about becoming a PSU student. See Schedule.


For Admitted Students:

Admitted Student Reception

Admitted students are invited to celebrate their acceptance to PSU! At this event, you get to meet future peers and learn about the next steps for enrollment, financing your education, campus housing and more. These events are held at different locations around the country, including one on PSU’s campus. Sign up!

New Student Orientation

All new PSU undergraduate students are required to attend Orientation before they can register for classes. At Orientation, you’ll get to know the campus, learn about student resources and support services, register for your first term of classes and more. Before you can sign up for Orientation, you must confirm your enrollment. Sign up for Orientation!

Viking Days

PSU kicks off each school year by hosting this big celebration the week before classes start in September. The schedule of events includes a lip sync battle, SHAC block party, a drag show and more! This is the perfect opportunity to connect with fellow students and make PSU your new home. Learn more.


Make sure to take advantage of PSU’s many admissions events! They’re designed to answer your questions and welcome you to our diverse student body at PSU.

Still trying to decide where you’ll go to college? Check out our blog about National College Decision Day and tools to help you decide.


Know Your Dates: Freshmen

Of all 365 days in the year, there are some that tend to carry more weight. You’ve got your birthday (that’s a big one), the first day of summer (can’t forget that), and of course 7/11’s Free Slurpee Day (we know that’s really important).

At PSU, we can think of a few more. The college application process can be confusing—so many dates and deadlines swirling around. But we will make it easy.

We’ve compiled a list of all the dates you should have on your calendar. Save them in your phone now (or on paper, if you’re old school).


AUGUST 1

The PSU Admissions Application is available! This is where it all begins. We start accepting applications early so you can have as much time as possible to complete yours. Even though the deadline seems far away now, it will sneak up on you. You should get a head start on your application, so you can focus on connecting with an advisor, deciding where you’ll live and figuring out how you’ll pay for college.

OCTOBER 1

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available. This is the form that lets you know what financial aid options you are eligible for—you’ll also need to fill out a FAFSA in order to submit a scholarship application at PSU. This is a crucial step in getting the money you need to pay for college. When you fill out a FAFSA, remember to add PSU as one of your colleges.

The PSU Scholarship Application. If you haven’t already started your Scholarship Application, now is the time. The scholarships have different requirements, like essays and references, so you won’t be able to wait until the last minute to complete it. Apply early so you can be sure you get the most money possible to help pay for college.

DECEMBER 1

Your Honors College Application. This is a priority deadline for freshmen. Students who apply by the priority deadline will get an Honors College admission decision by March 1. Though this is not a hard deadline, applying after December 1 makes students far less likely to get Honors scholarships.

FEBRUARY 1

Your PSU Scholarship Application, essays and references. This is a hard deadline, so you must get all your documents in by February 1. Get started early!

The FAFSA. We have a rolling deadline for FAFSA, but like all parts of the application process, it’s best to do this early. February 1 is also the deadline to submit the FAFSA to be eligible for Four Years Free (Oregon residents only).

Last day to apply to PSU to be eligible for the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Luckily, there is no separate application required—you will automatically be considered for WUE when you turn in your PSU Admissions Application.

Admitted Student Reception sign ups open!

The hard part’s done, but once you get an admission decision, there are a few important dates you’ll need to know!

APRIL 1

New Student Orientation sign ups open. We recommend signing up for Orientation as early as possible. To gain access to sign ups, you’ll have to confirm your enrollment.

MAY 1

Last day to apply to PSU to be considered for Four Years Free (Oregon residents only). There’s no separate application—you will be automatically considered when you submit your Admissions Application.

Confirm your enrollment to PSU. May 1 is National College Decision Day, so students all around the country are making the big decision about where they will attend college. Apply early so you have enough time to weigh your options and make the choice that’s right for you. As soon as you confirm your enrollment, you can sign up for New Student Orientation and start preparing for your first term as a PSU Viking!

Apply for on-campus housing during your first year. This is the final deadline.

AUGUST 1

Final high school transcripts are due.

YOU’RE DONE!

Now you can sit back, relax and take a big sigh of relief. As long as you start early, completing your PSU application is painless. Applying to PSU is quick and easy because we do not require an essay or letters of recommendation!

Review PSU’s freshman admissions requirements.

Know Your Dates: Transfer

Alright, you’ve made up your mind. You’re going to transfer to PSU and finish your degree. It’s time to start getting your application together. We know at times the process can be confusing, so we’ll go through each important date and deadline to explain what is needed from you.

Let’s get started!


AUGUST 1

The PSU Admissions Application is available! We begin accepting applications early because we want you to have the most time to submit your application. We get it—life happens, but remember, if you can get your application submitted early, then you can focus on connecting with an advisor, deciding where you’ll live and figuring out how you’ll pay for college.

OCTOBER 1

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available. This is the form that lets you know what financial aid options you are eligible for—you’ll also need to fill out a FAFSA in order to submit a scholarship application at PSU. This is a crucial step in getting the money you need to pay for college. When you fill out a FAFSA, remember to add PSU as one of your colleges.  

The PSU Scholarship Application. If you haven’t already started your Scholarship Application, now is the time. The scholarships have different requirements, like essays and references, so you won’t be able to wait until the last minute to complete it. Apply early so you can be sure you get the most money possible to help pay for college.

FEBRUARY 1

Your PSU Scholarship Application, essays and references. This is a hard deadline, so you must get all your documents in.

Your Honors College Application. This is a priority deadline for transfers. However, after February 1 students are far less likely to get honors scholarships.

The FAFSA. We have a rolling deadline for FAFSA, but like all parts of the application process, it’s best to do this early.

Last day to apply to PSU to be eligible for the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE). Luckily, there is no separate application required—you will automatically be considered for WUE when you turn in your PSU Admissions Application.

Admitted Student Reception sign ups open!

The hard part’s done, but once you get an admission decision there are a few important dates you’ll need to know!

APRIL 1

New Student Orientation sign ups open. We recommend signing up for Orientation as early as possible. To gain access to sign ups, you’ll have to confirm your enrollment.

MAY 1

Confirm your enrollment to PSU. May 1 is National College Decision Day, so students all around the country are making the big decision about where they will attend college. Apply early so you have enough time to weigh your options and make the choice that’s right for you. As soon as you confirm your enrollment, you can sign up for New Student Orientation and start preparing for your first term as a PSU Viking!

Apply for on-campus housing. This is the final deadline.

JUNE 1

Last day to apply to PSU to be considered for Transfers Finish Free. There’s no separate application—you will be automatically considered when you submit your Admissions Application.

AUGUST 1

Final high school transcripts are due.

YOU’RE DONE!

Whew. We know, it’s a lot, but if you start early it’s a breeze. Applying to PSU is quick and easy because we do not require an essay or letters of recommendation!

Review PSU’s transfer admissions requirements.

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!

8 Things to Do to Prepare for a College Fair

Who doesn’t love a fair? I sure do, but I know I’m biased. A college fair is a useful start for considering the next step for your future, but truth be told, a college fair can be overwhelming. There are ways, however, you can prepare for these informative events. These steps will help you get the low-down on colleges that pique your interest and help you make meaningful connections with admissions counselors.

Here are eight things you can do to get the most out of your time at a college fair:

1. Do Your Research

Think about what is most important to you in a college or university beforehand and talk with your family about what qualities would make the best fit. Want to live in the city? Are you interested in an all-star soccer team? Do you have concerns about tuition costs? It may be helpful to make a list and prepare questions you want answered to save time.

2. Get Organized and Prepare Contact Information

Make sure to bring a binder or folder to keep all of your information organized. Our job as admissions counselors is to help guide you through the school selection and application process, so you won’t want to lose the contact information of a school or admissions counselor you really liked. Also, you can save yourself the time and pain of handwriting your contact information on interest cards by preparing a sticky label with your name, contact information, date of birth, and year of graduation. This way we can keep in touch and send you the correct information for application deadlines, upcoming events and important updates specific to you.

3. Keep an Open Mind

Talk to schools you do not know much about and keep an open mind. You may find some schools that you never considered as a choice. There are so many options out there!  I would never have ended up at my Alma mater if I hadn’t been open to changing my original plan.

4. Arrive Early

Come early, check out the scene, and then decide who you are going to talk to. This will give you ample time to assess the scene and get more one-on-one time with counselors, allowing you to meet more people and get more questions answered!

5. Introduce Yourself and Exchange Information

Never be afraid to walk up and introduce yourself—and using firm handshake is always a nice touch! One of the best parts of my job is meeting new people, so let us get to know you. We expect students to ask questions and will need help getting through this process, and it’s our job to help! If you find a college counselor you really like, ask for their business card and give them your information. This shows that you are personable and making an effort to find the best choice for your future college career. Plus, creating a relationship with your admissions counselor early will mean that you’re better prepared and ahead of the game.

6. Ask Questions to Get the Answers You are Looking For

Don’t let us do all the talking. Take the time to think about questions that prompt meaningful information you couldn’t get from a website or brochure. Try asking questions that do not involve a yes or no answer. Also, remember that this is your college experience, so don’t hide behind your parents.

7. Follow-up

Send thank you cards or e-mails with follow up questions. I love hearing from students I meet at college fairs! Putting in that little bit of effort makes you stand out from the crowd. Admissions counselors meet a lot of students, so it makes us more willing to advocate for students we remember well.

8. Take Time to Reflect

Dedicate time after the event to organize your thoughts and contact information. There is a lot of information exchange at college fairs, making it easy to get lost in the shuffle. You can keep track of all this information by making a spreadsheet and ranking your schools by your interest level. This will help you know where to focus your next steps.


PSU Admissions representatives visit high schools, community colleges and participate in college fairs regionally, nationally, and internationally throughout the year.

Select your region and see when a PSU representative will be near you!

Built Around You: PSU’s Rolling Admissions Deadline

Getting sick, landing a new job, moving across the country or even across the street — not everything sticks to a tight schedule.

So why should your college admissions application?

Rolling Deadline

We understand that sometimes life happens, and to accommodate we have a rolling deadline for admission here at PSU. That means that though we have a few firm deadlines — scholarship availability, on-campus housing, and eligibility for WUE, Four Years Free and Transfers Finish Free — applications for admissions are accepted nearly year-round.

Though we have a rolling admissions deadline it’s important to remember that the earlier you apply the more likely you are to get into certain courses and receive PSU-specific scholarships (deadlines for which are always in the fall term).

The Perks

  • You hear back fast. We know how stressful it can be to wait. Our submission window means that before the priority deadlines (Dec. 1 for Freshman and Feb. 1 For Transfers) you’ll hear from us in about two weeks! Even past those deadlines you can expect a response in less than a month.
  • Always accessible. Our rolling application deadline means that you can apply early or late in the admissions process. Want to apply a year in advance of your start term? Perfect. What about just a few months before? Works for us. All we care about is you applying and getting one step closer to that dream career.
  • Immediate action. A rolling application process means that your applications is looked at as soon as it is received by our admissions team. This means a faster response and an almost immediate notification if your application is missing any components. We want you to have the most possible time to get everything together before any financial aid deadlines.

At PSU, supporting our students and prospective students is the number one priority, and our rolling admissions deadline ensures that applicants have ample time to apply and get into college. You want to make a difference, and our job is to help make that happen.

*Did you know that students interested in transferring to PSU don’t have to finish up their summer term before applying? You can apply while taking classes at another institution and submit transcripts later! Just another way PSU makes applying easy.

Review our admissions requirements and priority deadlines (used for determining financial aid awards) and submit your application today. Or tomorrow. Whenever works for you. But you know what they say, there’s no time like the present.

A List of College Admissions Terms You Need to Know

At times, it can seem like colleges are speaking a foreign language.

Freshman, Honors, Transfer, Liberal Arts, Matriculate — Hold on a second, let’s back up.

We know that there is a lot of language that you may be unfamiliar with in the admissions process. And while it’s probably better than speaking in emojis, we understand that we may need to elaborate on a few of the terms we use.

Allow us to teach you how to speak college and understand the meaning of these important terms.


Undergraduate (Scrabble score: 16).

Any student at PSU who is in the process of earning their bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s (Scrabble score: 16).

The degree awarded to students after completing their undergraduate coursework. With PSU’s Four-Year Degree Guarantee, you can get your Bachelor’s Degree as quick as possible.

Liberal Arts (Scrabble score: 13).

A general term for academic subjects such as literature, philosophy, mathematics, and social and physical sciences.

Freshman (Scrabble score: 16).

A first-year student at a university. Freshman at PSU often live in on-campus housing, participate in Orientation and take Freshman Inquiry courses.

Transfer (Scrabble score: 11)

Any student who is taking undergraduate courses at PSU after participating in courses at another college or university after they have graduated from High School.  Note, we understand some High School students can take college classes while still in High School. Any current High School student applying for admission to PSU will be considered a “Freshman Applicant” regardless of how many college classes they will have taken prior to graduating from High School. That student may not be considered a Freshman once they matriculate (see below for definition) based on the number of college credits they transfer in.

Honors College (Scrabble score: 19).

An academically-intense course of study at PSU focused around community. Honors College applications are filled out separately and have different requirements.

Lower Division (Scrabble score: 20).

Classes offered at the freshman or sophomore level. Generally, lower-division classes will be in the 100-200 range and are often classes that prepare you for your intended major. All community college courses are considered lower division.

Upper Division (Scrabble score: 21).

Classes offered at the junior or senior level. Generally, upper-division classes will be in the 300-400 range and are often classes that delve specifically into specific topics relating to certain major programs.

Quarter (Scrabble score: 16).

PSU divides the school year up into quarters (sometimes called “terms”), rather than semesters. Each quarter you will take new classes. Most freshman start in the fall quarter and graduation takes place at the end of the spring quarter.

Fall Quarter: September – December
Winter Quarter: January – March
Spring Quarter: March – June
Summer Quarter (optional): June – September

Registrar (Scrabble score: 10).

The registrar’s office at PSU keeps track of all student records. The registrar is also where you can change your major, order official transcripts and register for classes.

Matriculate (Scrabble score: 15).

You’re in! To matriculate means to be fully admitted and enrolled at PSU!


Whew! That’s a lot, but now you should be armed with all the knowledge you need to attack the application process. And of course, if you see something you can’t quite decipher, you can always contact us at the Office of Admissions and we can help you out.

University Honors at PSU: Like Nothing Else

At PSU, we pride ourselves on being unique. We have a unique campus, unique students, and especially unique street food.

But more than any of that we have a unique approach to education. In no place does that stand out more than PSU’s Honors College.  

PSU’s nationally recognized Honors College has supported and inspired some of the university’s most high-achieving students for more than 40 years. Our Honors College offers the atmosphere of a small liberal arts school with the benefits of a large urban university, and is open to all majors.

Honors students learn to be both critical consumers and producers of knowledge, and gain the skills that prepare them to land rewarding opportunities after graduation. Honors students have gone on to remarkable careers in medicine, the arts and sciences, law, education and sustainability.

The academically intense curriculum of the Honors College prepares students for their senior thesis project. This project provides students the opportunity to work closely with a professor in their major to pursue an independent research project, which is publicly presented and published. You heard that right, published while still in your undergrad.

Students in the Honors program are connected early on with internships, fellowships and scholarships, allowing them to take their talents beyond the classroom and into Portland’s living laboratory and global contexts.

The Honors College is one of the most unique college experiences in one of the most vibrant cities in the country, and is waiting for you to join and flourish.

Learn more about Urban Honors and how to apply today!

Finding Your Fit

Composer Stephen Paulus wrote, “There is no such beauty as where you belong.” Finding where you belong is a hard, arduous process, but once it happens there is no greater feeling. For many, that place is Portland State.

Rina Alazas, a senior Community Development major from Hillsboro, Oregon, didn’t start college at PSU. “Initially, I committed to Oregon State, but after my first year, I found that something was missing.” Sometimes that missing thing can be intangible, felt more than seen.

“I didn’t feel connected to any of my professors or fellow students.”

After looking for a university that allowed her to interact more with her peers and professors, Rina transferred to PSU, a process which proved candid and intimate because of the rich community on campus. “I talked with admissions counselors and they simplified the transfer process so much for me.”

There was enough to worry about with school and work, so Rina was happy that the Admissions Counselors at PSU took time to help her understand the transfer process. “The counselors and representatives broke it down so well.”

The day that Rina chose to transfer to PSU, she decided that she would get in touch with anyone she could to help make the process easier. “I got in touch with anyone PSU-related. Student employees, random mutual friends, current students—they all gave me specific, helpful advice, everything from where the microwaves were, to the best study spots, to resource centers.”

And when she finally got here, what was different? In short, everything. “There’s just something about Portland that you can’t get anywhere else.”

The bustling, urban center is complemented by the presence of nature everywhere you look. The rich cultural diversity present all over Portland extends into PSU, making Portland State the most diverse university in Oregon. Looking for a job, internship, or community service opportunity? Portland has them all, and some are just a quick trip on the (free to PSU students) Streetcar away.  

Rina’s advice to students interested in transferring? Don’t be scared to get in touch.

“Schedule a session with an academic advisor and learn how your credits transfer. The academic counselors at Portland State are very approachable and energetic people. They definitely have your back.”

You can still apply for Fall admission to PSU! Contact an Admissions Counselor today.

Applying is Easy at PSU

It’s that time of year again, admissions season. At this point you are probably inundated by a tidal wave of application instructions, admissions requirements, and financial aid documents. Add on top of that school, work, life— and the whole process can become a little overwhelming. Is there no respite from the endlessness of the application process, one may lament.

At Portland State University, we hear these concerns, and we know that college applications can take a lot of time out of your already busy schedule. Lucky for you, we have curated all of the need-to-know information about admissions at PSU in one place.

FRESHMAN | TRANSFER | INTERNATIONAL

Knowing the necessary test scores and prerequisite classes is a great start, but we all know that there is so much more involved in successfully applying for college. No worries on that end either! Right here on the blog we have created a ton of articles that make learning about the application process as smooth as possible. Check out these posts for all the info you’ll ever need to know:

Myth vs. Fact in PSU Admissions

Creating Your Scholarship Strategy

Requesting a Reference Letter

How to Write a Scholarship Essay

Demystifying the FAFSA

Four Years Free!