Top 5 Reasons to Live On Campus at Portland State

Campus Housing

We know the last thing you need to worry about when you come to Portland State University for your first term is where you’ll live. You already have to deal with college applications, financial aid and scholarships essays. Not to mention jobs, chores, assignments and… you know, life.

So we’ve made it easy. Simply apply for housing by the priority deadline, May 1, and you’ll have easy access to all the beauty and excitement downtown Portland has to offer.

Here are five reasons why living on campus is a rewarding and irreplaceable experience.


1. Get better grades

National research shows that students who live on campus have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate on time than their off-campus peers.

Living on campus also means access to a ton of academic support. Academic coaching, Resident Academic Mentors and an after hours in-hall academic support center are all available to help you succeed.

2. Forge lifelong friendships

Living with your peers is an amazing way to meet new people who share your passions. You can even choose to live on floors with your Freshman Inquiry classmates. Part of PSU’s unique University Studies program, Freshman Inquiry (FRINQ) classes are a theme-based, interdisciplinary approach to education that foster close cohorts of students.

Applying to the Honors College? There are Honors-only housing, so you can be part of that dedicated, close-knit community. Are you an international student? You can live with other international students who will relate to your experience. Are you a transfer student? Well, you can live with other transfer and upperclass students as well. PSU strives to house students with people in their community.

PSU’s diverse student body means you will encounter students from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.

3. Be healthy and happy

PSU has a ton of awesome (and free) ways you can relax and stay stress free on campus. You can see a movie in the 5th Avenue Cinema, a student run cinema that plays films you wouldn’t normally get to see on the big screen—and there’s free popcorn!

Stay fit and have fun at Campus Rec. You can take a dip in the on-campus pool or hot tub, climb the rock climbing wall, attend a Zumba class and much more.

Through Student Health and Counseling (SHAC), you can also get accessible, on-campus mental and physical health services from a team of dedicated professionals. The counseling services are free for all students taking five or more credits. You can even use the Mind Spa, a space where you can meditate, do yoga, play biofeedback games, relax in a massage chair and use the light therapy alcove.

4. Stay safe

Public safety officers patrol our neighborhoods 24/7, keeping our campus community safe. Our buildings require special access, only granted to building residents. You can even use one of the call boxes throughout campus or call Campus Dispatch directly if you would like a safe walk home late at night.

Since you’ll already be on campus, you can get to class without driving in stressful rush-hour traffic. To top it off, you have easy access to all of Portland’s public transit options.

5. Save money

Living on campus means no credit checks, no worrying about paying utilities, no landlord disputes and no hassle about complicated contracts and fine print. And of course, it’s cheaper than living anywhere else downtown. Not to mention that payment plans are also available.

There are so many on-campus housing options, which range from vintage flair to modern chic. So stop worrying about where you’ll live and focus instead on what’s important: which food cart has the best gyros.


If you’re worried about moving to campus as a first year student, check out our blog all about easing homesickness—it lays out even more resources to make your transition to living on campus easy and enjoyable.

Apply for on-campus housing!

Engineering a Future for Women in STEM

Lauren Krueger, Electrical Engineer

When students start thinking about college, it can be hard to visualize what they’ll accomplish after graduating—they may not even know what they want to study, let alone what career they’ll have.

This was certainly true for Lauren Krueger, Portland State University alumni who graduated in 2013, with a degree in Electrical Engineering. At first, Lauren wasn’t sure what she wanted to study, but she knew PSU was a good option.

Now she’s an Electrical Engineer at Interface Engineering.

Initially, Lauren was drawn to PSU because it was familiar and close to home—she is a third-generation PSU student. PSU’s proximity to Portland and surrounding communities meant she could commute and reduce the cost of attending college. She ultimately decided PSU was the right choice because of its abundance of science and engineering opportunities in the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Sciences.

“Growing up I was never naturally inclined toward math or science,” admits Lauren. But despite the challenges, she studied what interested her. “During my first two years of school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, but I knew that calculus, physics and women’s studies were my favorite subjects, and that I wanted to be in a field where I could help create pathways for and elevate women and underrepresented minorities.”

“Lauren never settles for the conventional,” says Dr. Robert Bass, Lauren’s former undergraduate professor and academic advisor. “She will pursue the path that she knows is best for her, regardless of the obstacles or perceived conventions.”

She took advantage of the resources available to PSU students, including the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a program dedicated to supporting the success of underrepresented STEM majors. When she met some Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) students in the LSAMP program, she found her calling. Because she struggled with STEM subjects, she says “it took a lot of perseverance to pursue an Electrical Engineering degree.”

Lauren served on the LSAMP Student Leadership Board for three years. “She was always committed to making it smoother for students who struggled to earn a STEM degree. She used her own experiences to inspire others,” says Dr. Lorna Tran, former LSAMP Director and current Community College Liaison.

Lauren also acted as a role model for future students when she was a Student Ambassador in PSU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. She spoke with people visiting campus, led campus tours and was source of information for students. Not only did it equip Lauren with the networking skills and self-confidence she would find invaluable in her professional career, but it showed her how she could make a real impact on other students’ lives.

Dr. Renjeng Su, professor and former Dean of Maseeh College, says, “Even more impressive than Lauren’s outstanding academic performance was her effort to reach out to and help her peers. Lauren plays a valuable role in making the engineering field welcoming to women.”

She continues to give back to Portland State students today. Lauren serves on PSU’s ECE Industrial Advisory Board, where she works to draw more women into the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science. She was a panelist in a series of events for the department’s Women in ECE Night. Lauren states the goal of these events is to boost the number of women in ECE by connecting students with professional women engineers, “Being in a room of women who all are pursuing, or have completed, degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering where we could discuss our common experiences was cathartic and encouraging, and reinvigorated the inspiration that led me towards STEM in the first place.” She looks forward to representing PSU as a panelist at the LSAMP Conference at University of Washington in winter, 2019.

Lauren was recently honored with the Daily Journal of Commerce Women of Vision award, an award that recognizes women in the building industry for their mentorship and community outreach roles.

She has been working in the electrical engineering field since graduating and recently took her professional engineering (PE) exam. “I had to put in a lot of time and energy to pass the exam and was really proud to have passed it. It was the culmination of a decade of hard work.” Lauren’s continued perseverance illustrates there are opportunities for women and underrepresented people in STEM, and it is her goal to be a resource and role model for anyone ready to start forging their own path.

Learn more about how you can apply to PSU and become a student in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Sciences.

DJC Women of Vision award for making engineering field more welcoming to women.
Lauren accepting the DJC Women of Vision award.

Snow at PSU

Snow Sculpture

All Portlanders have their fingers crossed that we won’t get another snow storm like 2016, which is still referred to as the “Snowpocalypse.” Even though snow in Portland is uncommon—the campus has only been closed a few times over the years—it’s important for PSU students to know how to deal with snow if it happens.

PSU Alert

PSU’s first priority is keeping students safe. If the weather conditions make getting to and from campus dangerous, PSU will close for part of the day or completely, canceling classes and events. Notification of closures will be posted to the website, notified to the media and sent through the PSU Alert system to all students, faculty and staff. The PSU Alert system will send you updates through the contact information you provide in Banweb (PSU’s information system where students find their records, register for classes and manage their financial aid information), so make sure your information and contact preferences are up to date.

Class Cancellations

Keep an eye on the weather reports and check your pdx.edu email frequently.  Even if PSU does not close, some professors cancel class preemptively or because they can’t make it to campus. If campus is open, but you can’t make it to class safely, contact your professor ASAP—professors will accommodate students who miss class because of the weather. You should prioritize your safety and comfort over getting to class. Check out PSU’s list of emergency and public safety resources.

Transportation

Stay off the roads by taking public transit. Inclement weather can cause the transit to run behind, but the Portland’s public transit is so extensive that it can help get you to class and back home safely. Check out our blog all about TriMet’s public transit options.

The Campus Public Safety office stays open during closures, so you can reach out to them for help.

 

Winning with WUE

The Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) is a decades-old program that aims to make colleges such as Portland State, more affordable for nonresidents. Qualifying students pay 150% of in-state tuition. Resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in savings over the course of your degree. And the best part—all students are automatically considered for WUE if they apply to PSU by February 1.

Portland State University is proud to be the only research university in Oregon that participates in the WUE program.

Cost of Annual Tuition and Fees at 15 Credits Per Term (2018-19)

In-State WUE Out-of-State
$9,223 $13,107*  $27,437

*Does not include room and board, books or personal expenses.

What Is It Like Being a WUE Student?

Right now, there are over 2,000 WUE students attending PSU, 1,728 who entered as freshmen and 323 who entered as transfers. Students from almost every WUE locale attend PSU, our largest groups coming from California and Washington. But those are just the numbers. We asked Fernando Gomez, new transfer from Arizona studying film, what his WUE experience has been like.

“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!”

Because Portland is a cultural hub, students have easy access to many events. Just hop on the amazing public transit from campus—the Portland Streetcar is free to students—and get anywhere in Portland in no time. “Living on campus puts me right in the center of the city, which makes it possible for me to pursue my passions on and off campus.”

Fernando is excited that WUE is helping him afford college in a city that allows him to work toward his dream career. “The weather is cool, the city is culturally diverse, and it’s cheaper than all the other big cities that would allow me to pursue my film studies.” PSU’s Film Program, the most comprehensive film program in the Northwest, is always pushing Fernando to get involved. “PSU has great equipment available for students. There are also lots of companies in Portland that offer internships to PSU students, so they can get hands-on experience.”

WUE is just the ticket to get the out-of-state college experience without paying those prices.

Eligibility

  1. Apply for fall term by the WUE deadline: February 1 is the deadline for both freshmen and transfer students.
  2. Be a legal resident of one of the following states or territories: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Guam or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
  3. Meet PSU’s academic requirements for WUE:
    • Freshmen Academic Requirements: 3.5 cumulative unweighted high school GPA or 1270 SAT or 27 ACT composite
    • Transfer Academic Requirements: 3.0 cumulative college GPA

Learn more about WUE

The Easiest Way to Save Money: Graduate On Time

We know there’s more than one way to pursue college.

For some, the route leads them right from high school into a four year school. There are also those who enroll in community college with the goal of transferring to finish their bachelor’s degree.

Each path has their pros and cons, but they all share a common goal: getting a bachelor’s degree as fast as possible.

Studies from The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center have shown that students who start at a four-year college as a freshman are more likely to graduate on time.

Here’s what’s so great about graduating in four years:

1.  You also will save money.

That same study showed that students who stay in school for more than four years can end up paying up to 40% more. Yikes! Surely transferring from a community college is more economical? Well, it is and it isn’t. Let me explain. Although Oregon Promise, and other state-sponsored programs like it, can help ease the cost of the first two years of your bachelor’s degree at a community college, transfer students tend to fall behind when coming to a four-year university. Sometimes credits don’t transfer over perfectly, or maybe it’s just problems with adjusting to a new school, but it all means taking more time to graduate, and that can cost a lot.

Plus, PSU now offers programs to help you graduate in four years if you enroll as a freshman.

  • Four-Year Degree Guarantee means that, if you meet the eligibility requirements, you will graduate in four years or we will pay for any extra courses you have to take.
  • Four Years Free is a program that allows eligible students to go to PSU for free. You heard that right. If you are an Oregon resident and meet the eligibility requirements, PSU will pay for your tuition and fees for four years.
  • PSU offers scholarships, work study and financial aid to those who qualify, all of which can help to ease the cost of college.
  • PSU’s Diversity and Multicultural Student Services offer amazing retention programs for students in their first year at PSU to help in the transition from high school to college and they provide scholarships!

2.  You get to start your career sooner, and start making an impact.

Evelynn Moz, a recent PSU graduate, was able to work while attending PSU, knowing that she would still graduate on time. Now she’s ready to take on the world as the International Merchandising Coordinator at Columbia Sportswear.

3.  You’ll be able to develop relationships early on with our expert faculty and staff.

You’ll get to take advantage of our incredible University Studies program which helps you engage in the community and get real-world experience for the start. If you’re interested in joining the Honors College, then doing so as early as possible is the best option. You’ll get the most out of it and have a lot more to show for it when you graduate.

But what about the cost?

Choosing a college is a big choice, we get it, and regardless of where you go, it’s going to be expensive. At PSU though, what you are paying for is an investment, something that will allow you to thrive after you graduate. 

Learn about ways PSU can help you graduate in just four years!

Tips for How to Choose a Major

What fuels you?

It’s a big question, and one that you don’t need to have all figured out right now. College is, above all things, an opportunity to explore your passions and discover for yourself what kind of impact you want to make on the world around you.

The first step in that journey is choosing a major. Picking a major can be  intimidating but what’s important to remember is that it’s not permanent. At Portland State you can double major, major and minor, or even change your major part way through your education.  At PSU there are more than 120 majors, minors and concentrations for you to choose from. We’ll help you find your passion.

So, how do you choose? Here’s our tips.


1.  Ask yourself: What are my interests?

For most students, choosing a major isn’t just about career options. Rather, the choice is based on what they are passionate about. Looking back on which subjects you loved in school, volunteer opportunities that influenced you, or even the jobs of your role models can help make the choice a lot easier. What’s most important is what YOU want, not what others want for you.

2.  Compare your interests with PSU’s list of degree programs.

PSU has tons of majors to choose from, and thinking about which programs will best match up with your interests is a good way to narrow down your choices.

Love comic books and graphic novels? Try our Comics Studies program, one of the few programs of its kind in the country. Into nature? Try Geology or Environmental Science. Want to help people? We have some of the most involved Social Work and Pre-Health programs in the Pacific Northwest.

3.  Get out of your comfort zone.

Because PSU offers so many different fields of study, there are thousands of unique, interesting classes to take regardless of major or degree track. Most majors on campus encourage exploring electives and courses outside of one specific degree program so that students can gain a broader range of experiences and knowledge.

4.  Don’t worry if you haven’t figured it out just yet.

Entering as an Undecided/Exploratory major is not something that will keep you from graduating in four years. It’s not uncommon for new students to be unsure of what they want to study, and we understand this. The University Studies programs provides Undecided majors the opportunity to explore classes in a wide range of majors, but never pressures students to choose a program if they are not ready.

5.  Check out Advising and Career Services.

The Office of Advising and Career Services is an on-campus resource specifically designed to help students find their passions and land careers that use the skills they learn in the classroom.

Counselors in Advising and Career Services can help put you in touch with programs on campus that share your interests, as well as help you get started on a specific degree track. They are there to help you, and meeting with them is covered by your student fees.


No need for anxiety! Picking a major doesn’t have to be a stressful decision for you. Whether you are ready to dive into your field of study and know exactly what your major is going to work towards, or if you need some more time and want to get in the rhythm of college life, Portland State is here to support you.

Explore PSU’s 120+ majors, minors and certifications!

PSU is a Place for Community

The comfort that comes from a welcoming and accessible campus can make all the difference. If certain campus resources are offered, like those that help students graduate, it can make the task of choosing a college much easier.

Such was the case for Grace Piper, a senior Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major from Hillsboro, OR.

Portland State was a really easy decision for me.” Grace had grown up around Portland and knew about the resources and opportunities PSU offers, but there was one thing in particular that helped them decide.

“What ultimately drove me to PSU was that it was listed in the top 25 most LGBT friendly college campuses when I was applying back in 2012/2013. This year I think we actually moved into the top 10, which is really cool and important!”

Once on campus, Grace found the Queer Resource Center, a support resource for students along the sexuality and gender spectra. “The QRC was on my radar early on.” QRC events helped Grace get acclimated to campus life and surrounded them with a community that understood where they were coming from.

“At first, I felt pretty shy and nervous. I remember coming into the QRC, looking around and quickly leaving. Eventually, though, I felt comfortable hanging out more and coming to events. I have made my best friends through the QRC.”

Now Grace helps to support the QRC by acting as their Marketing Coordinator. “I first got involved after helping plan Pride Month freshman year and have been working here since.” Grace also helps plan QRC events on campus that bring students who are feeling marginalized into a safe, welcoming environment.

“I helped plan the Queer Students of Color Conference this year. Pride Month, too, which happens throughout the month of May and leads us into the city’s celebration of Pride.” The Queer Students of Color Conference (QSOCC) especially represents the broad outreach that the QRC takes on, reaching out to student populations that may feel excluded or without representation.

All students, regardless of sexual or gender identity, can utilize the services of the QRC, which gets over 3,000 visits a year.

Grace’s university outreach doesn’t just extend to the QRC, they are also a University Studies Peer Mentor, leading the Health, Happiness, and Human Rights Freshman Inquiry course.

“It has been a really cool opportunity for me. I want to go into education and advocacy work, so this position has given me a lot of experience in teaching and curriculum development.”

All of these experiences are helping Grace gain the skills they need for life after graduation. “If I can, I want to work somewhere focusing on queer and trans and/or communities of color, which pairs really well with my campus experiences.”

Grace’s advice to new students?

“Seek community. Being marginalized makes completing your degree harder, so exploring the resources available to you is really important for support and making friends. Put yourself out there to find where you feel comfortable.”

Learn more about the QRC and find more LGBTQ resources on campus.

Excellence is the Norm

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

Good call, mom.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Preview Day at PSU!

What makes PSU so great?

Is it our small class sizes? Low student to faculty ratio? What about the fact that we are the most diverse public university in Oregon?

Or maybe it’s our beautiful urban campus, nestled in the heart of Portland, you know, that awesome, vibrant, exciting place you’re always reading about.

What about the fact that 100% of our students have internships or community-based projects? Or that our graduates go on to work at innovate companies like Intel and Nike?

Still not convinced? Well, then we have a proposition for you.

preview-day-email-2

Come visit us for Preview Day, October 29th from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, and come see for yourself why Portland State is such an amazing place to study!

Don’t miss this great day of activities and opportunities to speak with current students, staff and faculty. Lunch is provided and we’re even giving away tickets to the PSU vs. Northern Colorado Football game at Providence Park! There is NO COST to attend and both students and their parents are welcome.

So don’t be a stranger, come to Preview Day and learn what makes PSU so gosh darn appealing. Come for the knowledge, stay for the food carts.