Top 12 Questions We Get About Orientation

So, you’ve been admitted to Portland State University and decided it’s the right college for you. Now what?

Attend New Student Orientation! All undergraduate students must attend Orientation before they can start their journey as a PSU student. But attending Orientation isn’t a chore—it’s a celebration of you joining our community and taking the next step in your academic journey! Orientation will help get you familiar with everything PSU has to offer and start connecting with fellow students.

We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions and the answers, so you know what to expect. If you have more questions, email us at orientation@pdx.edu.


When can I sign up?

Students who are starting in fall term can sign up for orientation starting May 8. You must confirm your enrollment prior to signing up for orientation.

Do I have to go to Orientation?

You sure do! You will not be able to register for classes until you complete an Orientation program. Besides, there’s no better way to start off your PSU experience. You’ll meet academic advisors, who are ready to support you towards graduation, and current and incoming students. You’ll also learn about PSU’s many resource centers and student groups.

How do I sign up?

Sign up online. Before you can sign up for Orientation, you must confirm your enrollment. There are many Orientation sessions to choose from, so sign up early to get the session that works best for you.

What if I’m an out-of-state student and can’t make it to an Orientation session in Portland?

If you’re from Hawaii or California, we are hosting sessions in your state! Sign up online as soon as possible, because these sessions are quickly approaching. If you are coming from another state besides Hawaii or California, or from outside of the US, contact us at orientation@pdx.edu. International students are required to attend the International Student Orientation.

What if I can’t attend any Orientation sessions?

Contact orientation@pdx.edu as soon as possible to make arrangements.

How long is Orientation?

Freshman Orientation sessions taking place on campus are full day programs. Transfer sessions are half day programs, with morning and afternoon sessions available. Out-of-State Orientations are also full day programs. You will not be able to register for classes if you do not attend the entire session. You must arrive and check in at the beginning of the session. If you miss check-in, you will have to attend another session, otherwise you will not be allowed to register for classes.

What do I need to do to attend Orientation?

After you sign up, make sure you’re ready for Orientation. Check our list of things to do to prepare for Orientation.

Do I need to bring anything?

Yes! Bring a government-issued ID, as you use this to get your PSU ID card at orientation, if you should choose to do so. We strongly suggest you bring a laptop or tablet for course registration (smartphones are not recommended). We’ve made a list of everything you’ll need to attend orientation including how to get to campus, where to park, what you’ll be doing at Orientation, answers to many of your questions and sample agendas!

Can I bring someone with me to Orientation, like a parent or guardian?

Of course! While not required, you may certainly bring a guest or two. Beginning this new chapter in your life is exciting, and we want you to share that experience.

Does it cost anything?

Incoming students attending on-campus sessions do not pay a fee to attend Orientation. However, there is a $20 fee for each guest, which helps to cover the cost of the provided meal and materials. This can be paid in advance during the session sign-up process. Incoming freshman and transfers students (and their guests) attending out-of-state sessions in Hawaii and California are each required to pay a $50 fee. These fees support the cost of hosting orientation in your area.

Will I register for classes at Orientation?

Yes! This is why attending Orientation is required. You’ll meet with advisors in your academic area of interest who will give you direction on what courses you should take. You will walk away from Orientation with a completed first-term schedule!

Will I get to tour campus?

Absolutely! We offer campus tours to our incoming students and guests at all on-campus sessions. PSU is about to be your new home, and we want you get a feel for campus!

Will I get to tour the dorms?

Yes. We offer optional housing tours at all our on-campus sessions. Tour times will be on the agenda you receive at check-in.

I’m worried because I don’t know anyone else. Am I going to meet anyone?

Since it’s Orientation, no one knows anyone else yet! You’ll meet tons of other students who will start at the same time as you. You’ll even get to spend time with others who share your major. This is the perfect opportunity to connect with peers you’ll see again on campus in September!

Who should I contact if my question hasn’t been answered here?

If you have any remaining questions after this list, get in touch with us at orientation@pdx.edu. Keep an eye out for Orientation emails. We will send you details about your Orientation session via email, so check your @pdx.edu email account.


Sign up for New Student Orientation!

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.

A Day in the Life of a Biology Major

Valeria just finished her first year at Portland State University. She is in the pre-medical track, majoring in biology.

“I chose to major in biology because I truly love science. I am also interested in pursuing a career in medicine and biology, specifically, how the human body functions and biology focuses exactly on that.”  – Valeria

Watch her video below, where she takes you into her typical day at PSU.

Meet your Orientation Leaders!

We are working hard to ensure that your orientation is everything you imagined. The Orientation Leaders are divided into teams to plan various components of the Orientation session we’re hosting for you this summer. We want you to meet the folks who are organizing the events this summer!

You must confirm your enrollment before signing up for Orientation.

Orientation Team: Bubbly Bubbles

Nettaly1

Nettaly2

Nettaly

Team Leader

Electrical Engineering

I’m the hip master flex, the swag master party thriller. Red Eagle. I’m amazing at badminton and I love film. I love collecting playing cards, and playing cards. Board games are great, too. Nationally ranked Catan player, I’ll eat your brains. Let’s go Rip City! “Lord of the rings quote”.

ann1

ann2

Ann

Returning Orientation Leader

Marketing major, French minor

Hi everyone! I hail from Taiwan but was raised in the Portland area. My involvement on campus includes being a Resident Assistant and a member of the ultimate frisbee team! Welcome to PSU and I hope we get to meet soon~

abby1

abby2

Abby

Returning Orientation Leader

Business Administration: Marketing and Advertising Management

I’m a Portland native and am very close to my family, which made PSU the perfect choice for me. In my free time, I volunteer on two non-profit boards that focus on equitable education in secondary education. I also love to sing in the University Choir, and go sailing on the Columbia River.

tiffany1

Tiffany2

Tiffany

Orientation Leader

Spanish Major

Tengo Corazón Latino, and I have an American mind. My knowledge is rich not only in what I have learned, but rich from my bilingualism, and the Mixtec culture that I am part of. I share with PSU my bicultural background from the vibrant, musical, spiciness that is entwined deep in my roots. Go PSU!

Zach1Zach2Zach

Orientation Leader

English, Law and Legal Studies

I came to Portland for all of the wonderful adventures to be had. On Fridays you can see me hiking, going to a concert, exploring one of the many diverse neighborhoods in Portland, or just wrapped in a blanket burrito trying to get an early start on homework for the weekend.

Francisco1

Francisco2

Francisco

Returning Orientation Leader

Social Work major, Community Development minor

My name is Francisco. I enjoy going on adventures, drinking Dutch Bros of course… and much more! I am a very nice and caring person.

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.