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Roads to Success for Freshmen


Do you want to get a head start on your freshmen year in 2015?  Do want to meet other new students, learn about PSU and how to be successful in college all while creating lasting friendships all before your first term even starts?  Whether you plan to live on or off-campus, you are invited to join us in our amazing learning community this September!  But don't wait, we only have room for the first 60 students.  

Fall 2014 Course information:

Roads to Success (course begins 2 weeks prior to the start of the fall term)
Course Registration Number (CRN):  Contact Program Director
Subject/Course#/Section:  UNST 199  RS1
Meets from: 9:00am-4:00pm, on 9/16- 9/19 & 9/22-9/26
Location: 222 Neuberger Hall, 237 Neuberger Hall
Instructors:  Shoshana Zeisman, Liane O'Banion
Graduate Assistant: Daniel Miller

Roads to Success (course meets through fall term)
CRN: Contact Program Director

Subject/Course#/Section:  UNST 299  RS2
Meets 3:00pm-3:50pm each Wednesday from 9/29-12/10
Location:  350 Neuberger Hall
Instructors: Shoshana Zeisman, Liane O'Banion

Graduate Assistant: Daniel Miller

Program Description:

Roads to Success (RTS) is a Portland State University early start program for new freshmen. First offered in 2009, Roads provides sixty students the opportunity to learn valuable skills and be exposed to campus resources prior to their first term at PSU.

RTS students are exposed to critical academic skills; student success and college adjustment strategies, co-curricular opportunities, resource referrals and community building activities to assist in the transition from high school to the University prior to the start of fall term. Intended outcomes include increased academic success, retention and overall student satisfaction.


The primary component of Roads is a three-credit course offered the two weeks prior to the start of fall term (including Viking Days but not including Saturday & Sunday) followed by an additional one-credit seminar during fall term which meets on Wednesdays from 3-3:50pm (for a total of 4 credit hours). Approximately two-thirds of the cohort will live in the First-Year Experience Residence Hall and will move to campus early on Monday, September 15, 2014 if they let us know prior to the mid-August, 2014 deadline.


The program primarily uses Skip Downing's "On Course" curriculum and highlights the eight principles and essential qualities that successful students have and do including: accepting personal responsibility, discovering self-motivation, mastering self-management, employing interdependence, gaining self-awareness, adopting life-long learning, increasing self confidence and developing emotional intelligence. Additionally, attention is given to college adjustment issues, academic "culture", practicing tolerance, understanding diversity, academic skill building, college writing, major and career exploration, community building, exposure to campus resources and co-curricular opportunities.


You are very fortunate to have a team of experienced, dynamic and enthusiastic faculty and peer mentors to welcome you to PSU.  Shoshana Zeisman, Ed.D. and Liane O'Banion, M.S. have nearly twenty-five years at PSU between them and have both been part of RTS since the very first cohort in 2009.  To read more about the lead faculty, click here.  In addition to Shoshana and Liane, you will have a variety of peer mentors who are sophomores and returning RTS students.  These students have volunteered to come back and share their experience and wisdom with you this fall.  Peer mentors are carefully selected and then trained to assist you in your transition to college and any challenges that can arise.  Mentors will be available throughout the RTS day and also during the evening activities (the faculty have gone home by then)!  RTS takes a village to bring to you and we couldn't do it without the help of our friends in University Housing & Residence Life (UHRL).  All on-campus students will have access to a Residence Assistant (RA) on every floor who are specially trained to understand the RTS experience and UHRL professional staff who will be available 24/7.

Cost of Attendance: 

The only cost to students for Roads to Success (RTS) is the PSU tuition & fees associated with the credit hours earned which are billed as part of your fall tuition.  For questions about the cost of attendance at PSU and tuition/fees please visit the Tuition & Fees Webpage and click on "2014-15 Academic Year-Proposed." 

Meals and Housing: 

Students living in PSU Housing/FYE (does not include University Place):  Move-in for RTS is Monday, September 15.  RTS covers the additional cost of room (breakfast, lunch & dinner) and board in your assigned room for the five days prior to the start of the regular housing contact on September 20.  At that time, your meal plan kicks in and covers the duration of the RTS program.  Once you have received a confirmation of your space in from RTS (this will be before you are offically registered in the course), we will work with PSU Housing to confirm your early move-in; you do not need to do anything besides sign your contact.  For questions about applying to University Housing, please contact them directly. 

If you are planning to live at University Pointe (UP), a housing community that is not part of PSU, we may not be able to negotiate an early move-in for you.  Check with UP about early move-in dates ASAP.

Students NOT living on campus:  Roads covers the cost of lunch every day of the program (9/16-9/19 & 9/22-9/26) at Victor's in Ondine so that both on and off-campus students can eat together during the day.  

What can we possibly learn/do for all that time? 

First of all, RTS is designed to be fun.  Learning as a RTS student is done in what we call a "learner-centered" classroom, meaning YOU are the center of what we do.  This also means that you will not have to listen to faculty lecture for long periods of time.  Rather, there will be many ways that you will learn the critical success strategies that will give you the best start to your college journey; you will have a toolbox full of strategies, knowledge and resources to help not only yourself, but others too.

We have created a "sample" schedule of a typical day in the life of a RTS student though each day brings new and exciting activities, guest speakers, panels, projects and ways to connect with the PSU campus.  The first week is intentionally more academically intensive so that students can participate in Viking Days activities during the second week of RTS with all the other new students who have arrived on campus.  Many of the not-to-be-missed Viking Days activities are already scheduled into our day and we attend as a community (New Student Convocation, Party in the Park).  There will be also be scheduled "free" time during Viking Days when you can explore all that PSU has too offer alone or with other RTS students.  Your faculty will make sure you get to see and do all that is important to you during Viking Days.

Sample Schedule of a "RTS Day in the Life"

7:30-8:30am  OPTIONAL:  Breakfast at Victor's Cafe in Ondine (for on-campus students ONLY)

9-9:30am  Morning Warm-Up, Discuss daily readings

9:30-10:30am  Guest speaker from campus resource (Financial Aid, Student Legal, Queer Resource Center, Dean of Students, Student Activities, Advising, Women's Resource Center, etc).

10:30-11:30am  Class activity on daily subject from the text (self-awareness, self-management, test-taking, note-taking, interdependence, etc)

11:30-12:30pm  Lunch together at Victor's Cafe in Ondine

12:30-1:30pm  Visit on-campus resource/Field trip (during Viking Week there will be more time for this)

1:30-2:00pm  Video/movie

2:00-3:00pm   Work on class project or presentation of weeks material

3:00-4:00pm  Class activity/minute papers

4:00-7:00pm  Break, no class, on-campus students have dinner, homework

7:00-10:00pm  OPTIONAL:  Planned event with Residence Assistants (movie night, game night, walk to Voodoo donuts, Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, other fun social activities)


Required Textbook: 

There is a required textbook for Roads to Success (RTS). All students must have a copy of On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life, (2013) by Cengage/Wadsworth Learning (7th Edition). The text is available at the PSU Bookstore, Powells, and and many other online retailers. Students can also rent the text or purchase an electronic copy, depending on which format you prefer.  It is very important that you have the 7th edition of the text.

In addition, we have made the text available at the Millar Library "on reserve" at the Circulation desk on the 1st floor for check-out for up to two hours at a time (book needs to stay in the Library) per day.  

Click here to check the status of the reserve textbook in the library.  Enter "O'Banion" for the instructor name in the search box.

We hope you will join us this fall.  Fill out the information below to join our community of learners!



For additional information, contact Liane O'Banion, Assistant Director and Program Coordinator, at 503-725-9549 or Please contact 503.725.4448 or for more information.