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PSU enrollment remains strong for fall

Elizabeth Larson first tried her hand at the California fashion business, then looked into becoming a nurse before settling on the field that she’s decided to pursue—naturopathic medicine.

“I’ve always been fascinated by anatomy and the way the body works,” Larson says. “And I like that PSU has a direct path to a degree. They know the direction I need to go and how to get there.”

Larson (pictured on the homepage) is among the thousands of new students, from all points of Oregon and the globe, who are heading to campus this fall. When classes start Sept. 29, Portland State will welcome one of the biggest, most diverse groups of incoming students in its history.

Continued high enrollment numbers at PSU are no accident, says Cindy Skaruppa, associate vice president for Enrollment Management.

“We as a campus understand that enrollment is top priority,” Skaruppa says. “The entire campus community has reached out to prospective students.”

Over the years, the university has become more strategic with its recruiting efforts, Skaruppa says. The result is a higher percentage of accepted students who enroll.

Although the numbers will continue to fluctuate until early in the term, preliminary figures show about 4,000 freshmen and new transfers have enrolled for fall term. In other words, a city the size of Reedsport is about to arrive in the Park Blocks to join the other 25,000 or so students.

Among them are nearly 100 international students, with the biggest number coming from China. Close to 20 percent of the incoming freshmen identify as Latino or Hispanic.

For freshmen, the crowds and the sheer size of the campus can be daunting at first. But there are lots of ways to get help to find your way around, says J.R. Tarabocchia, outreach coordinator in the Student Affairs office.

“The best advice I have is not to be afraid to ask for help,” Tarabocchia says. “Faculty, staff and even fellow students can be excellent resources.”

During the first few days of the fall term, tables will be set up in high traffic areas to offer directions and handle other questions, he says. Also, students can access a campus map on PSU’s mobile app.

Another reason for PSU’s popularity? As Realtors like to say: Location. The university’s urban setting is a huge draw.

“I like things that are quirky and different and interesting,” says Larson, the California transfer student. “And Portland definitely has a whole lot of that.”

PSU's incoming class, Fall 2014 Freshmen Transfer
*Total 1,834 2228
No. 1 major Psychology Psychology
No. 2 major Biology Business Administration
International 91 110
Top nation China China
Top out-of-state California California

*As of Aug. 20. These numbers likely will change by the start of fall term.