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Roads to Success for Freshmen

Roads2Success 2016 is in-progress!  Recruitment for our 2017 class of freshmen begins in April, 2017.  Check back here in the coming months.

Program Description:

Roads2Success (R2S) 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.

R2S 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.

Fall 2016 Components:

R2S begins with a three-credit course, starting two weeks prior to fall term on Tuesday, September 13 (including Viking Days but not including Saturday & Sunday) followed by an additional one-credit seminar during fall term (for a total of four credits for fall term.  The fall seminar meets every other week for two hours on Wednesdays from 3-4:30PM (additional 1 credit/term). Approximately three-quarters of the cohort will live in the First-Year Experience Residence Hall or Stephen Epler Honors, and will move to campus early on Monday, September 12, 2016.  Space is limited to the first 60 students who reserve a space.

What Students Are Saying:

"R2S was an awesome ride.  I learned so many valuable skills for college and life.  I am going to miss all my new friends. Thanks, Roads Team!  You definitely changed my life."  - Chris, 2012

"This experience has definitely been life-altering, and one I will value forever.  My journey in self-awareness and growth will lead me to becoming the person I have always known I am capable of, but until now I just wasn't sure where to begin.  I am eternally grateful for your support, guidance, and this entire experience."  - Wendy, 2013

"The peer mentors were incredible.  It was so reassuring to learn from people who are just a little older than we are, and have recently been through the college transition process because they could speak from experience.  I became good friends with one of my mentors, and we still keep in touch - he is someone I consider a friend."  -  Scott, 2014

NOW, IT'S YOUR TURN!  Email today:

Course Information:

Note: You must register for both courses

Road to Success (two-week course)

Course Registration Number (CRN):  15737
Subject / Course / Section:  UNST / 198 / RS1
Meets:  September 13th - 16th and September 19-23rd
Time:  9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. each day
Location: Neuberger Hall 222

Road to Success Seminar (meets 5 times in the fall term)
Course Registration Number (CRN):  15736
Subject / Course / Section:  UNST / 298 / RS2
Meets:  Every other Wednesday:  10/5, 10/19, 11/2, 11/16, & 11/30
Time:  3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location:  Neuberger Hall 209

If you have trouble adding these courses using Banweb, please contact us directly at 503.725.9549.


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 cocurricular opportunities.  


You are very fortunate to have a team of experienced, dynamic and enthusiastic faculty and peer mentors to welcome you to PSU. In addition to the two primary faculty, you will have a variety of peer mentors who are sophomores and returning R2S 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 R2S day and also during the evening activities (the faculty have gone home by then)!  R2S 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 R2S experience and UHRL professional staff who will be available 24/7.

Cost of Attendance: 

The only cost to students for Roads to Success (R2S) is the PSU tuition & fees associated with the credit hours earned, which are billed as part of your fall tuition.  R2S pays for the additional housing and meals prior to the September 17 start of the housing contract.  Students living off-campus will have lunch provided for them during the two weeks in September at no charge.  For questions about the cost of attendance at PSU and tuition/fees please visit the Tuition & Fees Webpage and click on "2016-17 Academic Year."  

Meals and Housing: 

Students living in PSU Housing/FYE (does not include University Place):  Move-in for R2S is Monday, September 12.  R2S 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 contract on September 17.  At that time, your meal plan kicks in and covers the duration of the R2S program.  Once you have received a confirmation of your space in from R2S (this will be before you are officially 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 affiliated with, but not managed by PSU, you will need to negotiate early move-in directly.  At this time, we are unable to cover the cost of additional nights of housing at University Pointe.  Check with UP about early move-in dates ASAP.

Students NOT living on campus:  R2S covers the cost of lunch every day of the program (9/13-9/16 & 9/19-9/23) 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, R2S is designed to be fun.  Learning as a R2S 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 R2S 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 (our Welcome Week) 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 to offer alone or with other R2S students.  Your faculty will make sure you get to see and do all that is important to you during Viking Days.

Sample Schedule: R2S 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 evening events, coordinated by Roads Peer Mentors (movie night, game night, walk to Voodoo donuts, Capture the Flag, Ultimate Frisbee, other fun social activities).  Both on and off-campus students are encouraged to attend evening social activities.

Required Textbooks: 

There are two required textbooks for
 Roads2Success (R2S). All students must have a copy of On Course: Strategies for Creating Success in College and in Life, (Downing, 2016, 8th Edition).  We also recommend They Say, I Say (Graff & Birkenstein, 2014, 3rd Edition).  Both texts are 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 current editions of the texts.  We will use these throughout the course.

Copies of both texts are also 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.


Fall registration info:  please register for CRN 15737 (UNST 198) and CRN 15736 (UNST 298).

For additional information, contact Liane O'Banion, Associate Director and Program Coordinator, at 503-725-9549 or Please contact 503.725.9549 or for more information.