The Commuter’s Guide to a Successful First Term

One of the most unique things about Portland State is that it’s a commuter campus. A huge fraction of students drive, bike or use public transportation to get to class. Here are the orientation team’s top 5 tips to make your first term a success!

Get Storage Space

You can rent out a locker for $30 per term, or $65 per academic year (they are large lockers so split it with a friend). It can be convenient to store workout clothes, extra chargers, books, supplies and a pillow and blanket.

Find a good Schedule

For commuters, drivers specifically, if you can schedule your classes to be on the same two or three days you can buy a Tuesday—Thursday or Monday—Wednesday—Friday pass and save quite a bit of money. However, these sell out quickly! Always try to buy passes the day they go on sale. Both of those passes also include weekend parking.

Early Means On-time

Whether you are driving or using public transportation, always account for MAX delays, traffic, and time for finding parking. Even though you have a parking pass, you never know when an extra large truck will park in an extra small parking spot, taking up two spots. Also, parking structures will be really packed for the first few weeks so make sure you account for more time than you think for parking. Leaving a little early will ensure you are on time to class and if it takes you less time than you thought, then you have time to get coffee, tea or breakfast.

Admissions Stock Shoot

Get Enough Sleep

Commuters may have to start their day a little earlier than those who are living on campus. During Viking Days, its a great idea to get acclimated to the new sleep schedule. You will thank yourself later. You may also want to start getting used to getting to campus how you plan to during the school year and attend some awesome Viking Days events!

Build Connections with Your Classmates

For some, living away from campus may seem like finding a connection and making friends would be difficult. Attending Viking Days before classes begin is a great start. Make friends in classes by finding or forming weekly study groups in some of your classes. Getting a job on campus is also an easy way to make friends.


If you’re bringing your own meals to campus, you can use the microwaves available in the Karl Miller Center on the ground floor and a couple locations inside the Smith Student Union: Multicultural Student Services office, the Women’s Resource Center, and the Resource Center for Students with Children.





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