Thursday, June 19, 2014

Orientation sessions focused on positioning incoming students for college success

Members of the Chillicothe Campus’ incoming class of 2014 will begin their college journeys before fall by attending freshman orientation.  Held during the summer the fall session orientations are designed to help these learners get off on the right foot.

In all, OU-C is hosting eight orientation sessions this summer, including two tailored specifically for high school students in the Post-Secondary Enrollment Options Program (PSEOP).

In keeping with the Chillicothe Campus approach, the sessions are designed from the students’ perspective, in terms of both mission and format.

“The purpose of the orientation sessions is for the students to leave prepared to begin school in the fall with the prospect of a successful college career that culminates with the students earning their degrees,” Director of Student Services John Fisher said. “We want to make sure the students are prepared to succeed as a student. Consequently, the sessions are focused on what students need to know.  When students leave orientation we want to make sure they have class schedules, have their financial aid in order and understand where they can go to get their questions answered in the future.”

“Further, we offer orientations at various times of day on different dates.  Sessions begin at 9 a.m., noon and 4 p.m. to accommodate the schedules of our students, many of whom hold jobs while attending college,” Fisher said. “We also understand that a large number of our students are first-generation students who may be intimidated by the college situation so we strive to make the sessions personable and engaging.”

Incoming OU-C students are required to attend the orientation sessions, which have been streamlined to last about three hours. The time is an important investment in their futures.

“At OU-C, we take student success seriously. Any campus that promotes student success is also going to put value on the orientation process,” Fisher said.

After checking in, the new students attend an information session in the auditorium, which focuses on policies and procedures of importance to the students, as well as resources that are available, such as advising, financial aid, student support and activities in the Student Success Center. They are also made aware of extra-curricular offerings, various campus offices and the importance of checking their university email accounts for updates and information.

The new students then meet with academic advisors, including both faculty and staff members, who help them select their fall semester schedule then register for classes and check their financial aid in campus computer labs.

“At the end of the day, they are ready to attend their first class this fall, which is the goal,” Fisher said.

The orientation sessions are a tribute to teamwork, with students, faculty and staff members participating in the endeavors.

“Student employees play an especially important role,” Fisher said. “They are successful students and serve as good mentors for the incoming students. Plus, the new students relate to our current students, which continues our emphasis on the importance of peer education.”

The incoming students find that the orientation sessions are a wise investment of their time.

“It was very helpful. I came in with a lot of questions, particularly about scheduling class and
financial aid. People took time to answer every question to a ‘T.’ I definitely feel prepared to start school in the fall,” said Kendra Moore, who just graduated from Huntington High School and plans to major in nursing.

“I was very useful, and the people were all very helpful,” said Jordan Allen, a
Southeastern High School graduate who plans to major in computer science technology. “I wanted to find out a little bit about everything, especially the career paths I can follow with this major, and I was able to do that.”

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