Thursday, July 14, 2016

Summer orientation sessions set tone for students’ academic careers


Current students, faculty and staff members are involved with orientation sessions.

As students in the Chillicothe Campus’ incoming class of 2016 begin their college journeys this fall, summer orientation sessions are designed to help them begin on the right foot.

OU-C is hosting six orientations this summer for incoming freshmen, in addition to three sessions for College Credit Plus Students and two for students transferring from other universities and colleges.

In keeping with the campus’ approach, these sessions are designed from the students’ perspective, in terms of both focus and format.

“The purpose of the orientation sessions is to position the students for success. At this juncture, the emphasis is on giving them the resources they need to have a successful first week and the insights that will help them throughout their college careers,” Director of Student Services John Fisher said. “From a practical standpoint, we want to make sure the students have their class schedules, their financial aid in order and are prepared for the first day of class. In a larger sense, we want them to understand the rigors and time commitments that face college students.”

The ultimate outcome is for these incoming students to achieve their college goals, earn their degrees and pursue a college experience that prepares them for rewarding careers.

“At OU-C, we take student success seriously and, therefore, put great value on the orientation process making sure it is focused and profitable for the students,” Fisher said. “It is a team effort with faculty and staff members from throughout campus joining together. Also, student employees play a critical role in connecting with their peers and sharing insights to answer questions they may have.”

The orientation sessions last about four hours each, thereby giving the new students a comprehensive experience that is also time-efficient. Further, orientation sessions are held at various times of the day to accommodate the schedules of the incoming students, many of whom hold jobs while attending college.

“The Chillicothe Campus is committed to offering an educational experience that is tailored to our students, and that emphasis includes our student orientation offerings,” Fisher said.

Further, many OU-C learners are first-generation students, who may feel somewhat intimidated by the college process, so an effort is placed on making the orientation sessions personable and engaging.

This year, a new feature has been added, with faculty and staff members sharing information about academic programs, student organizations and others campus offerings during an informal period at the beginning of each orientation session.

At each session, the incoming students attend an information session in the auditorium, which focuses on policies and procedures of importance to the students, as well as available resources to help them succeed. They are also made aware of extra-curricular activities, 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 schedules, before registering for classes in a computer lab.

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

Also, while the students are meeting with their academic advisors, their parents, spouses, siblings and other members of their support group meet with campus members to discuss their roles in their students’ success. In this way, the emphasis on teamwork takes a very personal approach.

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