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SOAR orientation sessions designed to help students succeed in college

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (April 10, 2007) -- The SOAR student orientation program is designed to help incoming students take the first step toward successful college careers. SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) events introduce the newest members of the Ohio University-Chillicothe community to the resources and information they need to not only survive, but to thrive, and to make the most of their time on campus.

"We want to set up the incoming students for success before they even step in the classroom," Career Services Coordinator Diane Diekroger said. "SOAR offers an invaluable opportunity to put students in a position to succeed in college. We look to anticipate the questions and concerns that are common to incoming students and to provide answers before they encounter challenges."

Among activities during each one-day session, incoming students meet with academic advisors who help the students establish a class schedule for the upcoming quarter; learn about OU-C's academic, co-curricular and extra-curricular offerings including student organizations; establish their campus e-mail accounts; tour the campus; received a campus ID card; check on their financial aid status and more. 

At SOAR, students are introduced to what two- and four-year academic majors are offered at OU-C. Also, students are instructed as to what the results of the placement tests mean and what math, English and reading courses the tests indicate they should take.

"SOAR is designed to provide a type of one-stop shopping in preparation for the students' academic careers," Coordinator of Student Enrollment Jaime Lowe said. "After completing the daylong session, the new students are ready to attend their first class and hit the ground running."

SOAR is tailored to OU-C and to the success of its students.

"The program is designed to relieve the apprehension that many new students have and to help them feel confident about their success in college. They have the opportunity to interact with other new students, which helps them realize that others have the same questions and uncertainties as they have. Since many of our students have jobs, we have condensed the activities into a one-day session to best meet their busy schedules," Lowe said.

A unique aspect of the OU-C program is the participation of family members and others to offer support to the incoming students.

"Family members are encouraged to attend and to be active participants in acquiring information and asking questions," Lowe said. "During the SOAR session for spring quarter, there were approximately 80 guests and 50 students. At OU-C, we realize that family support is important to a student's success in college."

All faculty and staff are invited to participate in SOAR, and their involvement is crucial to the program's success.

"The faculty involvement is vital so that incoming students can gain a full understanding of the OU-C educational experience from those who are most centrally involved," Diekroger said, "The sessions are designed to make the best use of campus resources in the most efficient manner. The coordination of individuals from areas across campus ensures that we present the students with the most updated information and that we are consistent in regards to the information we are sharing. We have planning sessions before each SOAR event to make sure our information is correct."

Beyond classroom expectations, areas such as academic support services and activities beyond the class schedule are addressed.

"We offer insights on how to become engaged in the campus life. Students who are active in campus life tend to have more fulfilling college careers, and we want to ensure they know how to connect with campus in the way that best meets their interests," Diekroger said.

Approximately three-fourths of enrolled students participate in the SOAR sessions. Four sessions are held in the summer for fall quarter enrollees and SOAR sessions are held near the end of each quarter for the next academic term. The next SOAR event will be Friday, May 18.

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