First-Generation Student Success Program

The Academic Achievement Center coordinates support programs and services for Ohio University’s first-generation college students. If you are a first-generation college student, we are excited to have you here! We recognize that as one of the first in your family to attend college, you will face unique experiences as you begin this exciting journey. We look forward to supporting first-generation Bobcats!

First-generation students make up approximately one-third of our first-year class each year. We also have numerous faculty and staff who were first-generation college graduates. You’re part of a strong, supportive, and successful community!

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What does "first-generation" mean?

At Ohio University, we consider students with no parent or guardian who has completed a bachelor’s degree to be first-generation. Our first-generation students may be the very first people in their families to attend a four-year university, or they may have older siblings who have attended college. 

Ohio University’s First-Generation Student Success Program is coordinated by first-generation college graduates who understand the unique experiences and strengths of this population.  

What can this program do for me?

As a member of the First-Generation Student Success Program, you’ll have access to:  

  • Priority scheduling for academic coaching, peer tutoring, and Writing Commons essay tutoring for all your classes.  
    • Academic coaches help students develop strong study skills, improve their time management, become motivated and organized, overcome test anxiety, keep track of assignments, and more! 

    • Peer tutors help students understand the content of their classes and to understand lessons more effectively.  

    • Writing Commons tutors work with students to improve their writing skills and develop stronger essays.  

  • Drop-in hours with the coordinator of the First-Generation Student Success program to ask questions and receive help with issues like: 
    • Understanding your class schedule 

    • Communicating with your professors 

    • Finding the location of your classes  

    • Using Blackboard and Microsoft Teams 

    • Determining who your advisor is 

    • Signing up for academic coaching and tutoring 

    • Finding Supplemental Instruction sessions for your classes 

  • Weekly small-group peer mentoring, led by an academic coach, where you’ll meet with fellow first-generation students, share your unique experiences, inspire and support one another, and find an inclusive group of first-generation Bobcats.  

  • Weekly academic coaching study tables to help you stay on top of your classes. Academic coaches will help students with time management, motivation, test anxiety, and more. Study tables will feature a different topic each week.  

  • A biweekly newsletter to help you stay current with campus events, inform you about useful campus resources, and more. 

Glossary

Academic Achievement Center (AAC)

The office on campus that provides free academic coaching, peer tutoring, supplemental instruction, and writing tutoring (via the Writing Commons). There is no charge for any service offered by the Academic Achievement Center. It is located in Alden Library 230. Additional information is available at this link.

Academic Calendar

The Calendar of University Events provides a listing of all important dates, events, and deadlines for each semester. 

Academic Coaching

One-on-one, personalized help with time management/avoiding procrastination, getting motivated to complete assignments and attend classes, becoming organized, taking good class notes, dealing with test anxiety, communicating with professors, and more. Free Academic coaching is provided by the Academic Achievement Center.

Academic Probation

When a student’s accumulative GPA (see below) falls below a 2.0, they are placed on academic probation. They must raise their accumulative GPA to at least a 2.0 to be removed from probation. Until they reach a 2.0, they will be either continued on probation (if they meet the GPA requirements based on the number of credit hours they have earned) or academically dismissed. Additional information is available on the Turning Points webpage. Questions about academic probation can be directed to a student’s advisor and/or Dr. Kristin Distel, the Coordinator of Academic Coaching.

Academic Year

The period of time in which the university provides academic courses is typically from August through May. Summer courses are categorized as “summer sessions.”

Accessibility Services

Accessibility Services coordinates accommodations and connects students with disabilities to the most relevant campus resources. Accessibility coordinators review documentation and determine eligibility according to the framework of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Formerly called Student Accessibility Services, this office is located in Alden Library 230. 

Accumulative GPA

The average of a student’s grades in all the courses they have taken thus far. In a student’s first semester, the accumulative GPA and semester GPA will be the same number. Both the semester and accumulative GPAs are listed in a student’s MyOHIO Student Center and DARS. A GPA calculator, where students can estimate what their GPA will be and what grades they need to earn to achieve a specific GPA, is available on our website.

 

Advising Season

The time in the semester when you need to make an appointment with your advisor, determine which classes you’ll take in the next semester, determine your registration window, and register for classes. Advising season takes place in Weeks 6-7 of the fall and spring semesters.

 

Advisor

A faculty or staff member within your College who will help you choose courses to take each semester and help ensure that you graduate on time. Your academic advisor is listed on the homepage of your MyOHIO Student Center.

 

Add/Drop Period

A grace period at the beginning of each semester when a student can decide to add or drop a course with no penalty. The last days to add or drop a course are listed on the Ohio University academic calendar. Students should talk with their advisor about adding or dropping courses.

Alden Library

At Alden Library, located at 30 Park Place on the Athens campus, students can use printers, borrow books and other materials, reserve study rooms, request research help from Subject Librarians, and more. 

Allen Advising

We help students find the best path for themselves and make strategic decisions that guide them to graduation. If you would like to talk with an advisor about your academic options at Ohio University, please contact us!  

Allen Advising

Asynchronous Online Class (see also Synchronous Online Class)

A class that does not meet “live” at a specific day/time. Students log into a website (such as Blackboard) to view readings, assignments, recorded lectures, and other materials each week at any time they choose, rather than participating in classes in real time. If a class’s day and time are listed as “arranged,” it may be an asynchronous online class.

Audit

Sitting in on a class without earning credit or a grade. Students ask a faculty member’s permission to audit a class if the student wants to learn the material but does not need the course for their major(s), certificates, or graduation plan.

Blackboard

A web-based learning management tool that provides a website for most or all of the classes you are taking. On Blackboard, you can usually obtain a copy of the class syllabus, the assignment schedule, readings, handouts, and other materials. Your instructor may also ask you to submit assignments on Blackboard. You can access Blackboard via this link.

Blue Book

A small booklet that instructors sometimes request students purchase for exams. They are most often used when students must write in-class essay exams. Blue books are available for purchase at the Bobcat Depot (in Baker University Center) and at the College Bookstore (located uptown, at the corner of Court and Union Streets).  

Bobcat Cash (see also Flex Meal Plans)

Bobcat Cash is money put on deposit with the University (similar to a prepaid debit card) that can be used at the Dining Courts, campus markets, vending machines, laundry centers, and various on-campus food-service, retail, and public printing operations. Simply add money to this account and then use the Ohio University-issued ID card to access this service. Additional deposits can be added as needed throughout the academic year. Bobcat Cash cannot currently be used off-campus, does not allow for cash withdrawals, cannot be used to purchase alcoholic beverages, and cannot be used to purchase textbooks.

BRICKS Program (see also Course Levels):

The name for the series of courses students take as part of their liberal arts education at OHIO. The BRICKS program blends distribution and integration requirements while emphasizing a liberal arts education. BRICKS includes a minimum of 38 credit hours across five categories. Combined, BRICKS offers six high-impact educational practices: common intellectual experience, writing-intensive courses, collaborative assignments, diversity learning, experiential learning, and capstone courses.

Bursar’s Office

Located in Chubb Hall, the Bursar’s Office accepts payments for tuition and other fees. 

College of Arts and Sciences

Ohio University’s College of Arts and Sciences

Catalog number (see also Class Number and Section Number)

The unique identifier, usually four digits long, differentiates one course from another within a specific program/department. The English department, for example, offers ENG 1510, ENG 2010, ENG 2020, etc. The numbers 1510, 2010, and 2020 in this example are catalog numbers.

Catmail

Catmail is Ohio University’s email system.

Certificate

Additional coursework that a student can complete in a secondary area of interest. Find a full list of certificates.

Class number (see also Catalog Number and Section Number)

A unique class identifier, usually four digits long, used when registering for courses. To add a course to your registration “shopping cart,” enter the class number. It is available when you look up a class’s day and time on the Course Offerings page.

COB

An abbreviation for Ohio University’s College of Business.

Co-requisite (“co-req”)

A class that must be taken simultaneously with another class. The student must enroll in both courses in the same semester.

Course levels

See “BRICKS Program” above

CPS

An abbreviation for Ohio University’s Counseling and Psychological Services office, which provides mental health support via individual appointments, workshops, clinics, and support groups.

Credit Hours/Course Load

Each course you take at Ohio University is assigned a certain number of credit hours, which is often nearly equal to the number of hours per week you will be in that class. (For example, a three-credit-hour course may meet for two weekly class sessions of an hour and twenty minutes.) Undergraduate students usually carry 15-20 credit hours per semester for all four years of attendance. Twelve credit hours is considered by the University to be the minimum number for full-time attendance, which is necessary for financial aid purposes. Many scholarships require students to be enrolled for at least 15 hours per semester, though. Full details about credit hours and course load are provided in the University Catalog.

DARS

An acronym for Degree Audit Reporting System, DARS reports list the classes you’ve taken (and how they count toward your degree) and the courses from which you can choose for the remainder of your degree requirements based on your year of enrollment at OHIO. Your DARS will also list your grades, semester GPA, and accumulative GPA. You should review your DARS with your advisor when choosing classes for an upcoming semester. More information about DARS is available on the Registrar’s website.

ECRC

An acronym for the University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance office, the ECRC helps ensure the equal and respectful treatment of all members of the Ohio University community. Complaints of discrimination or unfair treatment, including Title IX complaints, can be registered with the ECRC. Additional information about this office is available on their website.

FERPA

An acronym for the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. FERPA protects students’ privacy and ensures that the details of their enrollment will not be shared without students’ written permission. A Frequently Asked Questions list about FERPA is available on the Registrar's website.

Finals Week

The last week of a semester, wherein students will take exams or submit other work to conclude each of their courses. It is very important to note that during finals week, your classes may meet at days/times other than the regular meeting time. A detailed final exam schedule and a list of policies regarding finals week are available online.

First-generation (first gen)

At Ohio University, we consider students with no parent or guardian who has completed a bachelor’s degree to be first-generation. Our first-generation students may be the very first people in their families to attend a four-year university, or they may have older siblings who have attended college. First-generation students are eligible to join OHIO’s First-Generation Student Success program

Flex Meal Plans (see also Bobcat Cash)

The same as a traditional meal plan, but Flex allows you to use your meals/points at markets and cafes on campus, and to use multiple meals per meal period (i.e. to treat a guest to a meal). More information about Flex Meal Plans is available on the Culinary Services website.

Gen Eds

An abbreviation for general education requirements, which are classes students must take that may not directly pertain to their major(s). Gen eds help ensure that a student’s liberal arts education is well-rounded. The courses a student has taken and those they must yet take are listed in the DARS report, defined above.

GPA (semester GPA vs. accumulative GPA): An acronym for Grade Point Average. A student’s semester GPA reflects their grades for a specific semester, while a student’s accumulative GPA reflects their grades in all the courses they have taken thus far. Both the semester and accumulative GPAs are listed in a student’s MyOHIO Student Center and DARS. A student whose accumulative GPA falls below 2.0 will be placed on academic probation (see definition above). Additional information about GPAs and how they are calculated is available in the University Catalog. Calculate your GPA with this GPA Calculator.

Hold

A hold is a block placed on a student’s account that can prevent the student from registering for classes, accessing transcripts, or conducting other university business. Holds can stem from a variety of offices and departments, including but not limited to financial aid, community standards, etc. Many students are assigned a Priority Registration Advising hold, which is meant to ensure that the student meets with their advisor to select classes before registering for an upcoming semester. Priority Registration Advising holds are removed after a student has met with their advisor. Holds are listed in a student’s MyOHIO Student Center.

HR (Human Resources)

Students who obtain employment on campus must submit paperwork, including an I-9, and identity identification, such as a driver’s license and social security card, to the Human Resources office prior to their first day of campus employment. Additional information is available via on the Human Resources website.

HSP

An acronym for Ohio University’s College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Hybrid class

A class that meets partly in-person and partly online. Whether a class is fully in-person, fully online, or hybrid will be listed on the Ohio University Course Offerings page, as well as the syllabus for the class. Students who are unsure whether their class is hybrid should ask their instructor for clarification.

Incomplete

A student may request from their instructor a grade of “I,” or “Incomplete,” if an unusual circumstance or emergency arises that prevents the student from completing the work for that course. An instructor is not obligated to grant the student’s request. If an “Incomplete” grade is granted, the student must complete all remaining coursework by the date stated on the Ohio University Academic Calendar. Otherwise, the grade of “I” converts to an “F.” “Incomplete” grades do not affect a student’s grades/GPA unless they do not submit the remaining work by the University’s deadline.

Interlibrary Loan

A nationwide borrowing system to which Ohio University Libraries subscribe. If materials such as books, book chapters, articles, or videos you need for your classes are not available in Ohio University’s library, you can submit a request online, and librarians will attempt to locate your requested material from other libraries across the country at no charge to you. Electronic documents, such as articles and book chapters, can be emailed to students, while materials such as books and videos can be retrieved from Alden Library.

Internship

The opportunity for students to work in a professional setting prior to graduation. Some but not all majors/degree programs require internships. Internships offer practical training and skill development in a student’s chosen field. Internships may be paid or unpaid and can last the length of a term or academic year. Speak with your advisor and Experiential Learning staff to discuss internship opportunities.

Learning Community

A group of students who often share your major/degree program, and with whom you will take a first-year seminar class and two general education courses. Find more information on the Learning Communities website.  

Mem Aud

Memorial Auditorium, located on College Green. Many events and performances take place in this building.

Minor

An academic subject area that a student chooses to have a secondary focus on during their undergraduate studies. Unlike a major, a minor is typically not required, but it allows a student to take a few additional courses (usually approximately 15 credit hours) in a subject different from his or her major. Students who are interested in declaring a minor should speak with their advisor.

MyOHIO Student Center

A platform where Ohio University students can register for classes, pay tuition/fees, check their grades and GPAs, obtain the name of their advisor, update their contact information, and more. Students can log into their MyOHIO Student Center via Ohio University’s homepage using their OHIO ID and password (also used for their campus email, Blackboard, etc.). See the “Log In” dropdown menu at the top of the OHIO homepage.

Office Hours

Time during which an instructor is available, usually in their campus office but sometimes also on Microsoft Teams, during which students can meet with the instructor to ask questions and obtain extra help. Each instructor sets their own office hours, which will be listed on the syllabus.

Ohio ID

The two letters and six digits (such as “mw519117”) that begin a student’s Ohio University email address. The two letters correspond with the initials of a student’s first and last name, while the final two digits refer to the year in which a student was admitted to OHIO. The OHIO ID differs from a student’s PID (defined below).

OhioLink

A statewide borrowing system to which Ohio University Libraries subscribe. If materials such as books, book chapters, articles, or videos you need for your classes are not available in Ohio University’s library, you can submit a request online, and librarians will attempt to locate your requested material from other libraries across the state at no charge to you. Electronic documents, such as articles and book chapters, can be emailed to students, while materials such as books and videos can be retrieved from Alden Library.

OIT

An acronym for Ohio University’s Office of Information Technology, which provides support and troubleshooting assistance for a variety of technology needs, including issues pertaining to Catmail, Blackboard, Microsoft Teams, and more. Students in need of assistance can submit a ticket on OIT’s website, and a reply will be sent to the student’s OHIO email. Students may also visit the Bobcat Depot, engage in a live chat, email OIT directly, or call the OIT office, all of which are explained on OIT’s website.

Ombuds

Provides confidential, impartial, and informal assistance to individuals and groups to help prevent problems from arising and to facilitate fair and respectful resolutions to problems. “The Office of the Ombudsperson is a confidential service open to all students, employees, alumni, parents, and community members at Ohio University. The overarching mission of the Office of the Ombudsperson is twofold: to ensure that every member of the university community receives equitable and fair treatment and due process, and to support and facilitate a positive working and learning environment.” More information about the Ohio University Ombuds is available on their website.

OneDrive

A secure file storage system available to all OHIO students, faculty, and staff. OneDrive features sharing options and collaborative editing capabilities using Microsoft Office Online. Students can access OneDrive through a menu on their campus email (Catmail).

Pass/Fail Grading Option

Taking a class for a grade of “pass” or “fail,” rather than a letter grade. Taking a course pass/fail is an option designed to encourage you to explore areas of study in a way that will not negatively affect your GPA. To be eligible, the student must have a GPA of 2.5 or better for his or her latest term of full–time enrollment, or have an accumulative GPA of 2.0 or better. First–term freshmen automatically qualify. Additional restrictions are detailed in the Ohio University Catalog.  

Peer Tutoring

Ohio University’s Academic Achievement Center offers free peer tutoring for approximately 200 OHIO classes. Find mor info and schedule tutoring via our website.

PID

Your PID (the letter “P” followed by nine digits) was sent to the email address you provided on your Ohio University application. It is also available via your DARS report (see definition above). A PID differs from an OHIO ID (see definition above).

 

Pre-requisite (pre-req)

A required course that must be completed before a student is allowed to enroll in a more advanced one. Any prerequisites will be listed under a course’s information on the Ohio University Course Offerings page.

Registration Window

The specific day and time assigned to each student, detailing when they can register for an upcoming semester’s classes. A student’s registration window will be listed on their MyOhio Student Center (see definition above).

Registrar

The campus office responsible for many administrative academic tasks, such as registering students for classes, preparing student transcripts and DARS documents, creating course offering schedules, and more, Ohio University’s Registrar is located in Chubb Hall. 

Section Number (see also Class Number and Catalog Number)

The unique identifier, usually three digits long, that differentiates one section of a course from another. Classes with different section numbers may meet in different locations and at different days/times, in addition to sometimes having different instructors. The English department, for example, offers several sections of ENG 1510, such as ENG 1510-100, ENG 1510-101, ENG 1510-102, etc. In this example, the numbers 100, 101, and 102 are section numbers. Section numbers will be listed under a course’s information on Ohio University Course Offerings page.

Semester GPA

The average of a student’s grades in one specific semester, rather than an average of their grades in all the classes they have taken. In a student’s first semester, the accumulative GPA and semester GPA will be the same number. Both the semester and accumulative GPAs are listed in a student’s MyOHIO Student Center and DARS. Additional information about GPAs and how they are calculated is in the University’s Catalog. Students can estimate what their GPA will be and what grades they need to earn to achieve a specific GPA, using this GPA calculator.

Student Standing

Your year in college. This is determined by your total number of semester hours earned. (Freshman = Completed 0-29.99 hours. Sophomore = Completed 30 to 59.9 hours. Junior = Completed 60-89.9 hours. Senior = Completed 90 or more hours.) Your total number of semester hours earned is available on your DARS (see above).

Subject Librarians

Ohio University’s subject librarians are library employees who are research experts in specific areas and can help students locate research materials for essays, projects, and more. A complete list of OHIO’s subject librarians and their contact information is available on the library website.

Subsidized loan

A student loan that does not accrue interest while a student is enrolled in classes. Ohio University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Services, located in Chubb Hall, can provide assistance and guidance regarding subsidized loans.

Supplemental Instruction (SI)

A series of weekly review sessions for large classes that are historically difficult. Free SI sessions are facilitated by SI leaders—students who have already taken and done well in the course. Supplemental Instruction is provided by the Academic Achievement Center. Find out if SI is offered for your classes by checking the SI schedule.

Survivor Advocacy Program (SAP)

An Ohio University office that provides confidential services such as crisis intervention, an after-hours hotline, medical advocacy, Title IX advocacy, and more to all student survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. Additional information about SAP, which is located in Lindley Hall, is available on their website.

Syllabus

A document provided by your instructor that outlines key information about the course, including class policies, assignments, deadlines, textbook lists, and other details, such as your instructor’s contact information and office hours (see “Office Hours” above). Some instructors provide a printed version of the syllabus, while others post their syllabus on a website such as Blackboard (see “Blackboard” above).

Synchronous Online Class

A class that meets “live” at a specific day/time. This could be in-person (on-campus) or online, depending on the class. Check with your instructor if you are unsure. In a synchronous class, students participate in classes in real time. Class meeting days/times are listed on the Ohio University Course Offerings page.

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Many classes, especially large classes, employ teaching assistants to help the professor grade assignments, meet with students, and occasionally teach. A TA might also hold office hours during which students can meet with the TA and ask questions. TAs are usually graduate students studying/working in the subject of the class for which they are assisting.

Teams (Microsoft Teams)

Teams is an online platform, similar to Zoom, where an instructor can hold online classes and/or meet with students. Ohio University students can access and download Microsoft Teams via the Office of Information Technologies website.

Transcript

A detailed listing of all the courses a student has taken at a university. Students must often request transcripts when transferring to/from another institution, applying for graduate school, etc. Transcripts are generated by the Ohio University Registrar’s Office, located in Chubb Hall. Additional information about transcripts is available on the Registrar's website.

Unsubsidized loan

In contrast with a subsidized loan, an unsubsidized student loan does accrue interest while a student is enrolled in classes. Ohio University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Services, located in Chubb Hall, can provide assistance and guidance regarding unsubsidized loans.

Waitlist

Students can join a waitlist for a class that is full; this is not the same as officially registering for or joining the course. Waitlists are available for some (but not all) Ohio University classes. Being on a waitlist means that you are on a list of students who will be enrolled automatically in a class if seats become available and you meet all other requirements, i.e., not enrolled in another section of the same course that does not allow multiple enrollments in the same semester; do not have a time conflict with a class you are enrolled in; instructor permission is not required. You can determine whether a class is full by looking up the class on the Ohio University Course Offerings page. Additional information about waitlists, including a video showing how to join a waitlist for a full class, is available on the Registrar's website.

Work Study Program

A federal program that provides universities with funding to hire students for part-time jobs while they attend school. Ohio University’s Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships Services, located in Chubb Hall, can help you determine whether you qualify for work study.

Writing Commons

The Writing Commons provides free writing assistance to all Ohio University students. Writing tutors can help at any stage of the writing process, from discussing and organizing ideas to polishing a final draft. More information about the Writing Commons is available on the Academic Achievement Center website.  

Supplemental Academic Advising

You were admitted to Ohio University because we know you can be successful here. Allen Advising helps students find the best path and make strategic decisions that guide them to graduation. If you’re unsure about what major to choose; if you’re thinking about changing majors; if you can’t decide which classes to take; or if you just need some academic guidance, Allen Advising can help. 

If you would like to talk with an advisor about your academic options at Ohio University, please contact Allen Advising at 740-566-8888 or advising@ohio.edu.  

Mission

Ohio University’s First-Generation Student Success program is committed to supporting the success, persistence, and engagement of Ohio University's first-generation college students by providing proactive outreach and supportive programming. 

These programs address the challenges first-generation students may face as they acclimate to the university while also celebrating the unique strengths they bring to our campus. 

Find Us

Find support for your success by connecting with us at the Academic Achievement Center
Alden Library 230
firstgen@ohio.edu

 Recognition

Ohio University has been selected as a First-Gen Forward Advisory Institution by the Center for First-generation Student Success, an initiative of NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and The Suder Foundation.

The First Forward designation recognizes institutions of higher education that have demonstrated a commitment to improving experiences and advancing outcomes of first-generation college students. Selected institutions receive professional development, community-building experiences, and a first look at the Center’s research and resources. Advisory institutions serve as a resource to other institutions as well.

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