New student orientation sections added

New Student Program Leader Centerria Wright helps future student Desiree Allen sign-in for New Student Orientation. The two-hour non-credit courses help new students learn about OCCC. (Bonnie Campo/Pioneer)

An increase in enrollment numbers has caused the college to schedule a larger number of New Student Orientation sessions than ever before, said First Year and Student Life Programs Coordinator Stephanie Baird.

Baird said the sessions, which are two-hour non-credit courses where students learn about OCCC, have increased to 37 sections from 32 since April.

The sessions end Aug. 25.

“Last year there were usually about 28 students in a session, and we ran 32 sessions which is almost 900 people,” she said.

“Now the sections are serving many more new students because of the enrollment rise.”

Baird said class sizes are relatively small so students can have a better connection with each other and ask questions.

The sessions are free for students, she said, who gain valuable knowledge about the campus and resources offered at OCCC.

“Students learn about the financial aid office, various labs, (get) a tour of buildings where their classes will be located, and get a head start to being familiar with the school,” Baird said.

“I feel like these courses place students on the right track and help them so they will be academically, personally, and financially successful,” she said.

Baird said National Orientation Directors Association surveys show students will be 60 percent more successful in college if they have some form of orientation when they begin.

New Student Program leaders Centerria Wright and Rebecca Whitson guide the informational tours.

“I think the greatest thing we teach to them are study habits and preparing for class,” Wright said.

Whitson said she believes by giving the new students a tour around the school, students are better able to find many other resources.

They both agree for a first-time student, it’s better to receive directions from someone with a friendly face who is close to their age, since most students who participate are young and they can relate with them more.

Baird said the program always takes suggestions after the sessions to get feedback about what students think could be improved upon, and what they found helpful.

Desiree Allen, new OCCC student, said she was satisfied overall with the information she was given in the orientation session she attended.

“I feel better prepared for the upcoming semester,” Allen said. “But the class moved so fast — and because I am older — it was somewhat hard for me to stay up.”

Baird said each student has a different reaction after finishing the class.

“Some students feel like the class is too long or not long enough, and we acknowledge that our students have families and lives, so we try and keep the information informative and quick,” she said.

Megan Brown, who also participated in a NSO session said she felt more at ease starting school after she attended this class.

“I am not so scared now, and I feel better about starting school in the fall,” Brown said.

For more information, call Student Life at 405-682-1611, ext.7523 or visit

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