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10.14. First-Year Experience

Oglethorpe’s faculty and campus life staff work together to coordinate academic offerings, co-curricular programs, and student services in order to create a first-year experience that is welcoming, supportive and challenging. This integrated program is committed to encouraging TU first-year students to succeed.

Major features of the first-year experience include:

  • MAP Days: This program invites deposited students in the summer to become more acquainted with campus, meet key faculty and staff, and other students, and go over their fall schedule.
  • Welcome Week and Fall Orientation begins before classes commence. Students are encouraged to attend many social events designed to acclimate them with Oglethorpe. This Orientation also includes a service activity. Orientation activities will continue for the first few weeks of class as students will be invited to opening Convocation, lectures around campus, sporting events, and various student activities.
  • Compass (see 6.7.1. and Sec. 10.20.): Oglethorpe’s holistic first-year advising program is designed to assist students’ transition to college. Each incoming TU student is assigned an advisor who helps them register for classes, ensures they get connected with any assistance they need, asks questions about their strengths and weaknesses, and encourages students to become involved in high-impact practices such as internships or service.
  • A two-semester Core course sequence in humanities, COR 101, 102 Narratives of the Self I, II;
  • Petrel Points co-curricular requirement (for TU first-time freshmen; see 10.18.)
  • A Peer Academic Leader (PAL) is an upperclassman who has demonstrated academic excellence while at Oglethorpe and is responsible serving as an academic mentor to first-year students in traditionally at-risk populations. These populations may include: first generation college students, students enrolled in lower level math and writing courses, and student with a history of low academic achievement. PALs work with the academic success center staff to offer resources to supplement first year students’ course work and assist them in achieving academic and personal success. Each PAL is assigned a specific group of students to work with. These first year students will have regular interaction with their PAL and programming targeted specifically at their academic needs.
  • The many support services of the academic success department (see 10.9.); and
  • A coordinated intervention process for assisting students in trouble.