Orientation and Advisement
Orientation for New Students
Advising and orientation of students at the University of Oklahoma is a continuous process designed to provide OU students with the knowledge they need to succeed academically and socially. For many students, the process begins while they are still in high school during Sooner Saturday, an on-campus introduction to the university for prospective students and their families.
Initial academic advising for new students is provided through several activities that present information to new students and their families about academic and non-academic programs of the university, along with individualized academic advising and the opportunity to pre-enroll in classes for the fall semester. These include:
- New Sooner Orientation
University College’s orientation and advance enrollment program for new freshmen in every major, or undecided and pre-health transfer students who have been admitted to the university. Parents of students are encouraged to attend.
Camp Crimson is OU's premier orientation experience for all incoming students. Hosted during the eight days before fall classes begin, Camp Crimson helps students connect to other students and members of the OU community, learn more about campus resources and traditions, and learn what it means to be a part of the OU family.
New students also have the opportunity to participate in one of two types of introductory courses during their first year of enrollment. These include:
- First-Year Foundations - OU's introduction to college course, assists students in the transition from high school to college. First-year students learn campus systems and policies, build essential academic skills (critical reading, time management, test-taking, etc.), explore major and career planning, and are introduced to campus resources. This course is an elective credit and doesn't count for major credit in any department.
- University College Seminars—Each seminar is limited to 25 students and is taught by an individual faculty member who leads the students through an in-depth exploration of a specific intellectual topic.
Facilities and Resources
Knowing that academic advising is a key component to helping students graduate, our goal is to help students succeed academically so that they can fulfill their dreams and meet their potential. University College (UC) provides general advising for most first-year students. UC is a non-degree college that focuses on helping students make the transition to the university, provides them with academic advising, and a variety of coaching activities to help them to succeed. During the freshman year, the OU Scholars Program provides specialized advising services to scholarship recipients of the Award of Excellence, Distinguished Scholar, Regents Award, National Award, and National Merit scholarships.
Once students earn 24 credit hours after two semesters at OU and move to a degree college, they will meet with an academic advisor before each term of enrollment. Students are advised either by academic counselors in the college office, professional advisors in the academic unit or by faculty advisers in their major. Academic advising is an integral part of the educational process and includes regular interaction and relationship-building during each transition as a student navigates their academic career.
The Academic Advising Resource Center (AARC) serves as a resource for students and academic advisors alike. The AARC advises students who are going into their third or later semester and would like extra time in deciding on their academic major while being declared Exploratory. The AARC also works with students who need support during a period of academic repair so that the student can meet degree college admission standards. The AARC was established in 2011 and houses the Pre-Law, Pre-Medical Professions, and Exploratory Academic Advisors. The AARC uses the services of a Triage Advisor to help students navigate the academic advising system and who maintains the firstname.lastname@example.org account. The AARC is in Cate 1, Room 418, 308 Cate Center Drive Rm. 418, Norman, OK 73019-2180, (405) 325-1596.
In addition to formal academic advising, students may select from a wide variety of additional academic and support services. Examples include academic life coaching sessions with trained and certified academic life coaches, workshops offered by the Student Learning Center and the Center for Student Life; individual career advising by Career Services; and academic assistance through the Writing Center and several tutoring programs.
Student Support Services
Student Support Services, also known as Project Threshold, is an academic support program established in 1970 to serve students who are first-generation college, economically disadvantaged, disabled. The primary goal of this program is to increase retention and graduation rates of program participants.
To accomplish this goal, Project Threshold provides personal, academic, and financial aid counseling as well as academic tutoring. Small sections of freshman-level courses are offered to Threshold students to help ease the adjustment to larger college classes. The ethnic diversity of the staff further serves to provide the student with a sense of belonging.
Inquiries should be directed to Project Threshold, 215 Wagner Hall, 1005 Asp Ave., Norman, OK 73019-0315, (405) 325-6261, email@example.com.
Planning a Program
- If you have selected a major, learn all the requirements for your chosen degree program.
- If you are unsure of your major, make an appointment with a major exploration coach who can help you match your interests, skills and goals to possible majors
- Prepare a plan of study showing the courses you will take each semester that will complete requirements for graduation.
- The degree program should be designed according to the rules and regulations that govern enrollment and graduation. These rules and regulations can be found in the specific chapter of this catalog providing information about the college offering your major as well as the chapter, “Admission, Enrollment, and Graduation.”
- Freshmen and sophomores who are unsure of a major should choose courses that will fulfill University-Wide General Education Requirements and provide exposure to disciplines that are of interest for selection of a major.
- Utilize the University General Catalog, the Degree Navigator system and degree checksheets to plan your program.
- Take basic required courses such as English composition and mathematics that provide a sound foundation for future successful enrollments early in the academic program.
- Include courses early in the program that are required for admission to the degree college offering the chosen major.
- Schedule upper-division courses for the junior and senior years with few exceptions in your schedule.
- Look into programs that will enhance your individual program such as study abroad, internships, and research opportunities.
- Balance enrollments to avoid including too many heavy reading courses, too many laboratory courses, or too many credit hours in one semester or term.
- Attempt to schedule all specifically required courses prior to the final enrollment.
- Plan the final semester with fewer hours to allow for such activities as job interviews.
- Plan an enrollment of 12-19 hours, according to academic ability and responsibilities outside of class, for the fall and spring semesters (6-9 hours are appropriate for the summer term). Most degree programs require 120 hours or more which averages out to 15 credit hours per semester to graduate in four years. Students should anticipate that each credit hour taken will normally require a minimum of two hours each week for study time outside of class.
The University of Oklahoma has instituted a graduation plan for many degree programs. This plan requires the student and the university to sign a contract that guarantees the student can graduate in a specified period of time based on certain conditions that can be detailed when the student talks with an academic adviser on campus.
University-Wide General Education
In today’s global society, the most important contribution a university can make is to help prepare its students for a lifetime of change and a future as an educated and responsible citizen. OU’s university-wide general education core curriculum, which was implemented in fall 1990 and updated in fall 2021, meets this challenge by providing a curriculum of required courses designed to help students think creatively, reason and communicate clearly, and adapt quickly to a rapidly changing world.
OU was the first college in the state — and among the pioneers nationally — to organize its general education requirements into a focused curriculum that emphasizes the key areas of knowledge essential in today’s society and life in the 21st century.
In designing its general education curriculum, OU looked toward two new centuries-the 21st century, in which students will need to cope with global, societal and career changes — and OU’s second century, in which it will continue to produce leaders for the state, nation and world. OU’s general education curriculum is designed to help its students succeed after graduation, regardless of their field of endeavor. Because effective communication skills are essential, writing is emphasized across the general education curriculum. Courses also help students learn to express themselves orally, use mathematical analysis, examine and solve problems, explore the concepts and methodologies of the natural and social sciences, appreciate the creative arts, and better understand their own and others’ cultural heritages. Courses are designed to foster enthusiasm, curiosity and a desire to continue learning.
General Education Requirements
A minimum of 40 credit hours of general education courses is required for graduation. Some colleges or majors require students to complete additional hours of general education coursework or to take specific courses to fulfill general education requirements. The list of courses approved for general education credit is available in the Gen Ed Planner. Courses must be distributed among the following areas:
I. SYMBOLIC AND ORAL COMMUNICATION (3-6 courses, 9-22 hours)
- English Composition (2 courses, 6 hours).
- Language (2 courses, 6-10 hours). This requirement can be satisfied by successfully completing two semesters of the same language at the college level equivalent to two semesters at OU. It also may be satisfied by successfully completing two years of the same language in high school or by demonstrating an equivalent level of competence on an assessment test. (Note: the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Arts and Sciences, and the College of International Studies require students to complete three semesters of college-level language or pass an assessment test. The College of Arts & Sciences and College of International Studies requirement cannot be met by high school coursework. Some majors require a fourth semester of language.)
- Mathematics (1 course, 3 hours).
- Other. Courses in this category are not required, but may be used when additional credit hours are needed to bring the total hours completed to 40. Approved courses in this area include communication, logic and public speaking.
II. NATURAL SCIENCE (2 courses, 7-8 hours)
- At least two courses of three or more credit hours each and totaling a minimum of seven credit hours are required. The courses must be from different disciplines, and at least one course must include a laboratory component, denoted by [L] in the list of general education courses. (Note: the College of Arts and Sciences requires its students to complete one course in the Biological Sciences and one course in the Physical Sciences.)
III. SOCIAL SCIENCE (2 courses, 6 hours)
- One course must be P SC 1113 American Federal Government, (three hours)
IV. ARTS & HUMANITIES (4 courses, 12 hours)
- Artistic Forms (1 course, 3 hours)
- Western Culture (2 courses, 6 hours). One course must be HIST 1483 United States to 1865 or HIST 1493 United States, 1865 to the Present. The other course may not be History 1483 or History 1493.
- World Culture (1 course, 3 hours). Note: The Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of International Studies require additional upper-division Arts & Humanities courses outside the major (2 courses, 6 hours).
V. FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE (1 course, 3 hours)
VI. UPPER-DIVISION REQUIREMENT
- At least one of the courses (minimum of 3 hours) used to satisfy the general education requirements must be at the upper-division level and outside of the student’s major.
Academic Common Market
The Academic Common Market (ACM) is an interstate agreement coordinated by the Southern Regional Education Board for sharing some unique academic programs through an exchange of students across state lines wherein non-resident tuition charges are waived. Visit Academic Common Market for more information regarding the university's participation in the Academic Common Market.