FYAC continues to strive for student success amid COVID-19

Lauren Reid, Content Editor

As COVID-19 continues into the fall, many first-year students will step into college in a predominantly online format. The First Year Advising Center (FYAC) promises continued communication, advising and availability, regardless of the turbulent situation the pandemic presents. 

“Our incoming freshmen will receive a high level of communication and availability to their advisers, reinforcing our past practices,” said Assistant Director of Academic Advising Deborah Cash. “Although we’ve changed our approach with meetings in a virtual setting, our advisers continue to engage with students and help with their questions and concerns regarding the upcoming fall semester.” 

The 2020 orientation experience consists of five steps this year, starting with a new student orientation module and finishing off with a virtual new student welcome.

“Virtual orientation programming is allowing us to connect with students and their families in ways we never have before,” said Amy Joa, assistant director of orientation and new student programs. “This month we’ve teamed up with campus partners from so many departments, offices and services to connect students with the people and places they’ll get support from when they begin their journey at OU.”

Most events and opportunities are virtual, aside from campus kickoff. This event is optional for freshmen. Students partaking in campus kickoff will have the chance to experience campus, meet other students and the dean of their college, as well as get their Grizz Card and books. Masks are required (free OU masks will be provided) and 6 foot social distancing will be enforced. 

Although it may look different this year, the new student welcome is still taking place on Wednesday, Sept. 2. 

“Traditionally, new students would attend a new student welcome event consisting of a convocation ceremony (as the official welcome to the academic year) along with the academic open house,” Joa said. “This year, the events will be virtual. First, students will log in for a special welcome from OU’s president — Dr. Ora Pescovitz — then they’ll virtually attend a welcome session hosted by their academic department.” 

Appointments with FYAC advisers are still available through an online scheduling system. According to Cash, advisers currently operate via phone, email or virtually. FYAC chat may also help to answer commonly asked questions. 

As far as advice for incoming freshmen, Cash encourages students to review the student guide for online learning, familiarize themselves with Moodle and take a look at opportunities for academic support, whether from the tutoring center, FYAC academic coaching, residential academic support services, among others. 

“Online learning requires a higher level of independent motivation. Keeping a calendar of assignments and their due dates is also a priority,” Cash said. “Students should begin connecting in new ways with other students in their online classes in order to develop relationships and have contact for study groups or course questions, in addition to their faculty members. The FYAC advisers are always here to support student success.” 

For information on new student orientation or to register for campus kickoff, visit Orientation 2020. To learn more about FYAC resources or schedule an appointment with an academic advisor, visit Academic Advising. Lastly, visit the FYAC chat to connect with a FYAC staff member for answers to questions online.