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Launched in 2012, OU's First Year Advising Center celebrates first graduating class
The First Year Advising Center provides OU's first-year students with guidance and resources to embark on a successful college career.
"In high school, everything was simple, Diwakar said. "Scheduling was simple. Everything was pretty much laid out for you. There weren't that many options."
College was a different story, he recalled. "There were literally hundreds of possibilities. I wasn't sure where to start."
Things started to come into focus when he met with his adviser at the then-newly opened First Year Advising Center. Through the center, each first-year student is assigned to an adviser and is required to meet with them at least once per semester to review academic progress.
Diwakar said he met with his adviser as soon as the semester started and received guidance on course selection and academic planning. He also sought out his adviser for tips on how to get involved on campus.
"They gave me suggestions on engineering clubs I could join, and after that I got involved with the Formula SAE team," said Diwakar, who decided to major in mechanical engineering. Over the past four years, Diwakar has been involved with student organizations, worked on research in the physics department and also landed an internship that grew into a full-time job at an engineering firm in Auburn Hills.
Diwakar is just one of the students who benefited from the support of the First Year Advising Center. According to FYAC Director Sara Webb, student retention rates have improved significantly since the center opened in fall 2012.
"First year retention for the 2012 cohort was up 8 percent," Webb said. "We have consistently kept a 6 to 8 percent increase over the 2011 FTIAC (First Time In Any College) cohort."
As a result of that progress, OU's six-year graduation rates are expected to surpass 50 percent, she added.
Along with providing advising services for all first-year students, the center assists any undergraduate student who is undecided or re-deciding on their major. It also facilitates a variety of first-year programs, including orientation sessions.
"We're focused on connecting students to campus resources, promoting student involvement and communicating university expectations,"
For more on OU's First Year Advising Center, visit oakland.edu/