Skip To Main Content

Tips for success: Things to know for your first year at ONU

What's new!



The College of Arts and Sciences
  • The Department of Art is now the Department of Art and Design. The curriculum is restructured so that there are now four majors: Advertising Design, Art Education, Graphic Design, and Studio Arts.
  • There is now a cross-disciplinary Asian studies minor, with language instruction in Chinese and Japanese as options.
  • The Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences will offer a new biology specialization program in histology along with a post-baccalaureate certificate in histology.
  • The Department of Technological Studies has restructured its offerings. The majors that are now available are Construction Management, Manufacturing Technology and Technology Education. The Technology minor is now called Technological Studies, and the Virtual Simulation minor is no longer offered.
  • The Center for Teacher Education now offers Chemistry and Physics Teacher Licensures.
The College of Business Administration
  • Internships are now required for all business majors.
The College of Engineering
  • The College of Engineering will now serve as an active participant in the development of the Ohio Energy & Advanced Manufacturing Center that will be located in Lima, Ohio. Collaborative activities will include providing faculty expertise and a student workforce for projects related to the center.
The College of Pharmacy
  • The Pharmacy Skills Center has been fully integrated into instructional and research activities.

Around Campus

  • Northern on Main is newly renovated. Check out the new seating, decor, signs and, most importantly, new menu items! The service line has been redesigned to speed up service.
  • The new Business Services Building is located on Union Street and houses Campus Security, business services and printing services.
  • The Hill Annex has been demolished and will be replaced with a parking lot and turn-around.
  • The basement of Hill Building is in the process of renovation. The offices of sociology and psychology faculty will be located in the renovated space of the south side of the basement, and the north side will contain a telephone and conference room.
  • New, high-efficiency heating and cooling systems in Hill Building and Dukes Memorial.
  • The University Inn is planned to open on October 10. The Inn will feature guest rooms, meeting rooms, a courtyard, a fitness center, and dining options.
  • The law library has been renovated and now features a reading room.
  • More bike racks have been purchased and placed around campus.

In Ada

  • McDonalds, opening in September.
  • Dickie McGee's Flying Burrito is now open!
  • Viva Maria, a new Italian restaurant in the former KFC location
  • A new K-12 building for Ada Exempted Schools
  • A new Verizon tower in slated for construction in southern Ada
  • ReStore has moved to the former Peper Drug Store location

As the first day of class draws near, it’s normal for incoming students to arrive on campus with anticipation and nervousness. While you’re buying school supplies and wondering what to bring for your room in the residence halls, take a few minutes to read these pieces of advice from faculty, staff and students who will, no doubt, become familiar faces over the next year.


Dr. Roger Goldberg
Associate V.P for Academic Affairs

Certainly key items are to attend class regularly; be prepared for class by reading assignments in advance; noting when major papers and examinations are scheduled for early preparation; and seeing instructors during scheduled office hours. Finally, don’t procrastinate on work to be done!

Paul Logsdon
Director of Heterick Memorial Library

Heterick Memorial Library offers excellent academic resources: the Communication Skills Center; Wintzer Music Media Lab; OhioLINK access to more than 45.3 million library items from 85 state institutions; Inter Library Loans; audio visual equipment; reference databases; periodicals; individual and group study carrels with power and network connections; and two computer classrooms. For more information, contact the library at x2181 or visit the library website. And don’t forget to bring your ID card – you’ll need it for a variety of transactions.

Other helpful hints:

  • Choose a study spot: A quiet, well-lit place where you can concentrate is essential. Try academic buildings and the library.
  • Utilize your adviser: Not only a good resource for classes, your adviser can help you decide on a career path and keep you on track academically.
  • Find a mentor: Upper-class students in your major are excellent sources of advice on classes and job options in your field.
  • Get organized early: A ten-week quarter can be hectic if you don’t stay organized from the start. Make an academic game plan and stick to it. Wasted time is the culprit of many students.

Residence Life

Justin Courtney
Director of Residence Life

Living in the residence halls is a wonderful part of college life. If you are open to change, not only will you enjoy your new home, you’ll grow as a person too. Your freshman year in residence life will be a memorable one if you take the time to meet people and step outside your comfort zone. The true great moments of college are the times spent laughing with your new neighbors, watching TV in the lounges, or eating together in the cafeteria. Also, seek opportunities to connect with people you meet. Influences like Residence Assistants can become professional, personal and spiritual mentors. But you won’t meet people unless you get involved. Talk to your RAs, your professors, and your peers; be sure to look for opportunities to participate in organizations and student events; and don’t just hang around your dorm – go to class! After all, residence life is just part of college; you’re at ONU for an education, so invest yourself in your journey and see how worthwhile your time at Northern can be.

Andrew Rahrig
Junior, civil engineering major
Head Resident (HR) Founders Hall

Residence Life is much more than just enforcing rules. An excellent resource for dorm life, academics, athletics, campus awareness and more, Residence Life can help ease the transition from living at home to living at ONU. Residence Assistants (RAs) are highly trained and knowledgeable, and are valuable resources for first-year students – get to know them! Residence Life supports a friendly living and learning environment, meaning students are expected to observe 24-hour courtesy hours and weeknight quiet hours beginning at 8 p.m. To ensure a positive roommate experience, all residents sign a Roommate Bill of Rights acknowledging that they will respect each other for the duration of the year. Finally, your dormitory will provide various amenities, including an internet cable, but be sure to bring your own television cable and other additional items.

Other helpful hints:

  • The easiest way to meet people is to leave your door open when you’re in your room.
  • Learn how to make popcorn without burning it. A 3 a.m. fire alarm is not the way to make friends. Neither is the lingering smell of burnt popcorn.
  • Roommate Etiquette: Living with someone new is not always easy. Be courteous about visitors, noise and lights. Discuss your schedule with your roommate and be mindful of his or her’s. Set boundaries about sharing belongings and be sure to clean up after yourself. If you have a problem with your roommate, get it out in the open. Little annoyances can turn into full-blown issues if you let them simmer.

Social Life

Adriane Thompson-Bradshaw
Dean of Students

Be sure to participate in the orientation activities planned for your first few days on campus. Although some may seem silly, or you may want to use the time to settle into your room, these activities are designed to help you meet new people and connect to ONU. Any experience that makes you feel more at home will prove valuable as you adjust to college life. The same is true for getting involved with campus organizations and events. Avoid the temptation to go home every weekend. Choose to stay on campus and participate in social activities. You will enjoy your college experience all the more if you allow yourself to connect to the campus and its people.

Chris Senesi
Juior, Civil Engineering major
Student Senate Vice President

One of the best ways to get to know other students is by joining a campus organization. The day before classes start, Student Senate sponsors Welcome Fest, a major campus event where freshman and new students can learn more about the many student organizations at Ohio Northern. Organizations set up tables and share information about what they do and how you can join. You can also usually sign up to be on an e-mail list to get more information and to find out when they meet. This is a great and easy way to start getting involved on campus.

Take advantage of your college living situation and the fact that you are within walking distance to over 3,000 other students. It may be hard, but step outside of your comfort zone and get to know fellow students both in class and when walking around campus. Get to know your roommate and the students who live in your residence. Take advantage of the halls’ community set up by leaving your door open and stopping by an open door to stir up some conversation. You’ll never experience a living arrangement quite like this again!

Finally, ONU is filled with both students and staff who are ready to help you in all aspects of adjusting to college life. Don’t be afraid to approach an upperclassman or a faculty member, they will be more than happy to help. The college experience is like no other experience, so take advantage of every moment during your college career. Study hard and earn the grades, but don’t forget to take some time to meet new people, learn new skills, and experience new adventures. Before you know it, graduation will be right around the corner!

Levi Good
Sophomore, Management major
Student Planning Committee President

Freshman year should be renamed the “go-getter’” year. It is the perfect opportunity to get involved in one or more of the many student organizations Northern has to offer. Whether social or professional, these organizations provide the perfect outlet to meet new people, learn important time management skills, and help you discover new, unique things about yourself! Just remember, not every organization will be for you. Do not be afraid to test the waters, attend a few meetings, and meet a few members. Also, do not be afraid to ask questions; the members won’t mind and in the end you’ll be glad you did. And remember to smile and be friendly, people love it!

Other helpful Hints:

  • Don’t be afraid to branch out. Everyone loves their high school friends, but don’t miss out on the opportunity to meet other great people at college.
  • Be cautious about relationships: With so many new people around, give yourself time to adjust to college before jumping into a relationship with someone you just met.
  • Stay safe online: Facebook, My Space and Instant Messenger are fun and easy ways to communicate, but they don’t make up for in-person interactions. Be careful who you “friend” or give personal information to.
  • It’s all Greek to me: Greek life is a fun and exciting opportunity, but it’s not for everyone. Recruitment begins in September and representatives will visit the residence halls. Even if you don’t decide to “Go Greek,” recruitment is a good chance to meet new people.

Health and Well-being

Dr. Michael Schafer
Director of Counseling

Coming to college for the first time is an exciting experience, but it can also be a time of difficult adjustments. Missing friends and family is normal, but if these feeling become overwhelming you might be experiencing homesickness. Becoming involved in campus activities and talking with others about your feelings are two of the best ways to get back on track. If you are still having trouble, it might be time to talk to a professional from the Counseling Center. “Stressed out” is a term we often hear, but what does it really mean? Everyone experiences stress in varying degrees. When educational or environmental demands begin to exceed our coping resources, we end up feeling stressed out. Danger signs of being over-stressed include things like getting sick more often, not sleeping well at night, using drugs and alcohol, procrastination, or a loss of interest in activities. The best defense is to be aware of your stress level and take charge before you become totally overwhelmed. You can do this by striving for a sense of balance in your life, eating healthy and exercising regularly. Many people benefit from relaxation techniques like stretching or deep breathing. Contact the Counseling Center at x2190 for more ideas on how you can deal with stress effectively.

Other helpful hints:

  • Be wary of late-night eating: Midnight snacks are a nice diversion from studying, but they’re also a nice way to pack on the pounds. Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day and avoid eating greasy food late at night.
  • Drink plenty of water, take power naps, and wash your hands often: Basic health tasks can make all the difference when cold and flu season hits. With so many people living together, dorms can be germ hotbeds. Staying well-rested is will help you combat stress and illness. Twenty-minute power naps are excellent ways to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Sick at school: You’re sick and your mom is at home, so visit the Health Center and take the time to feel better. Sometimes it’s hard to slow down for a cold, but chances are you’ll be sick much longer if you don’t.
  • Take time for yourself: Even if it’s just a few minutes, taking a pause every day will ensure you don’t get burnt out.

Information Technology

Jeffrey Rieman 
Information Technology Project Manager

Your personal computer and its connection to the internet are an integral part of your academic studies here at ONU. It is important to maintain a system that runs efficiently in order to maximize you use of these resources. The Office of Information Technology recommends the following practices:

  • Keep your computer operating system up to date
  • Install Symantec Antivirus
  • Keep your virus definitions up to date
  • Set a strong administrator password
  • Never give out your username and password
  • Be careful following links in e-mail and instant messenger programs
  • Back up your work regularly

Robert Beer
Director of Academic Computer Users Services

Be aware of social engineering in the form of e-mail scams and phishing. E-mails and links that look legitimate can be used as a means to get your personal information. These are things to look for in e-mails that indicate social engineering:

  • The sender does not know you. For example, the e-mail starts with “Dear Customer.” Any legitimate business that has a relationship with you will know you by name.
  • There is a claim of some action either good or bad, like a notice that you have won a $1,000,000 prize or your account will be deactivated in 7 days.
  • The sender appears to be legitimate but is really rather anonymous, such as IT staff or EduWebmail. Any legitimate IT communication will come from a staff member whose name the department will recognize.
  • Requests for personal information username and password, birth date, or social security number.
  • The “sender” and “reply to” addresses aren’t the same.

Other helpful hints:

  • Watch what you post: ONU has a variety of security precautions, but ultimately you’re responsible for the information you post or share online.
  • Check your campus e-mail frequently: The campus communicates largely by e-mail. Weather delays, closings and other campus highlights (student-l’s) will be sent directly to your account. This is also where you register for classes and check your grades. Be sure to delete unwanted messages to help the system run more efficiently.
  • Print responsibly: Every student is granted a university printing limit of 750 pages. You will be charged for any materials over this number. Make sure you need something before you print it and recycle scrap pages.

Most importantly, remember that you are in charge of your experiences at ONU: if you start out with a positive attitude, you will have positive experiences. Remember that the next four (or six, depending on your major) years are going to be some of the most valuable in your life. Someday you may discover a forgotten box filled with old mementos from ONU in your attic or garage and you will look back on these days fondly, so treasure them now and make these the best years of your life!

Carlie Ellis
Senior professional writing major
Sardinia, Ohio