COUNSELING (A.K.A HELP) CENTER
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Counseling FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Click a question below to see a response.

  1. I hear people saying they're taking the basics. What does that mean?
  2. How will I know what classes to enroll in?
  3. What if I want to transfer to another college to finish a Bachelor's degree?
  4. My friend had to take Orientation. What's that?
  5. How will I know how many classes to take?
  6. What is a semester hour?
  7. Do I have to have a major?
  8. What about testing? How will I know if testing requirements apply to me?

1. I hear people saying they're taking the basics. What does that mean?

When students talk about taking the basics, they usually mean they are taking classes in English, social sciences, mathematics, speech — courses that are common to many majors.


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2. How will I know what classes to enroll in?

Test results from THEA or Compass will determine placement into college-level or developmental classes in English, math and reading-intensive courses like government. Texas law requires most students to be tested for these skills before they enroll for the first time. There are exceptions to the testing rule. Please call the OC Help Center at 432-335-6433 for more information on testing requirements.

Some classes have prerequisite requirements, meaning there is another class or some other condition you must meet first. This information is always the last line of the course description in the OC catalog.


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3. What if I want to transfer to another college to finish a Bachelor's degree?

You can easily begin your college studies at OC and we will work with you to help you pick classes that transfer and fulfill specific requirements in your major. Different colleges and majors may have different requirements.

It's important for you to know that courses may transfer to a university, but may not apply to your degree. For example, if you begin your college studies intending to major in business and follow that course of study, then change your mind and switch to engineering, some of the courses required for a business degree may not apply to an engineering curriculum. There are many courses that you can take which will fit into almost every degree and we will help you to choose classes that will transfer and apply to your bachelor's degree.

Need help or have questions about transferring? Please visit the Transfer Center in the Student Union Building Room (SUB) 204A.


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4. My friend had to take Orientation. What's that?

Our ORIE 1100 is an introduction for new students who enroll in six or more semester hours. It's designed to help you become familiar with college in general and OC in particular. ORIE 1100 also focuses on skills that most college students want to develop: effective study techniques, time management and stress management. ORIE 1100 is an eight week (half-semester) class taught by faculty and staff at OC. Many sections are taught as web-based classes.


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5. How will I know how many classes to take?

We can give you individual assistance with this decision. As a general rule, you should plan to spend two to three hours OUTSIDE class for every hour in the classroom. That means that a three semester hour class may demand six to nine additional hours each week. You also need to consider other obligations: family, work, commuting, chores, etc. We have some worksheets in the Help Center that can help you divide up your week.

Full-time students enroll in at least twelve semester hours — usually about four classes. Any course load under twelve semester hours is considered part-time. Whether you are full or part-time depends on a number of factors.


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6. What is a semester hour?

Semester hours represent the clock time that you spend in class each week during a semester. The long semesters, Fall and Spring, are each sixteen weeks long. Midwinter, May Mester and Summer I and II are shorter in duration, but class meeting times are longer.

Here's an example: English 1301 (first semester college English) is a three semester hour class. (The second digit of OC's course number indicates the semester hours.) You could take this class three days each week, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and go to class for 50 minutes each day. You could take it twice a week and spend 1 hour and 20 minutes in class each day. Or, you could enroll in an evening class that meets one night each week for a two hour and fifty minute class. Whichever scheduling option you choose, you will spend approximately three clock hours in ENGL 1301 for sixteen weeks — 3 semester hours, 48 contact hours.


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7. Do I have to have a major?

It's not a requirement. In fact, you can graduate from OC with a general degree: Associate in Arts, Associate in Science or Associate in Arts — General Studies. Each of these degrees represents a core of academic courses and a variety of elective courses that total at least 63 semester hours.

If you're planning a specific career, OC has many major plans that will help you to realize your goal. Our bulletin, or catalog, published each year, lists the requirements for these majors as well as course descriptions for the classes required for each.

There are also shorter training options at OC. Called Certificates of Technology or Completion, these programs focus on technical skills in a particular field.


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8. What about testing? How will I know if testing requirements apply to me?

The Texas Success Initiative Assessment (TSIA) is a placement test designed to help Odessa College determine if you are ready for college-level work in the general areas of reading, writing and mathematics. This program also will help determine what type of course or intervention will best meet your needs to help you become better prepared for college-level course work if you are not ready.

If a student does not meet the passing standard in one or more academic areas (reading, writing and mathematics) on the TSI, state law requires that developmental, or remedial, courses in those areas be completed before the student can progress to college-level work related to reading, writing or math. In some cases, the student will need to retest in an area before completing TSI requirements and continuing to college level courses.

Developmental courses are designed to strengthen students' skills in reading, writing and math. They are not considered college level courses and will not satisfy degree requirements or transfer. They do count toward the student's academic load for financial aid purposes.

There are several exceptions to testing. Please contact a Student Success Coach at 432-335-6433 for more information.


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