A special orientation prior to the beginning of each semester called Character Camp introduces all new students to character development and how vital it is to their success at College of the Ozarks and after college. Two upperclass students serve as "Mom and Pop" to each small group of incoming students. They spend ten days with their "family" teaching them about the expectations of the College, locating buildings, how to use services on-campus, and visiting their work stations.  


In 1987, Sir John Templeton initiated the Laws of Life Essay Contest in his hometown of Winchester, Tennessee. Through the contest, students are encouraged to search deep within themselves and write about their own "laws of life." Organizations concerned with the moral ideals of youth may sponsor a contest, and College of the Ozarks is proud to do so. Each semester, entering freshmen participate in the contest during Character Camp. The student authors of the winning essays receive book scholarships from the College and the John Templeton Foundation.