A W crest banner flutters in the wind on Bascom Hill at the University of Wisconsin-Madison to showcase campus scenery.

Welcome new Badgers! It's time to Ready, Sett, SOAR!

COVID-19 updates

Please be patient when contacting our office, response times may be longer than usual. At this time, we are preparing for a in-person SOAR program this summer with registration opening on May 4th at 12:00 Noon.


Before coming to campus, use this website as your guide to prepare for your SOAR session. This site provides key information regarding SOAR and links to a variety of campus offices and resources to help you access the most up-to-date information for your transition to UW-Madison.

If you have additional questions, you can also always contact the SOAR office by email at soar@studentlife.wisc.edu. We can’t wait to see you on campus! On, Wisconsin!

Ground view of SOAR students in a small group discussion.

1) Complete Your Admissions Steps

The Office of Admissions provides information for new freshmen, transfer, and international students who are transitioning to UW-Madison. Please complete the correct checklist for your admit type before continuing with the SOAR registration process.

Admission Checklist for Spring-Admitted Students

2) Plan Your Placement Test(s)

Campus response plans in the face of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) have caused disruption to many university services, including placement testing. In the event that specific test dates are canceled, individuals registered for those events will be notified by email through the same email address used to complete the registration. Testing and Evaluation Services also maintains an updated list of test site closures.

Students are asked to retain the original emailed appointment confirmation and follow the instructions provided in that communication if they need to reschedule. Once normal operations resume, UW institutions will be introducing additional test dates to help compensate for those that were canceled.

Please check the following webpages from Testing and Evaluation Services for the most up-to-date information on testing availability and options:


No, we did not spell that word wrong. A badger’s home is called a “sett”. When you come to SOAR, you will meet many fellow Badgers and start making UW-Madison your home. SOAR gives you a closer look at what life is like for a UW–Madison student. This section is all about getting set for your SOAR experience.

SOAR New Student Leaders welcome guests in Union South Varsity Hall

3) Prepare to Make Your SOAR Reservation

Your SOAR reservation process involves making several key decisions. Please take time to complete the planning tasks below and ensure you are fully prepared to make your SOAR reservation.

Preview the Content of SOAR

Our SOAR Program Overview page and Schedule at Glance pages provide a preview into the program to help start envisioning your SOAR experience.

At center, a new-student leader talks with incoming first-year undergraduates and facilitates a small-group discussion at SOAR.

Select Your SOAR Advising Group

During SOAR registration, you'll select the advising unit that best fits your academic goals. At SOAR, you'll work with advisors in your unit to explore academic options and enroll in courses. Please review the SOAR Advising Guide to help you decide!

A SOAR Peer Advisor meets with incoming first-year undergraduates and helps them to register for their classes using laptop computers at SOAR.

Decide if You Will Bring Parents/Guests

We welcome parents & family at SOAR! Our concurrent Parent & Guest Program at SOAR is specifically designed to empower parents/guests to learn more about campus resources and support networks to help their students succeed.

A UW student and their two family members take a picture with a photo frame labeled

Accommodations for Disability and Language Interpretation

We strive to ensure all participants can fully participate in the SOAR program. If you or a guest need accommodations during SOAR, you must indicate your needs on your SOAR reservation. Click the links below for more information.

Interpreter provides caption-to-screen Communications Access Realtime Translation (CART) service during a presentation.

4) Explore the SOAR Reservation System

Summer & Fall 2020 admitted students will be able to start exploring the SOAR reservation system on Monday, March 2, 2020 at 12:00 PM CST. During this time, you can enter all your personal information for your SOAR reservation. Click the button below to access the SOAR Reservation System.

SOAR sessions will occur from mid-June through the end of August. Given the recent campus decisions about the impacts of COVID-19, the Center for the First-Year Experience has changed the opening of SOAR date selection to Monday, May 4 at 12:00 PM CST. University Health Services is maintaining an FAQ page on COVID-19, which contains comprehensive information and updates for campus. The health and safety of our campus community is our top priority and at the center of our decision-making.

Button saying SOAR Reservation System


Once you have confirmed your SOAR reservation, you need to ensure you are coming to Madison fully prepared. Make sure you complete the following tasks to finish your SOAR preparation and discover the exciting resources waiting for you.

We are so excited to see you on campus soon! Our SOAR staff are always happy to answer questions you have during your transition to the UW-Madison community. Welcome to the Badger family and On, Wisconsin!

Incoming first-year undergraduates use provided laptop computers with a message saying "Welcome SOAR Students"to register online or their classes during a SOAR session.

5) Reserve Overnight Lodging

Whether you are coming to SOAR from out of town or attending a freshman session (which spans two days), it is important to find your badger’s den for the night. Fortunately, you have many options to choose from as you plan for SOAR!

On-Campus SOAR Housing

Both students and parents/guests have the opportunity to stay overnight on-campus in Smith Residence Hall for their SOAR session. We recommend staying on campus to experience everything residence hall living has to offer. Book your stay online using the Conference Services SOAR housing reservation page SOAR Housing Reservations will open in late April. Overnight housing in Smith Residence Hall is not available for one-day transfer sessions or late-August sessions (after August 18).

Local Hotels

If SOAR housing is not the best fit for you or your family, there are many local places to stay in the Madison community. Our Local Hotel partners page provides a robust list of hotels both on-campus and nearby that offer competitive rates and discounts to SOAR participants.

6) Finish Other Important Tasks before SOAR

  • Complete the Preparing for SOAR and Your First Year module in MyUW. This module asks you important questions regarding your academic history and provides information to help you get ready for your first year on campus. This module must be completed before arriving at SOAR.
  • Thoroughly review your SOAR confirmation materials. Shortly after you finalize your SOAR reservation, you will receive a confirmation e-mail with your session’s details. You will also receive our mailed SOAR confirmation, which will provide all important information regarding SOAR.
  • Plan your travel to Madison. Our Getting to Campus page provides information on multiple transportation options whether you are traveling by car, bus, or plane.
  • Pay any outstanding SOAR fees. Visit our Paying for SOAR page fore more information on SOAR program fees. If you have any outstanding SOAR fees, please pay via our online payment system. Due to security reasons, we are unable to accept payment over the phone. We highly recommend making your payment online before your session. Failure to pay before attending will significantly slow down your check-in process.
  • Update your SOAR reservation details (if needed). You can make any changes to your reservation up to one week before your selected session through the SOAR reservation system.