For Students

What to Expect

Develop Your Academic Plan

Work with an advisor to develop your first-semester academic plan and enroll in first semester classes. Remember: Complete the “Preparing for SOAR” module in MyUW and your "Pre-SOAR" Canvas course to provide your advisor with up-to-date information.

An advisor and student sit at a computer during SOAR advising and course registration.

Meet Fellow Badgers

At the Student Evening Program, freshmen will have the chance to connect with fellow new students over a full evening of small-group conversations, games, sports, crafts, and other memory-making activities as a Badger.

New students play card games during the SOAR Student Evening Program.

For Transfer Students

Transfer students will hear advice from current UW Transfers, as well as learn about resources from the Transfer Transition Program (TTP) and Transfer Engagement Center (TEC).

Students and staff from the Transfer Transition Program gather during one of their signature "Broke Bingo" events.

Explore Your New Home

Locate your residence hall, explore the Southeast and Lakeshore neighborhoods, discover the Wisconsin Union, and more! All SOAR attendees are welcome to take a campus walking tour.

A campus tour guide answers questions as they lead a group on a walk through campus.

Visit the Residence Halls

During two-day freshmen SOAR sessions, students and their guests can also get a first-hand look at life in University Housing by attending guided room viewings of select UW residence halls. *Not all residence halls available

Two students sit on a couch and play video games in a University residence hall.

Get Ready To Start the Semester

During the SOAR Resource Fair, ask questions and connect with campus offices and resources that will support you throughout your academic career. Plus, pick up your Wiscard student ID at Union South.

Guests ask questions to campus offices and departments at the SOAR Resource Fair.

SOAR for International Students

For the SOAR program, international students are defined as degree-seeking students holding an F-1 or J-1 visa. Additionally, SOAR defines freshmen as students whose last school attended was high school, and transfer students as students whose last school attended was another college or university.

Most international students will attend SOAR virtually, with three sessions offered throughout the summer. International students already studying in the United States are eligible to attend SOAR in-person throughout the summer. International students residing in the United States interested in attending SOAR in-person will follow the same SOAR schedule as domestic students: either a one-day transfer SOAR schedule or a two-day freshman SOAR schedule

Look for more information on your transition to UW–Madison in your New Student Newsletters from International Student Services (ISS).

Required International Student Orientation

In addition to the SOAR program, international students are required to attend International Student Orientation (ISO). Orientation components for international students include:

  • Check-in with International Student Services (ISS) for document scanning via Terra Dotta 
  • Canvas orientation course 
  • In-person orientation after move-in to connect you to fellow Badgers prior to classes (Find more in your Wisc.Edu email)
  • Optional ISS Welcome Events

Specialty SOAR Sessions

Virtual SOAR

For Transfer, International, and Online Undergraduate Students

Students attending a virtual SOAR session will use online tools and platforms to enroll in their upcoming semester’s courses and receive orientation information. Students do not need to be available for the entirety of their one-week session but should plan to have several open blocks to complete the program. Students attending virtually will also have a secondary SOAR component once they arrive on campus. See your Wisc.Edu email for details.

January SOAR

For Spring Undergraduate Students

January Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (JSOAR) is designed to help you successfully navigate your transition as a new Badger. This required, day-long program is held for incoming Spring undergraduate students at UW–Madison and includes two core components: Academics & Course Enrollment and Student Life & Transition. You must attend the full program to enroll in spring-semester courses.

Your Transition to UW–Madison is Just Getting Started.

Find more new-student opportunities through the Office for Student Transition and Family Engagement (OSTFE).