January SOAR FAQs

SOAR Sign-Up

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How do I sign up for SOAR?

To be able to access the SOAR reservation system, you must have been admitted to the Spring 2021 semester and have accepted your admission offer for the Spring 2021 semester. 

  • On December 2, we will invite you via email to start exploring the SOAR reservation system if you have accepted your admission offer. During this time, you will be able to enter all your personal information and get familiar with our system. 
  • Starting December 7, you will be able to finish registering and reserve your spot in the January SOAR program! Students admitted to the Spring 2021 semester are strongly encouraged to sign-up for SOAR by Saturday, January 2, 2021.

The reservation system says that SOAR is happening from January 5-21. What does this mean?

Our January SOAR Program Overview page provides outlines the full SOAR experience and due dates.

Please keep in mind that you are signing up for you spot the January SOAR program itself, not a particular date. During the SOAR sign-up process, all students will be reserving their spot in the overall January SOAR program. By signing up for January SOAR, this means that:

  • You are confirming that you intend to enroll in UW-Madison classes in Spring 2021
  • You will gain access to all our online SOAR program content and SOAR advising process

Between January 5-10, you will complete both the required SOAR Canvas courses: Academic Advising and Student Life & Transition. You will be able to complete them at your own pace during this timeframe. 

After completing both Canvas courses, you will work with your advising group to schedule a one-on-one appointment time that works for you. SOAR advising appointments will take place during January 13-21 (except Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend), and appointment dates and times vary across advising groups. In your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course, you will receive specific instructions on how to schedule your advising appointment and the days your advising group is available for appointments during this timeframe. 

Lastly, during your advising meeting, your academic advisor will explain when you can begin enrolling in your first-semester courses. Students are responsible for enrolling in courses, and your advising group will provide guidance for helping you build and enroll in your courses.

I can’t access the SOAR reservation system. Why is this happening?

The most common reason is that you have not yet paid your enrollment deposit to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment, or your payment has not finished processing. Paying your enrollment deposit is the way students confirm their intention to attend UW-Madison and authorizes them to access our reservation system. It can take up to 48 hours after payment for the University to process your deposit. If it has been more than 48 hours after paying your enrollment deposit and you cannot access the SOAR reservation system, please contact the SOAR office.

Please review the following instructions from the Office of Admissions and Recruitment to ensure you confirm your place in the Spring 2021 freshman or transfer class:

  • Log in to the MyUW student portal to accept/decline your offer of admission in the Student Center.
    • If this is your first time logging in, you must activate your NetID. Your Student Center also gives you access to other personalized information, including your financial aid package.
  • Click on Student Center down arrow/icon and select “Applicant Homepage”.
  • Click on the tile page with “Admissions”
  • Within the Admissions tile, it has “Application Status”; it will show you the applications that you have submitted.
  • Accept/Decline Admission: follow the instructions it gives you to officially confirm.
    • To accept your offer of admission and pay your enrollment deposit by check or money order, please complete and submit the Enrollment Deposit Form.

General Program Questions

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What will happen during the online SOAR program for students?

There are two components to SOAR – Academics & Course Enrollment and Student Life & Transition. The content of the SOAR program is designed to help you have a successful transition as a new Badger. The SOAR program consists of two required online courses on these themes and an individual audio or video meeting with a professional advisor.

To view a full outline of the SOAR program and your required tasks, view our January SOAR Program Overview page.

Is there an online SOAR option for parents & family members of incoming students?

Yes! We offer free SOAR content for parents and family members of future Badgers . We recognize that you play a central role in your student’s life and that you will continue to be a source of guidance and support during your student’s UW-Madison experience. We will provide you with information on the resources that will help facilitate a successful transition for your student. In the meantime, please have your student add your contact information on Step 4 of their SOAR reservation.

Visit our January SOAR for Parents & Families page for more information!

Will there be any in-person options for SOAR this January?

No, the entire January SOAR program will be delivered online.

Will there be a fee for SOAR if it's online?

No, the cost of the online SOAR program for both students and their families will be included in the New Student Fee which will be charged on the student’s first-semester tuition bill.

How much of a time commitment will the online SOAR program be?

Students must complete the required content in a timely manner. As outlined on our January SOAR Program Overview page, below are time estimates for each required task:

  • The Preparing for SOAR module in MyUW: 30 minutes
  • Placement testing: 90 minutes per test
  • SOAR Student Life & Transition Canvas Course:  120 minutes for required content (Unit 1) & 100 minutes of Connect With Your Badger Community content (Unit 2)
  • SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course: Varies by advising group
  • Meet with an academic advisor: At least 30 minutes
  • Enroll in courses: Varies by individual student

You will work with your SOAR advising group to schedule an appointment time that works for you. You will enroll for classes on your own after receiving instructions during your advising appointment.

What are the deadlines for all my SOAR tasks?

Which of my emails will SOAR communications go to?

We ask students to activate their Wiscmail account (@wisc.edu) once they pay their enrollment deposit, as most University communications are sent to this account. It’s important to check your Wiscmail and MyUW portal regularly for SOAR & University communications, to view your financial aid package, and to pay your bill. You can also change your preferred email in your Student Center through MyUW by following this step-by-step instruction page. You may also add additional email addresses in Step 9 of your SOAR reservation if you want to receive SOAR communications to multiple accounts.

If you feel that you are not getting SOAR communications, be sure to do the following:

  • Check your SOAR reservation to ensure all emails are correct (e.g. no misspelling, incorrect punctuation, etc.)
  • Check the junk, spam, and deleted folders of your personal email you used to apply to UW-Madison and Wiscmail.
  • If you need any help with your Wiscmail at any point, it is best to contact the DoIT Help Desk.

Is the SOAR content able to be completed on a phone or tablet?

The SOAR registration process is mobile friendly and all SOAR program content is viewable on a mobile device. However, there are portions of the program which are best to complete on a desktop or laptop. Review our January SOAR Program Overview page for more information on recommended technology for the SOAR program and academic year.

Preparing for SOAR Module

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What is the Preparing for SOAR module?

In this brief module, you will:

  • Learn important information about SOAR advising groups;
  • Confirm your final SOAR advising group; and
  • Provide your SOAR advisors with more information about your academic experiences and goals.

Completing this task is essential to receive access to your SOAR Academic Advising course on time and ensure your SOAR advisors are equipped with all the information necessary to help you plan for your first-semester courses.

How do I access Preparing for SOAR?

After signing up for January SOAR, you can access the module using this Preparing for SOAR link or by searching “Preparing for SOAR” in MyUW. You must have an active SOAR reservation before you can complete the Preparing for SOAR module.

When do I need to complete the Preparing for SOAR module?

You should complete the Preparing for SOAR module as soon as possible after signing up for SOAR, and no later than Sunday, January 3 at 11:59 p.m. CST. If you do not complete Preparing for SOAR by this deadline, you will not receive access to your SOAR Academic Advising course on time and may experience delays in your advising and enrollment process.

I have already sent my AP/IB scores and/or transcripts to UW-Madison. Do I still need to self-report all my test scores and transfer credit in Preparing for SOAR?

Transfer students: You may skip the AP and Transfer Courses section, as that information will already be reflected in your Transfer Credit Evaluation in MyUW Student Center.

Freshman students: You are encouraged to self-report as much information as you can in Preparing for SOAR in case there are any delays in processing your AB/IB scores or transfer credits. 

What should I do if I have trouble completing Preparing for SOAR?

If you have any problems with the module, we recommend trying the following: 

  • Use a different browser or a private/incognito window. Google Chrome and Firefox work best with the module.
  • Clearing your browser cache may also help solve any problems with completing Preparing for SOAR as well. Follow these instructions from our DoIT Help Desk if you need help with that process: Clearing Your Browser Cache and Cookies

If you still encounter issues with the module or have any questions, please contact the SOAR office for help.

Placement Testing & Other Exams

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How do I register for placement testing?

UW System Placement Tests – English, Math, & World Languages (French, German, Spanish): On January 4, visit the UW-Madison Placement Testing Information page on the Testing & Evaluation Services website. Shortly after registering, you will receive an email from candidatesupport@scantron.com with a password and instructions to access the Scantron online placement testing system. If you need help with placement testing registration or accessing the Scantron testing system, please contact Testing and Evaluation Services at frontdesk@exams.wisc.edu.

ESLAT: Students required to take the ESLAT (English as a Second Language Assessment Test) will complete the test in Canvas, the University’s learning management system. After you have signed up for SOAR and activated your Wiscmail account, you will see the ESLAT exam appear on your UW Canvas dashboard on Monday, January 4. If you are required to take the ESLAT, please do not take the UW System English placement test in the Scantron testing system.

When do I need to complete my placement testing?

Students must complete all their required placement testing on Monday, January 4. Placement test scores take several business days to be received and processed by the University. Failure to complete all your required placement testing on time may result in your inability to enroll in all your first-semester courses during SOAR.

Why am I required to take placement testing?

Placement test scores help academic advisors learn about your skills and help choose courses at the correct level in each subject. Placement testing requirements vary depending on your student type. You will receive an email from the Office of Admissions & Recruitment with additional information about the test(s) that you may be required to take. To confirm which test(s) you need to take, consult that email or contact the Office of Admissions & Recruitment at onwisconsin@admissions.wisc.edu.

Freshman Students

  • Math & English: Freshmen are required to take a math placement test and an English placement test (UW System or ESLAT), regardless of previous coursework or test credit, such as: AP, IB credit, and CAPP credit. 
  • World Languages: Freshmen are strongly encouraged to test in the world language they studied in high school if you plan to continue in the language you studied. Students who have previous experience in Spanish, French, or German and who plan to take coursework in that language at UW–Madison must take the placement test in that language to qualify and enroll in classes beyond the entry level language course. Be sure to review the UW Guide to determine your degree requirements for world language and consult with your advisor at SOAR.

Transfer Students

Information about which test(s) you need to take is also available at the bottom of your Transfer Credit Evaluation, located in your Student Center in MyUW. If you have any questions regarding your placement testing requirement(s), please contact Credit Evaluation Services at crediteval@registrar.wisc.edu or 608-890-4000.

International Students

Students who were required to submit a TOEFL or IELTS will take the English as a Second Language Assessment Test (ESLAT) instead of the UW System English placement test. The ESLAT is used to assess students’ English language skills required for academic work and to place students in appropriate ESL courses.

Am I required to take one or more of the World Language placement tests: Spanish, French, or German even if I have anticipated AP credit?

Freshman are strongly encouraged to test in the world language they studied in high school, even if they have anticipated AP test credit. Freshman who have previous experience in Spanish, French, or German and who plan to take coursework in this language at UW–Madison, must take a placement test in that language to qualify and enroll in classes beyond the entry level language course. Previous experience may include native speakers and those who have previous coursework in the language. 

If you are interested in taking a course in world language other than Spanish, French, or German, visit the UW-Madison Languages Placement Procedures page for more information. Additionally, many programs have a world language requirement. Be sure to review the UW Guide to determine your degree requirements for world language and consult with your advisor during your SOAR advising week.

How will my IB/A-Level/AP credits transfer? Who should I speak to about those at SOAR and how?

International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Level (A-Level) students may be awarded either a diploma or course certificate to reflect their standard of work. The results will be based around students’ coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor, and quality control already built into the programs. When you meet with an academic advisor as part of SOAR, they will share how all your credits and exams will transfer.

You can find more information about how credits transfer at the UW-Madison Credit By Exam page.

What if I cannot complete my placement tests on time?

All students are expected to complete their placement testing prior to enrolling in classes. Failure to complete the test may result in an inability to register for some key courses. If you cannot complete your placement testing on January 4, contact the SOAR Office to discuss your situation.

Advising & Enrollment

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How will I enroll for my classes since SOAR is online?

During the SOAR advising process, students will learn the information they need to successfully enroll in their first semester courses. All students will receive a full schedule that counts towards their degree requirements after they complete SOAR. We are committed to providing every student at least one individual appointment with an academic advisor to discuss what they learned in Canvas and plan their course selection and enrollment process. In addition, campus has worked over the past several years to make our enrollment tools easy to use and user friendly.

The SOAR advising process includes: 

  • Completing the Preparing for SOAR module in MyUW
  • Your required SOAR Advising Canvas course (based on your academic interests) 
  • At least one academic advising appointment with a professional advisor 
  • Any consultations with key departments (if needed)

Review our January SOAR Program Overview page for more information.

How will I/my student be able to meet with a SOAR advisor?

We are committed to providing all incoming students the opportunity to meet with a professional academic advisor within their SOAR advising group before enrolling in courses. In your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course, you will receive instructions for scheduling your advising appointment(s). You will work with your SOAR advising group to schedule an appointment time that works for you.

 

I’m thinking of double-majoring between schools/colleges. How will this work for SOAR advising?

In some cases you can do this and some cases you cannot, as it depends on the policies of each school/college. For SOAR, you should work with the advising group which matches your “primary” interest. If you are equally interested in both majors, you should work with Cross-College Advising Service to start. The Preparing for SOAR module will also help you identify the advising group that best matches your academic interests and career goals. 

What are the required courses for freshmen students?

We do not have a core curriculum for freshmen students and it varies widely between majors. Students will work with their academic advisor during SOAR to identify courses to take in their first semester. In the meantime, we encourage students to explore semester-by-semester plans for many majors and degree programs in the UW Guide

How much time do I need to dedicate to my SOAR advising process?

Each student will have at least one (1) academic advising appointment that will be scheduled for a minimum of 30 minutes and enroll in courses on their own. More specific information about your specific  appointment scheduling process and advising requirements will be provided in your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course. You will work with your SOAR advising group to schedule an appointment time that works for you. 

Review our January SOAR Program Overview page for a list of estimated time commitments and due dates.

Are advisors available early in the morning and evening to accommodate time zone differences?

We understand the SOAR program serves students in multiple time zones and our SOAR advising groups strive to accommodate students in their home time zones whenever possible.

Why do I have two holds on my MyUW account from SOAR?

No need to worry! All incoming Spring 2021 students have two enrollment holds that will be released after completing required SOAR program tasks:

  • Reviewing Unit 1 of the SOAR Student Life & Transition Canvas course and passing the knowledge checks: The hold for this task will be removed within 15 minutes after completing Unit 1.
  • Meeting with an academic advisor: During your advising meeting, your academic advisor will explain when your SOAR Advising hold will be removed and when you can begin enrolling in your first-semester courses.

I'm having trouble scheduling my advising appointment. Who can I contact for help?

 Your SOAR Academic Advising course has the contact information for your SOAR advising group. Please review Step 2 and Step 4 of your SOAR Academic Advising course to find this information. The staff in your SOAR advising group are happy to help if you have any questions or problems finishing your advising process.

If you still cannot find the contact information for your advising group, contact the SOAR office and we will help direct you.

SOAR Canvas Courses

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How do I access the SOAR courses?

 If you have registered for SOAR and completed the Preparing for SOAR module by Sunday, January 3, you will use your UW Canvas dashboard to access both SOAR Canvas courses starting Tuesday, January 5.

How much time will it take to complete the courses?

Review our January SOAR Program Overview page for a list of estimated time commitments and due dates. You will be able to complete these courses at your own pace between January 5-10 and you do not have to complete them both in one sitting. Canvas will save your progress as you go through each module!

Student Life & Transition: Unit 1 required content will take approximately 120 minutes to complete and Unit 2 has approximately 100 minutes of additional content.  You will be able to complete this course at your own pace and you do not have to complete it all in one sitting. Unit 1 must be completed by Sunday, January 10 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

Academic Advising: The amount of content in your SOAR Academic Advising course varies across our advising groups. In the course, your advising group will connect you with important academic information while guiding you through the course selection process. Steps 1-4 must be completed by Sunday, January 10 at 11:59 p.m. CST.

What is the difference between Unit 1 and Unit 2 in the SOAR Student Life & Transition course?

One of the goals of SOAR is to help you become familiar with campus life and to provide information that will help with the transition to the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Unit 1 contains the required content that must be completed by January 10. This content includes important information from many key departments on campus. 

While Unit 2 is optional, it is filled with information that will be very applicable as you begin your first semester and for connecting with your Badger community. We invite you to take your time and move through it at your own pace throughout the summer.

I completed all of Unit 1 in the Student Life & Transition course, but it is not being marked as complete. What should I do?

On the Acknowledgement Check page in Unit 1, please ensure that you clicked both the “Forward” answer choice and then “Submit Quiz”. Canvas will not record your submission unless you submitted your answer before moving onto the next page. As long as you completed all Unit 1 content and earned a 1/1 score on the Acknowledgement Check at the end of Unit 1, you did everything correctly! If you are unable to access the Acknowledgement Check or still have this issue after submitting, please contact the SOAR office.

Unit 2 is not being marked as complete even though I reviewed all the content. Why is this happening?

There is no issue or problem. Since Unit 2 content is optional and can be completed in any order, there will be no green check marks to indicate completion.  

Do keep in mind that if you take any remote courses through Canvas that each Canvas course operates a little differently based upon your instructor’s expectations. Therefore, you may not always see green check marks that indicate completion of materials. This does not mean that these materials are not required elements of your course.

Who can I contact for help if I have trouble scheduling an advising appointment or completing my SOAR Academic Advising course?

 Your SOAR Academic Advising course has the contact information for your SOAR advising group. Please review Step 2 and Step 4 of your SOAR Academic Advising course to find this information. The staff in your SOAR advising group are happy to help if you have any questions or problems finishing your advising process. If you still cannot find the contact information for your advising group, contact the SOAR office and we will help direct you.

Accessibility

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I/my student need to register for courses as early to ensure accommodations due to disability are in place by Fall. What should I/they do?

We are collaborating with our partners in the McBurney Disability Resource Center to ensure the best options for students needing early course registration. If you anticipate needing accommodations for your courses this spring, please start the McBurney intake process as soon as possible.

Are accommodations available for my advising appointment?

We value disability as an aspect of diversity and want to ensure that you are able to complete SOAR requirements and fully participate in our programming. SOAR staff members are happy to assist you and your family members with needs you may have due to a permanent or temporary disability or condition. All accommodation requests and information must be made through Step 7 in your SOAR reservation. It is important that you provide as much detail about your needs as possible so we can arrange appropriate services for you.

Other Campus-Related Questions

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How is campus responding to COVID-19 for the Spring 2021 semester?

For Spring 2021, academic instruction will consist of a mix of in-person and remote courses. For the most current information about the University’s response to COVID-19, please visit the UW-Madison COVID-19 Response website. If you have any questions about these plans, you can contact campus leadership at covidresponse@vc.wisc.edu or use the Ask Bucky service.

How do I access the New Student To-Do List? (Incoming freshman only)

Domestic and international freshman students should have the New Student To-Do List app pre-loaded onto their MyUW home screen. If it does not appear automatically, freshman students can search for the app in MyUW or use todo.newstudent.wisc.edu.

Should I still do tasks in my New Student To-do List? (Incoming Freshman only)

Yes, the New Student To-Do List is the broad list of tasks you must complete before you arrive on campus in the Fall. SOAR is just one part of your task list.

When will Spring move-in happen?

All information regarding Spring 2021 Move-in will be available on the University Housing Moving & Breaks page. Check this page for updates starting in December.

Are there virtual campus tour options available?

The Office of Admissions offers a virtual campus tour website designed to showcase the wide array of opportunities, programs, and services that our campus can offer you. Admissions is also hosting Virtual Information sessions and events for admitted students to learn more about our university throughout the summer. Recordings of previous Virtual Information sessions are also available.

I am considering deferring my enrollment to the spring 2021 semester. Should I still register for SOAR?

If you are considering deferring your enrollment, please thoroughly review the Office of Admissions’ Deferred Enrollment information page before registering for SOAR. Please contact the Office of Admissions as soon as possible to discuss your options.