Welcome Future Badgers! This information is for INTERNATIONAL FRESHMEN & TRANSFER STUDENTS who will attend the SOAR program virtually. This page will help you prepare for your online SOAR experience by providing:
- A full outline of the SOAR program
- A list all SOAR task due dates based on your session week
- The technology recommendations for the SOAR program and academic year
- Tips for protecting your information and identity online
Scroll down this page or use the navigation panel below to prepare for your upcoming SOAR experience!
Student Program Outline
The SOAR program consists of the following:
- Completing several important tasks before your session week
- Having an individual video or audio meeting with a professional academic advisor
- Enrolling in your Fall courses
You will need to follow the process outlined on this page to complete the entire SOAR Program and be able to enroll in Fall courses. The times listed in the sections below are an approximation of how long it will take you to complete each part.
Due Before Your SOAR Session
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Complete Placement Testing
Placement test scores help academic advisors learn about your skills and help you choose courses at the correct level in each subject. This is one of the most important tasks to complete before SOAR. During SOAR, your advisor will interpret your placement test scores and how they impact your course options.
In order to participate in the SOAR program, you must complete their required placement tests at least 2 weeks before their SOAR session. Failure to complete your placement testing on time may result in an inability to register for all your Fall courses. The SOAR registration system will require you to confirm that you understand this requirement. However, signing up for SOAR does not register you for online placement testing.
More information can be found on the Placement Testing Page.
Make any final edits to your SOAR reservation (varies per person)
Complete Preparing for SOAR module in MyUW (30 min)
We believe that your SOAR experience should focus on you! The information collected in the Preparing for SOAR module helps our SOAR staff and advisors personalize your SOAR experience and ensure you are connected with the appropriate advising group. You also must complete the Preparing for SOAR module to get access to your required SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course.
To access the module, use this direct Preparing for SOAR link.
Due Date: 1 week before your session (the Sunday before by 11:59 p.m. CST).
You will receive a reminder email with instructions for accessing this app in MyUW two weeks before your SOAR session week. You should complete the Preparing for SOAR module as soon as possible after you receive this email.
Schedule your meeting with an Academic Advisor (varies per person)
About a week prior to your SOAR advising week, you will receive an email from your SOAR advising group with specific information about your advising process and instructions on how to schedule your advising appointment during your virtual SOAR session week. After you receive that email, please be sure to complete your scheduling instructions as soon as possible. You will work with your advising group to select a time during your virtual session week that works for you.
Note: You must have completed the Preparing for SOAR module in MyUW before you can reach this step in your advising process. Make sure you meet your session’s Preparing for SOAR deadline!
Review Required Canvas content - SOAR Academic Advising course (varies by advising group)
Your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course will be specific to your advising group. In this course, your advising group will:
- Connect you with important information about the academic advising process and degree requirements
- Guide you through the course selection process.
You will be able to complete this course at your own pace and you do not have to complete it all in one sitting. Canvas will save your progress as you go! For help navigating the Canvas course, visit our Completing SOAR Canvas courses page.
Open Date: The Tuesday before your session week
- You must complete the Preparing for SOAR module to get access to your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course on time.
Due Date: Steps 1-4 must be completed by the day before your session week (Sunday) at 11:59 p.m. CST.
Other Important University Tasks
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Send your official final transcripts and credit-bearing exam scores to the Office of Admissions & Recruitment
Final transcript deadlines:
- Fall Transfer Students (Semester school): June 14*
- Fall Transfer Students (Quarter School): July 10*
- Summer Semester Students: June 8
*Or next business day if deadline falls on a weekend.
If you have any questions about the process or the status of your transcript, please contact the Office of Admissions & Recruitment.
If you have scores from the AP, CLEP, IB, or A-Level exams, you might be eligible to receive course credit for your scores. Request that CollegeBoard or International Baccalaureate program send your official scores directly to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment. Your scores will arrive electronically directly from the testing agency.
We also encourage you to have score reports for credit-bearing exams and unofficial transcripts of college coursework available for your SOAR advising process. If you were admitted with university courses in-progress, please have either your final transcript or a grade report for these courses available during your virtual SOAR session week. Admission consultants will confirm you meet the provisions of your admission before you will be allowed to enroll in classes at SOAR.
Complete the Pre-Enrollment Checklist Task in MyUW (15 min)
Before enrolling each semester, you are required to complete the Pre Enrollment Checklist (PEC), also known as the Financial Responsibility Agreement. The Pre-Enrollment Checklist includes you understanding and agreeing to financial responsibility terms & conditions.
To release this hold, follow these step-by-step instructions for completing the PEC. After you’ve done these steps, the hold will be automatically removed and the PEC should no longer appear in your Tasks tile. If your Tasks tile does not show the Pre-Enrollment Checklist, then you have completed all necessary steps needed for this task before SOAR.
If you need help completing the Pre-Enrollment Checklist or experience technical issues, contact one of the following offices:
- Office of the Registrar – firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-262-3811
- DoIT Help Desk – email@example.com or 608-264-4357 (select Option 3 for MyUW support)
Review your MyUW Student Center for any holds or tasks (20 min)
You may have a hold on your account that must be completed to enroll in Fall courses, such as sending your final transcripts or self-reporting certain academic information to the Office of Admissions. Follow these instructions to check if you have any holds in your MyUW Student Center.
Please note: You will have a temporary Fall enrollment hold placed on your account called ‘SOAR Advising Required’. This hold will be lifted after you meet with your academic advisor during your virtual SOAR session week. Please resolve any other holds or tasks that you can before your advising appointment.
Update your contact information in MyUW Student Center (if needed)
It is important to ensure your contact information is accurate on your UW-Madison profile. Follow this step-by-step guide for updating your contact information. Please ensure that your Wiscmail (@wisc.edu) is set as your preferred email.
Activate Your NetID Services
When you change your status at UW-Madison (for example: from an applicant to a full student, deferring from a previous semester to a new term), you should make sure that you have all campus services available to you as a new student. This includes your Wiscmail account (@wisc.edu) and your UW-Madison accounts for campus software. Follow these Activate your NetID Services instructions to complete the process. If you have forgotten your NetID password, use the NetID Recovery Tool.
If you need help with this process or have questions about your NetID, please contact the DoIT Help Desk.
During Your SOAR Session
As our SOAR reservation process described, your SOAR session is the span of time where you will be focused on academic advising and course enrollment this summer. You will not need to dedicate all your time to SOAR during your virtual session. However, you should have flexible availability during your virtual session to complete your SOAR requirements. The information below outlines your SOAR session experience and time commitments.
Completing the SOAR Canvas Course
Your SOAR Academic Advising Canvas course will be specific to your assigned advising group. In this course, your advising group will:
- Connect you with important information about your academic advising process
- Provide details about key academic and advising resources available to help you succeed as a Badger
- Guide you through the course selection process.
Before you get started
This is the required Canvas courses that you must complete to SOAR program requirements and enroll in Fall courses. Steps 1 through 4 of this course are due the Sunday before your session week at 11:59 p.m. CST.
The time to complete this course varies based on advising group. You will be able to complete this course at your own pace and you do not have to complete it all in one sitting. Canvas will save your progress as you go!
How do I access the course?
To be able to get access to your SOAR Academic Advising course, you must:
- Complete your SOAR reservation.
- Complete the Preparing for SOAR module in MyUW by your session’s due date: This module confirms the assigned advising group for each student. You will not be added to a SOAR Academic Advising course until you complete this task.
To access the course in Canvas:
- Log in to Canvas using your UW-Madison NetID credentials.
- You should see a Dashboard for courses. If the SOAR course does not automatically appear, click the Courses icon on the left menu and a list of courses should appear.
- Find the course titled “SOAR Academic Advising” and click on it.
- Follow the completion instructions within the course starting with Forward! to Step 1.
Completing the course
At the end of Step 4, you must complete an “acknowledgement check”. Enter your full name into the textbox and then click the “Submit Quiz” button. This will initiate the process to lift their enrollment hold. The “Submit Quiz button” must be clicked before you move onto the next page.
Step 5 of your SOAR Academic Advising course will give you more guidance for enrolling in your first-semester courses. After meeting with an advisor, you will have explored courses and learned about major and degree requirements and be ready to enroll. Step 5 can be completed at any time and at your own pace.
How to Know When You Are Done
To check if you have completed your Academic Advising Course, make sure that you have submitted the acknowledgement check at the end of Step 4. The Acknowledgement Check is the quiz where you enter your full name in the text box and click the “Submit Quiz” button. The “Submit Quiz button” must be clicked before you move onto the next page for Canvas to record your submission.
You will have a temporary Fall enrollment hold placed on your account called ‘SOAR Advising Required’. This hold will be lifted after you complete your Academic Advising Canvas course AND meet with your academic advisor during your SOAR session week. Holds are restrictions placed on student accounts that prevent students from enrolling in classes. They are put in place to ensure that students complete all necessary steps for a given semester.
During Your Virtual SOAR
Meet with an Academic Advisor (at least 30 minutes)
Your SOAR advising appointment will be a scheduled video or audio call with an Academic Advisor during your virtual session week. This meeting is a key part of your SOAR advising experience, and one that advisors look forward to! During your advising appointment, you should expect the following:
1) Discuss degree requirements and course options for your first semester at UW-Madison.
2) Pick out classes for your first semester with your academic advisor.
3) Have your advising hold removed so you can begin enrolling in your Fall courses.
SOAR advising appointments will generally take place between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Central Time. Please plan to have flexible availability for these timeframes during your virtual session week to complete your required SOAR advising and enrollment tasks. You will work with your SOAR advising group to schedule an advising appointment time that works for you based on your schedule.
Note: Students can start scheduling their sessions with an Academic Advisor the week prior to their virtual SOAR Session.
Complete Final Steps of Your SOAR Advising Process (varies by advising group)
After meeting with an advisor, you will have access to Step 5 of your SOAR Academic Advising course. This step will will give you more guidance about any other next steps from your advising group to do before and after you enroll.
Enroll in Courses (time varies per person)
Students are responsible for enrolling in courses, and this is where it all happens. Using what you learned from Canvas and your advisor, you’ll be ready to build a schedule and enroll in your courses! Campus has also worked over the past several years to make our enrollment tools easy to use and user friendly.
Please enter the date of the first day of your SOAR session week in the search box below (located at the top right of the schedule) and make sure to select show ALL entries. For instance, to see all the due dates for the June 13-June 17 session, please enter the date for the first day of your session as 6/13.
Virtual SOAR Due Dates 2022
|1||6/6 - 6/10||Placement Tests||Now Open||5/23/2022|
|2||6/6 - 6/10||Complete Preparing For SOAR Module||Now Open||5/29/2022|
|3||6/6 - 6/10||Complete Academic Advising SOAR Canvas Course||5/31/2022||6/5/2022|
|4||6/6 - 6/10||Schedule Meeting with an Advisor||6/1 - 6/3/2022||6/3/2022|
|5||6/6 - 6/10||Meet with an Advisor||6/6/2022||6/10/2022|
|6||6/6 - 6/10||Enroll in Courses||After Meeting with Advisor||As Soon as possible|
|7||6/13-6/17||Placement Tests||Now Open||5/30/2022|
|8||6/13-6/17||Complete Preparing For SOAR Module||Now Open||6/5/2022|
|9||6/13-6/17||Complete Academic Advising SOAR Canvas Course||6/6/2022||6/12/2022|
|10||6/13-6/17||Schedule Meeting with an Advisor||6/8- 6/10/2022||6/10/2022|
SOAR for Parents & Families
The Center for the First-Year Experience (CFYE) is committed to providing parents and adult family members of incoming students with the necessary support to help facilitate a successful transition for their students. Students: Please register any family support you would like included for our SOAR Parent & Family content and communications on Step 4 of your SOAR reservation.
More Parent & Family Resources will be posted soon!
Technology & Connectivity
The virtual SOAR program is being delivered in a fully online format. We want to ensure all of our students know the tools needed to complete the program and be prepared for the academic year. During SOAR, you will use multiple online platforms to complete tasks, connect with your advisor, and learn about campus life and academics.
Below we have outlined the recommended hardware, software, and connectivity needed to get the most out of your SOAR experience.
To learn more about what technology is recommended during the academic yeear and options for purchasing hardware, visit the UW-Madison Getting Started with Tech website.
We recommend that students use either a desktop or laptop computer with a webcam and microphone to have the best experience with our campus technology. At minimum, students will need the following hardware to complete the SOAR program:
- A tablet, laptop, or desktop computer for completing Canvas content
- Completing the Canvas course on a smartphone is possible, but this is not recommended and will be a lower quality user experience.
- We recommend using Windows 10 or/and High Sierra or later versions for Macs
- As back-up phone (landline or cellphone) may be needed
Software & Applications
Most applications used for SOAR provide web-based platforms that do not require you to install additional software.
Recommended web browsers are Chrome and Firefox. You may use Edge or Safari, but please note that the Canvas courses may not function properly in this browser. Avoid using Internet Explorer.
Below is a list of applications you will use for the SOAR program:
How to Connect (Internet)
A reliable, high-speed internet connection is important to being able to participate fully in online learning. We recommend an internet connection with:
- 15 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better download speed
- 5 megabit per second (Mb/s) or better upload speed
- A ‘ping time’ of less than 75 milliseconds.
To understand your internet speed, check your internet speed using a speed test and compare it against the recommended specification above. A wireless hotspot or tethering from a phone might not be sufficient.
For help determining these specifications, contact the DoIT Help Desk’s Home Internet Connection Doctor Service.
If you are concerned about your internet connection, please check out DoIT’s tips for how to manage slower internet or low bandwidth.
Protecting Your Information & Identity
When participating online, for SOAR or any other activity, it is important to take steps to protect your identity and information, as well as verify the individuals you are working with. We encourage you to review UW-Madison Division of Information Technology’s website for more information.
For SOAR, please remember the following:
- University staff will NEVER ask you for your password or My UW login information.
- All communication will come from a wisc.edu email address. If you receive email from an unknown individual you can look them up in the campus directory or contact the SOAR Program for assistance.
- There is no cost to attend SOAR, and you will not be asked for any credit card or account information from SOAR staff. You will receive information from the Bursar’s Office later this summer about how to securely pay your tuition and fees bill.
- A campus ID number or NetID username can often be used to help identify the correct student to a staff member. You will NEVER be asked for your Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) as a way to verify your identity.
- Your interactions with University staff and students will always be scheduled. Do not accept impromptu or unsolicited meetings from unknown individuals.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN)
VPNs are helpful for students who are worried about the security or accessibility of their internet connection (i.e. public Wifi). If you are in need of a VPN service to connect to a public connection, please download, install, and connect via the WiscVPN client (choose the operating system that matches your device for specific instructions). This will allow you to connect to the UW-Madison network from anywhere.
All freshmen students who attend a virtual SOAR program will be required to attend an in person program on Thursday, September 1st. More details about the in person program requirement will be released in early June. Students living in University Housing will move-in prior to the required program. International students should also review the new student information shared by the International Student Services Office.
Transfer students transition to campus will be supported by the Transfer Transition Program. More information about the fall programming available will be posted at transfer.wisc.edu.
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities
SOAR is committed to creating a program where everyone can participate. We value disability as an aspect of diversity and want to ensure that you are able to fully participate in all programming available to you.
Click the button below for more information requesting accommodations for placement testing, the SOAR program, and the academic year (all of which are separate processes):