Welcome to SOAR!

SOAR stands for Student Orientation, Advising and Registration.  All newly admitted UW-Madison students participate in SOAR.  During your SOAR session, you will begin your transition to UW–Madison by learning about academic advising, degree requirements, and campus resources.

Signing up for SOAR means you’ll be scheduling a time to take your orientation course which is delivered asynchronously online. We understand that you may have a busy schedule. Don’t worry! Each SOAR session spans two weeks. Within that period, you will complete all components of SOAR, taking approximately a total of 4-5 hours to complete. You do not need to be available for the entirety of your two-week session but should plan to have several open blocks in which you can complete the various SOAR components.  

During your SOAR session, you will schedule a time to meet with your Academic & Career Advisor to discuss course selection & enrollment. So, take lots of notes! You will also have an opportunity to request accommodations to support your learning. 

SOAR Goals

1 Complete UW-Madison Online Canvas Course to learn about being an online UW-Madison student–including a warm welcome, campus tools, tips for success, advising and information about your specific program/major
2 Meet with an Online Student Success Academic Advisor virtually to discuss course options, degree requirements, course enrollment, program resources and more
3 Build your class schedule and enroll in courses

SOAR Program Outline

About Academic & Career Advising

Your Online Student Success Academic and Career Advisor (AC Advisor) will be with you for the duration of your undergraduate journey. Your AC Advisor will help you understand which courses you’ll need, which courses have pre-requisites and how to craft your schedule.  Your AC Advisor is committed to helping you get what you need to be successful. They will not only guide you through course selection and enrollment, but also connect you with campus resources, strategize to help you achieve your career goals, and help you navigate any challenges that may come up as you pursue your degree.  Please note that you need to complete the UW-Madison Online Orientation course before you meet with your advisor.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Where will SOAR Orientation take place?

All of the SOAR components are available in virtual format, so there is never a requirement to come to campus. The UW-Madison Online Orientation course will take place in Canvas – the digital learning platform used by UW-Madison. More information about the Canvas platform and technology requirements is available below. 

How long will the UW-Madison Online Orientation course take?

The orientation course will take approximately 1-2 hours. You can complete the course in multiple sittings! 

What if I have to move my SOAR orientation scheduled time?

If you need to make any changes to the above information, please do so at reservations.soar.wisc.edu. Changes must be made at least one week before your SOAR advising week.

How will I know who my advisor is?

Your Academic & Career Advisor will be assigned to you during your SOAR session.  This is the advisor that will likely be with you during your academic journey here at UW.  At times to accommodate schedules, you may meet with other members of the OSS advising team.

Where do I look for additional information?

The Office of Online Success has its own website.  This website has been designed to serve as a resource for YOU! Check it out and explore the many resources and tools available for you.  

If you have any additional questions, email OSS@advising.wisc.edu

Will I meet other students during SOAR?

Though our courses are designed to foster community and inclusivity, you will not meet other students in the UW-Madison Online Orientation course.  As you begin your academic journey with us,  there will be opportunities for you to meet your peers in and outside of the classroom space. 

Do I need to take a placement test?

Yes. You should receive information about required placement tests after accepting your admission. It is strongly encouraged that you complete your placement tests prior to your SOAR session and meeting with your advisor. This information will help to ensure that you are enrolling in the correct courses.

Can I complete SOAR on my 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 that are best to complete on a desktop or laptop, if possible.

What are the technology requirements for Canvas?

Google Chrome is the recommended web browser for Canvas, and it is best to always have the latest version installed for security reasons and to experience full functionality of the course. You are welcome to visit the Canvas Community to learn more about which browsers Canvas supports.

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Is there a fee for SOAR?

There are no additional fees for SOAR. SOAR programming is covered in tuition for UW-Madison Online students.

Is SOAR required?

SOAR is a requirement for all incoming UW-Madison students. It is a great way to learn about campus resources, tools and various programs. If you are unable to complete SOAR for any reason, please connect with our office at oss@advising.wisc.edu.

Can reentry students complete SOAR?

If you are a reentry student and interested in the UW-Madison Online Orientation course content, please let your advisor know. We would be happy to provide you with access to the Canvas course.

What is the difference between orientation and SOAR?

SOAR stands for Student Orientation, Advising and Registration.  All newly admitted UW-Madison students participate in SOAR. While SOAR is the name of the full programming for students, there is an official orientation course within the program. It is common for “SOAR” and “orientation” to be used interchangeably.

For UW-Madison Online students, there is a virtual UW-Madison Online Orientation course that is a vital part of the SOAR experience.

How do I provide feedback about my SOAR experience?

If you would like to provide us with feedback about your SOAR experience, you can do so in multiple ways: