What to expect at SOAR
When you arrive at Union South on the first day of SOAR, you will be grouped for advising based on your academic interests. There will be a presentation about the various schools and colleges and an opportunity to choose where you want to be advised for the duration of your SOAR experience.
As a Letters & Science Honors Student you are guaranteed the opportunity to see an L&S Honors advisor at SOAR. If you are undecided about your major or considering any majors in the College of Letters and Science then you should plan to come with the Letters and Science Honors Program. Even if you are considering fields such as Law or Medicine, you should be advised by L&S Honors
However, if you have a strong inclination towards a major in another school of college, such as the College of Engineering, School of Education, or the College of Nursing, you are welcome to be advised by them at SOAR. Whatever advising room you select, please tell your academic advisor that you are a member of the L&S Honors Program, and be sure to touch base with the Honors advisors at some point during your SOAR experience to receive important information about the Honors program that will be helpful for both class registration and for your first week on campus.
Wherever you choose to be advised, you will spend the rest of the afternoon on that first day learning about your intended degree, interpreting your AP/IB scores and placement test scores, and beginning to design a course schedule for the fall based on your current interests and goals. On the morning of the second day your advisors will continue to work with you as you select classes for the Fall term. By the end of the morning on the second day, you will have a Fall schedule in-hand as well as information about changes you may want to make over the summer months (such as when your AP scores arrive), and important advising information for fall.
What your honors advisors expect from you at SOAR
- Before coming to SOAR, consider what a "liberal arts and sciences degree" means to you. Why do you wish to be "liberally educated"? How can you achieve such an education at the UW-Madison? One place to start exploring these questions is by reading Professor Bill Cronon's 10 Qualities of a Liberally Educated Person. Do you agree with what he writes? Do you have any additions?
- Take initiative and be engaged. If you have a question, use the resources at hand to find the answer. Resources include the people around you (the New Student Leaders, tour guides, academic and peer advisors, and other new students), as well as written materials (Honors guidebooks, language booklets, FIG binders). Other people will not be making decisions for you at SOAR, so the more you are willing to seek out information and answers to your questions, the more satisfied you are likely to be with your SOAR experience.
- Be patient and respectful. SOAR is a very busy time for advisors. We do our best to work with each student individually as much as possible, but sometimes it takes us a while to get someone else started. Your patience and understanding (as well as your own initiative and engagement) will make the experience more enjoyable and successful for all. Remember, too, that there really is no need to hurry, since we have a whole 2-days to work out a first semester schedule. Moreover, SOAR is just the first step in terms of advising: Honors advisors are available after SOAR, throughout the summer, during the academic year, and across your entire journey here at UW-Madison.
- Be honest and true to yourself. Think about what your own personal goals and dreams are--not what mom, dad, or Auntie Em thinks you should do. You're in college now and you've every right to discover your own paths. (That said, we know that parents and others often have a strong say in the direction of those paths; if that's the case for you, let us know and we'll help negotiate a median way.)
- Be curious and open to new opportunities and ideas. Just one example here: on the suggestion of an advisor at SOAR, one of the Honors Program Peer Advisors decided to take Russian. He loved it! His open-minded approach to SOAR introduced him to his future major (Slavic)--and he even obtained Honors in the Major and spent a year in Russia after graduation!
What to expect from your SOAR advisors
- The Honors advising room will serve as your "home base" for the advising portion of SOAR.
- Honors Advisors will help you understand the UW's general education requirements; decipher the course offerings; interpret your AP/IB scores, transfer credits and placement test scores; and design an ideal course schedule (and strategize a few back-up plans).
- Honors advisors will assist you as you weigh your options and make decisions about classes. We will not pick classes for you. We will not design your schedule for you. These decisions are yours and yours alone; we'll help provide you with the information you need in order to make the best decisions for your situation.
- Although Honors advisors know a lot, we certainly don't know everything. When we don't have an answer to a question or concern, we will do our best to find someone who does.