Make the most of your SOAR experience with a few tips and some words of wisdom from former honors students!
Be flexible and calm.
There is a ton of information flying every which way at SOAR. If you take things one step at a time, you'll avoid a high-stress experience. Keep in mind that Honors SOAR advisors make certain that everyone leaves with a complete schedule of classes (and a back-up plan or two).
Just relax and have fun (and) always take the initiative to ask questions for clarification. -Tze Ruey Yeoh
Keep an open mind.
One of the benefits of going to such a large university is the diversity of classes to choose from. Just because you always took math, english, and history in high school doesn't mean you have to take it now. Consider something different and interesting to you.
Don't be afraid to try new things... It will make the whole experience even better. Be open to new ideas and new people and take chances. -Caitlin Bender
My SOAR advisor suggested that I take Anthropology 100. I had no clue what Anthropology was and I was SO mad that he "made" me take it. Come December, not only did I know what Anthropology was, I was signed up for Anthro 211 for the Spring! Try something new! -Honors Student
It is nearly impossible to choose a set of classes that does not fulfill requirements for your degree.
Almost every class "counts" for something. Because of this, there is no reason to get caught up in worrying about fulfilling requirements -- especially requirements for a potential major.
Take classes that you are interested in while trying to broaden your knowledge of lots of different subjects. DO NOT take a class simply to fulfill a breadth credit -- you can probably find a class that you will enjoy that satisfies the breadth credits. Plus, you will do a lot better in a class you enjoy. -Carly Schram
I was always the type of person to keep adding more things (majors, certificates, Honors in the Major, etc), because I thought it looked better. As a senior, I am getting a job in a completely different field from my major and my employer didn't even care what my major was ... just that I had one. My advice: do what you love. Study what you love. -Honors Student, Class of 2006
Be conservative in what you take on during your first semester.
You'll find that college is very different than high school. For one thing, at UW-Madison, we go by credits -- not number of classes. Twelve (12) credits is considered a "full load" at the UW, and 18 credits is the maximum a student can take in a semester. BUT be forewarned: 18 credits is a lot! Many students have made this mistake and lived to regret it. Therefore, even though three or four classes may sound like very few compared to the six or seven you took in high school, it's actually right on target.
In high school, I had a full credit load, two jobs, was the class president, vice president of FBLA, a member of the dance team, SADD club and student council, AND I still had time for sleeping and eating and hanging out with my friends. I thought for sure I could handle a 17 credit course load my first semester. I was wrong. To this day, I think of anything over 16 credits per semester as a death wish. -Jennifer Oh
It's true, anything more than 16 credits here really is a death wish. I remember an honors program student had said that at SOAR and I didn't believe them ... but they were right. Do NOT take too many credits! -Katrina Shankland
Classes aren't everything.
It's so important to get involved in at least one thing that helps you connect to campus or the broader Madison community. Co-curricular experiences also build skills that will help in the job market!
Go to events around campus, become involved in something you love, seek out your own opportunities, and go to places where people are to get into the social environment. Keep your dorm door open! -Theresa Anderson