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  Letter to First-Year Students

Dear First-year L&S Honors Student,

Welcome to the Letters & Science Honors Program! In your acceptance letter, we promised a letter about SOAR (Student Orientation, Advising and Registration) and here it is! The purpose of this letter is to let you know a bit about what to expect at SOAR this summer, and to provide a few suggestions about how to get the most out of your SOAR experience.

As you may already know, SOAR is a two-day orientation to the UW-Madison for incoming students. The goal of SOAR is to introduce you to academic life at UW-Madison, discuss your academic goals and interests with an advisor, and select classes for the Fall semester. To find out more about SOAR (including schedules and accommodations) and to make a SOAR reservation, visit the official SOAR website.

When you come to SOAR, please remember to bring the following:

  • Official transcripts from any college or university where you have earned credit (if you haven't already submitted them to our Office of Admissions)
  • Anything related to AP/IB credits you have received or anticipate receiving
  • Any academic/scholarship information you have received from UW-Madison related to your course enrollment
  • Your student NetID and password (to log into MyUW)
  • State or federal issued photo ID (e.g., driver's license, passport) to get your student ID
  • An open mind to try out new classes and other things!

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 & Science then you should plan to come with the Letters & Science Honors Program for advising. 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 or 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 the second SOAR day to receive important information about the Honors program that will be helpful for both class registration and for your first weeks 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 term 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 the fall.

In preparation for SOAR, we encourage you to watch a series of videos we produced a couple of years ago: SOAR experience, the value of being in the Honors program, and advice for first year students. These three videos were created by current Honors students, and feature Honors students talking about their experiences at SOAR and at UW-Madison. We've also collected some helpful information regarding the L&S Honors SOAR experience on our website. We'll be updating this area throughout the Spring and Summer, so continue to check back over the next few weeks for additional information.

In the weeks prior to your SOAR date, you will be sent a link to some important pre-SOAR advising information. We encourage you to take the time to look through the materials provided in preparation for your SOAR experience.

We look forward to meeting you very soon at SOAR! In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.

On Wisconsin,

The L&S Honors Program Advising Team


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