When freshmen come to UCA for the first time, many feel out of place and lonely because they don’t know anyone on campus. UCA has a solution to this, but until now, Summer Orientation and Academic Registration, or SOAR, has not been mandatory.
UCA made the right decision by making SOAR mandatory for all incoming freshmen.
SOAR is a program for incoming freshmen that helps them adjust to UCA before classes start. In previous years, the program was a two-day event that cost $60. Beginning this year, SOAR will be a free, one day event required for all incoming freshmen.
The program includes activities and orientation for different majors, as well as meals in the cafeteria.The program is aimed at helping students meet people and learn where things are on campus before beginning classes.
SOAR can help incoming freshmen adjust to a new community and way of life more easily by allowing them to get a head start on making friends and getting registered for classes.
Not all college students make friends easily. Some students need a little help to get started in a brand new place where they don’t know anyone. Simply requiring students to attend SOAR can help many new students get over the feeling of alienation that can often come with uprooting and moving to a new city.
College is a completely different experience than high school, so students need a way to adjust to the new challenges they’ll face by moving to campus. SOAR can’t make the transition easy for every new student, but it can help ease the fears of freshmen by showing them what college will be like.
Even if new students don’t live on campus, SOAR can help them become part of the UCA community. Many students who live with their parents or off campus don’t feel like they are a part of the UCA community. SOAR can help them make friends and make college more than just a place for classes, which is how many off-campus students feel about UCA.
While SOAR is only one day, any amount of involvement on campus can help new students become a part of the UCA community. Exposing students to the college way of life before they actually have to move in is a great way to make them feel welcome on campus.
SOAR can’t help every student make long-lasting friendships, but it can give some students the push they need to feel more confident on campus and around other students.
UCA has other ways to help incoming freshmen adjust to the campus, such as Welcome Week events. However, while Welcome Week events are intended to be mandatory, there is no real consequence for not attending them.
Students who do not attend SOAR cannot register until after the last SOAR program ends, with exceptions made on a case-by-case basis. This means that students who want to get in the classes they need will have to come to SOAR or risk the classes filling up.
No amount of orientation will help everyone adjust to college life, but the majority of students respond well to programs like SOAR. Getting a taste of college life before going is a way to help students who are nervous about the big changes that come with moving in a dorm and leaving their hometowns behind.
While classes are important in college, the experience of living on campus and making new friends is just as important. Any advantage UCA can give to its students is a benefit, whether it’s by helping students make friends or helping them register for classes. While some students will not enjoy SOAR, making it mandatory will be beneficial to most incoming freshmen.