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University of Wisconsin - Madison College of Engineering

SOAR Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Academic Advisor?

An academic advisor is a staff member who has in-depth knowledge of the academic requirements within the College of Engineering at UW-Madison.  Students who advise with the College of Engineering at SOAR will be assigned an advisor who can help them make progress towards applying to a degree granting engineering department.

At SOAR academic advisors teach new students about academic requirements and help students select appropriate courses that fit their interests and abilities.  

After SOAR, academic advisors are available on a continuing basis to assist students with major exploration, course selection, support services, personal challenges, and referral to other campus partners when needed.  

Who is my Academic Advisor?

Students planning to pursue a major within the College of Engineering will be assigned an advisor at the end of SOAR.

The advisor's name will show up in your MY UW "Student Services" window at the beginning of your first term at UW-Madison. You will leave SOAR knowing who your assigned academic advisor is and how to contact them. 

When will I register for classes?

1st year students enroll for courses during the morning of their 2nd day at SOAR. 

Transfer students attend one day of SOAR, so they enroll for courses during that afternoon.

Who will help me select my courses?

At SOAR students are advised by professional and peer advisors.

Together students and advisors work to identify appropriate courses based on the students' interests, goals, and strengths to choose the appropriate classes and number of credits.

Students are encouraged to be responsible for the choices they make at SOAR, with advisors supporting them and providing information to help them make informed decisions.

Advisors may recommend courses to students based on goals or academic interests, however students are ultimately responsible for their schedule created at SOAR and in future semesters at UW-Madison.


I have Advanced Standing credit (AP, IB, etc.) How will this affect my course registration at SOAR?

Advisors help students at SOAR to understand how their advanced standing credit will satisfy UW-Madison requirements and impact first semester course selection. 

Students are advised to submit test scores and transcripts to the Office of Admissions and Recruitment prior to SOAR so that most of the work can be evaluated and posted to a student’s record prior to SOAR.

Students are also encouraged to share this information with advisors at SOAR.

For more information and a list of equivalencies, please refer to College Coursework and AP/CLEP/IB.

Student can attend SOAR prior to test scores (i.e., AP, IB, etc.) being available or posted. However, students should share their anticipated test scores with advisors. Advisors can still help students determine a few different plans or course options based on anticipated test scores.  Advisors verify test scores in the beginning of the fall semester and contact students accordingly.  


Is there a foreign language requirement in the College of Engineering?

Students in the College of Engineering are not required to take a foreign language; however students can take foreign language courses to fulfill part of their liberal studies elective requirements.  Liberal studies are required for all engineering majors.  

Students can use language courses to fulfill requirements of certificates as well, such as the International Engineering Certificate or Certificate in German.

We suggest students take the appropriate language exam during placement testing to have the most options while at UW-Madison.  

Are there ways to connect with other incoming students?


FIGS (First-Year Interest Groups) are available to incoming freshmen. FIGS are made up of three courses that have a common theme. There are 2 specific engineering-themed FIGS.  There are also a variety of other FIG topics that may be of interest to engineering students. Take advantage of FIGS if you want to meet new people and take advantage of small class sizes.

Residential Learning Communities foster community and intellectual growth outside of the classroom.

Undergraduate Research Scholars provides the opportunity for newly-admitted students to conduct research with the guidance of a faculty member. The URS Seminar helps research-minded students find a community of peers with similar interests.

UW-Madison language classes are small, interactive, meet frequently and emphasize communication in the target language. Students get to know each other and their instructor as they speak about themselves and the culture and language they study.

Keep in mind these are not the only way to connect with other students.  You will learn about many more ways to connect with other students at SOAR. 


What if I can't get into a class I want?

Academic advisors help students enroll in key gateway courses for engineering.  However, for some courses such as liberal electives, we encourage students to select a variety of courses that will satisfy their degree requirements.  It is always best to have back-up courses when planning for enrollment.  

Students who cannot enroll in a course they would like to take because the course is full should enroll in the wait-list for the course (if option is available) and/or register for a back-up course.

If students need assistance changing their schedule after their SOAR date, they are encouraged to contact their academic advisor.

We cannot guarantee that students will be able to enroll in every course they want to take at SOAR, but students will leave SOAR with a schedule that satisfies degree requirements.


What type of computer do I need?

College of Engineering Students use both PCs and MACs.  The best computer to bring with you to college is the type that's most comfortable and familiar.  For more information about computers and general technology questions at UW-Madison please visit DoIT's website for future students.


When I first registered for SOAR I selected the College of Engineering, but what if I'm now interested in a different school/college at UW-Madison?

Students can make changes to their SOAR reservation by logging into their MyUW. A reservation summary will appear with instructions on how to make changes. Changes to any SOAR reservation must be made at least one week prior to the SOAR date, while keeping in mind not all schools/colleges will be available at every SOAR session. Students are encouraged to make changes as early as possible.

Students interested in limited enrollment programs (i.e. business, nursing, pharmacy, etc.) should make a reservation with the school/college they are interested in receiving a degree from. Students who are undecided or still deciding between majors are encouraged to make a reservation with the Cross-College Advising Service. Students who aren’t sure which school/college to choose, should call or email SOAR Information.

Please refer to the Center for First-Year Experience for more information about the SOAR reservation process or a guide on how to choose a school/college/advising experience.


How involved will my parents/guests be in my SOAR experience?

The Center for First-Year Experience is committed to providing parents and guests with the necessary tools and support to help facilitate a successful transition for students. There is a separate concurrent SOAR program for parents and guests planning on attending SOAR with their student. For more information, see Parent/Guest Program.

There is also a federal law called FERPA which stands for Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. FERPA governs the privacy of student education records, access to those records, and disclosure of student information. Per FERPA, parents/guests do not have access to their students’ advisor(s) name and contact information unless students share this information.