Freshman Orientation

Summer Orientation Advising and Registration – SOAR

For admitted freshman: registration required

SOAR is Western Oregon University’s Summer Orientation, Advising and Registration program for admitted freshmen. At SOAR, freshmen will attend academic advising sessions with faculty, complete the registration process for fall term courses, learn about valuable campus resources and receive their student ID cards.

Freshmen admitted for fall 2020 are required to attend one SOAR program. Students from Hawaii and California are invited to attend SOAR events in their home state. Invitations will be sent in April, and the events are in May. Admissions will mail SOAR invitation packets to students from all other states in May, which include registration instructions for the on-campus events.

Registration for SOAR will be available in April. Go Wolves! 

The 2020 SOAR dates are:

  • Hawaii SOARs: Spring 2020
  • California SOARs: Spring 2020
  • Friday, June 26

  • Saturday, June 27
  • Friday, July 17
  • Saturday, July 18
  • Thursday, August 27

SOAR Schedule of Events (On Campus)

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Check-In and ID Cards (ALL)

8:15 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Student Enrichment Program, Honors Program, Military Connected Families and Ask an Admissions Counselor Sessions (ALL, Optional)

9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

Welcome (ALL)

9:35 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
9:35 a.m. – 1:50 p.m.

New Student Orientation and Lunch (Students Only)

Family and Guest Sessions and Lunch (Family and Guest Only)

1:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
2:00 p.m. –  4:00 p.m.

Advising and Registration (Students Only)

Student Services Fair and Drop-In Financial Aid Session (ALL)

2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

University Housing Open House and Tours (ALL)

*Family/Guest sessions will be offered in both English and Spanish.


SOAR – Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 2020 SOAR Dates?
  • Friday, June 26
  • Saturday, June 27
  • Friday, July 17
  • Saturday, July 18
  • Thursday, August 27

Freshmen from California and Hawaii are invited to attend a 2020 SOAR program in their state. 

  • Date TBD – Honolulu
  • Date TBD – Maui
  • Date TBD – Concord
  • Date TBD – Anaheim
How and when do I register for SOAR?
Admitted freshmen from California and Hawaii will receive a packet with information regarding SOAR in April. Freshmen from all other states will receive a SOAR invitation in May. This packet will include instructions for registering for SOAR. Registration for each SOAR program will close two days before the program or when 225 students register for a program.
Do students and their families/guests pay a registration fee to attend?
Admitted freshmen and a maximum of three family members or guests do not pay a fee to attend SOAR. It is free!
Do family members or guests attend academic advising and registration with their student?
No. The SOAR schedule includes separate activities for family members and guests, including panel discussions and lunch at Valsetz Dining Hall, while freshmen are registering. Faculty, academic advisers, registration facilitators and orientation leaders will provide the necessary support for students as they participate in advising and registration. Family members and guests are encouraged to review the information with their student and contact Academic Advising before attending SOAR if they have questions.
I am transferring credits from another college/university. Should I attend Transfer SOAR instead?

Students will receive an invitation to the correct orientation program based on their admission status as a freshman or transfer. We follow these general guidelines when classifying students:

  • Students who graduated or will graduate high school in 2020 should attend SOAR – regardless of the number of college credits earned.
  • Students who graduated high school before 2020 and have completed at least 24 college-level semester credits or 36 quarter credits should attend Transfer SOAR.
  • Students who graduated high school before 2020 but have not completed 24 semester credits or 36 quarter credits should attend SOAR.

If you believe you have been invited to the wrong orientation event, please contact Admissions at or 503-838-8211.

Does WOU offer overnight accommodations for SOAR participants?
University Housing offers overnight accommodations in the residence halls for SOAR participants at a rate of $30 per person with advanced reservations. That rate does not include meals.  For more information or to make a reservation, please contact University Housing at 503-838-8311 or Please note that registering for a SOAR date does not reserve accommodations for students or their family or guests. A list off-campus lodging options can be found at

Placement Tests during SOAR?

Placement for Math courses
Students who wish to register for a math course can use their AP/IB math score, CLEP credit or previous college credit for initial placement purposes.

Students without these must complete the ALEKS math placement test through the WOU Portal before SOAR. We recommend visiting the math department’s ALEKS page to learn more about the placement test before taking it. If the ALEKS math placement link is not available under “My Programs” in your Portal, please contact Admissions at 503-838-8211.

Placement for French, German or Spanish courses
Studying a language is required for certain majors as well as Bachelor of Arts degrees. One key to success in a language is to enroll in the class that matches your skill level. If you are new to the language, enroll in the first-year, 101 level. If you averaged a grade of “B” or better in two years of high school language, you may be able to enroll in the second-year series beginning with 201. If you averaged a “B” or better in four years of a high school language, you may already have met the language requirement for the major and the Bachelor of Arts Degree.

Students who wish to register for a language course can use their AP/IB language score, CLEP credit or previous college credit for initial placement purposes. Students without these must complete a language placement test before SOAR if they would like to enroll in a 102-level course or above. Placement tests are available at the links below.




Placement for American Sign Language courses
Students who are new to American Sign Language should register for ASL 101. If you have previous experience with ASL and wish to enroll in a higher level course for fall term, you must complete an assessment with WOU’s ASL faculty at SOAR. Students attending SOAR in California or Hawaii should complete a virtual assessment via Skype before SOAR. To arrange a virtual ASL assessment, please contact Lyra Behnke at
Placement for Writing courses
All WOU students are required to complete Writing 122. Students can use their SAT/ACT score, AP/IB English Language score, Smarter Balanced score, Essential Skills score, CLEP credit or previous college credit for placement purposes. Freshmen without these should contact or 503-838-8211 for alternatives.
Placement for Biology courses
Placement into Biology 211 is required for students majoring in these fields:

  • Biology
  • Certain pre-professional health science areas (Dental Hygiene, Dentistry, Medicine, Clinical Lab Science, Occupational Therapy, Pharmacy, Physician Assistant or Veterinary Medicine)
  • Certain chemistry concentrations (environmental, forensic or medicinal/pharmacology)
  • Certain Teacher Education programs with a middle level/high school authorization (biology, chemistry or integrated science)

Students in these majors can use their ALEKS math placement score, SAT/ACT math section score, AP/IB Biology score, previous Biology 102 college credit (B grade or higher), or previous Math 111 college credit (C grade or higher) for placement purposes.

Students in all other majors, including Pre-Nursing and Exercise Science, do not require placement into Biology 211.