The Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program is where your experience as a UW-Madison student begins! Beginning in mid-April, admitted students will be able to register for a summer SOAR session where you will learn about academic requirements, enroll for your first semester courses, and learn about advising and other campus resources. Students interested in CALS majors and areas of study should register to advise with CALS at SOAR.

Questions about SOAR advising? Please see answers to some frequently asked questions below and contact if you have any additional questions!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I know if I should advise with CALS at SOAR?expand_more

Students interested in one or more CALS majors are encouraged to advise with CALS at SOAR. If you are interested in more than one major in CALS and have not decided yet which one you would like to pursue, you should advise with CALS and you can leave SOAR as an “undecided” student where you will work with our college advisors to help you narrow in your interests. If you are interested in a CALS major and adding a second major outside of CALS, you can still advise with us and we’ll get you set up for success for your first semester and talk with you about how to explore additional majors and certificates.

I’m interested in biology, biochemistry, or environmental sciences which are offered in both CALS and L&S. What is the difference? Which college should I pick?expand_more

The main difference between choosing to major in any of these shared majors are the college level requirements students must take for their degree, the major-specific requirements are the same regardless of college.

Students who pursue any of these three majors in CALS earn a bachelors of science. CALS students take a first-year seminar to help them get a strong start on campus, an international studies related course which helps them develop global perspectives on CALS related topics, and a capstone course that helps students integrate everything they’ve learned in the major in one final course. They are required to take fewer humanities and social science courses and do not have a world language requirement beyond what is required for admission to the university.

Students in Letters & Science choose between a bachelors of arts or a bachelors of science and will typically take more coursework in humanities, literature, social sciences, and world language. L&S students must also complete a certain number of intermediate/advanced credits to graduate.

So how do you pick the right college for you at SOAR? Review each college’s requirements by looking up the majors in Guide and choose the one that sounds like the best fit for you today. The major-specific requirements are the same and you can transfer to the other college once you’re on campus if you change your mind.

Still have questions? Contact us at and we can discuss via e-mail or set up an advising conversation.

How do my AP/IB test scores or transfer credits transfer to UW-Madison?expand_more

Great question! At SOAR, we will review all of your AP/IB and transfer credits, what requirements they fulfill, and how that information will inform your first semester schedule.

I received a CALS Scholarship, do I need to advise with CALS at SOAR?expand_more

Yes! To keep your CALS scholarship, you need to advise with CALS at SOAR. If you accidentally registered with another school or college, contact for assistance switching to CALS as soon as possible.

What should I expect during my SOAR experience?expand_more

Check out the SOAR website for more details on the full SOAR schedule and what to expect when you participate in SOAR.

What do I need to do to prepare for my SOAR session?expand_more

The exact pre-work requirements depend on the modality of your SOAR session but all incoming students need to complete placement tests for math and English and some other components to set them up for a successful SOAR session. You can find details on the steps you need to take prior to participating in SOAR by selecting the “student type” on the SOAR Program Overview page and watch your e-mail for specific instructions based on your academic background.