Held in-person for the first time since 2019, the University’s Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program offers new Chargers a fun opportunity to connect with future classmates and members. of the university community.
June 30, 2022
During a recent visit to the University of New Haven, Michael Chung ’26 and his parents met with staff at the University offices. This was an opportunity for Chung to learn more about the support and resources that will be available to him when he officially joins Charger Nation this fall.
Chung was exploring the resource fair held as part of the Student Guidance, Counseling and Enrollment (SOAR) program. The two-day program gave a taste of what a student’s life will be like when they begin their studies at the University.
“It was great to meet so many people,” said Chung, a new civil engineering student. “I enjoyed it, and it was a lot of fun. Being at the University in person was a great way to make new friends who could be friends for the next four years or even for life. I felt so well received at the University.
“I am very excited for the new experiences that I will live”
SOAR brings together incoming University Chargers for an opportunity to connect with their classmates and learn more about the countless opportunities, services, and sources of support at the University. It is designed to ensure a smooth transition to Charger Nation.
Students, along with their parents and families, learn about the myriad of resources available to them at the University as well as student life and how to get involved on campus. They also interact with the Dean of their college or school as well as the students in their degree program. Two SOAR sessions took place in June and two more are scheduled for July.
“It was great meeting my new counselors and teachers,” said Molly Fitzpatrick, 26, a psychology student. “Everyone at the University was so welcoming. I am very excited about the new experiences I will have at the University and to have more independence.
Each summer, a team of current students helps welcome their new classmates. As Orientation Coordinators or Orientation and Transition Leaders, they provide support and ensure incoming Chargers feel welcome and have a sense of community.
This year’s program was particularly exciting as it was the first time SOAR was held in person since 2019.
“The sense of community”
Guidance and Transition Leader Amber Cholewa ’25 is spending the summer welcoming members of the Class of 2026. Her own SOAR experience last summer was virtual due to the pandemic, and she’s thrilled that her new classmates can experience the program in person.
“I really hope they enjoy the postman in person,” said Cholewa, a health science student. “I hope being at college with everyone before school starts will improve their Charger experience. I love being here and getting to know the new students.
One of Cholewa’s fellow orientation and transition leaders, Rebecca Lovatt ’24, was also thrilled to be part of a fun and welcoming experience for new students.
“It’s nice to bring everyone back to campus,” said Lovatt, also a health science student. “During COVID, it was hard to get the sense of community we wanted, and I hope welcoming this new class helps that feeling come back even more. I attended a virtual SOAR in 2020, and I enjoy this in-person program vicariously through incoming students. I thought, ‘this is so cool’, and it adds even more to the charm of the university.
“It’s great to be at the university in person”
In addition to academic planning, course registration, and introductions to University faculty and staff, new students had a variety of fun opportunities to connect with one another. It was the evening activities on the first day of the program that were particularly enjoyable for Samantha Villa ’26.
“I liked the Readers Theater and the s’mores and the campfire and the karaoke,” said Villa, who will be studying criminal justice. “It was the first time we spent time with other students and did fun things together, like we will in college. I’m also very excited to start classes in my major. It was cool to meet people from the department and it helped me feel more secure.”
It was the opportunities to make those connections and the feeling that they were already part of the college community that was so important to incoming students like Lila Devlin-Perry ’26. When she attended the resource fair at the end of her SOAR program, she had already made new friends and was already looking forward to studying abroad at the University of Prato campus in Italy. .
“I’m really glad we got to attend SOAR in person after all the virtual stuff we did in high school,” said Devlin-Perry, a dental hygiene student. “It’s great to be at the university in person for SOAR, to stay in the residence halls, and to better understand the University of New Haven experience.”