Students sitting on the grass and laughing

First-Year Orientation (SOAR)

Becoming a Cardinal begins with Orientation. However, we understand that these are unique and unprecedented times, and empathize with any concern and uncertainty you may be feeling around plans in the upcoming weeks and months. 

For these reasons, we are modifying the format of our orientation program. As you plan for your orientation, please refer to the paired lists on the "2020 Orientation Dates" table below, and confirm your availability for both session dates.

  1. Flight School: A small group, virtual registration meeting, scheduled in May and June

    We know many of you are anxious to get your classes for your first year registered and set, and these virtual registration meetings (which we are calling Flight School… get it? Flight School first and then you can SOAR?) will assist you in registering for and adjusting your first year of classes. We will also preview and help prepare you for your full, in-person SOAR date later in the summer when it is once again safe for us to gather in larger groups.
  2. SOAR: A paired in-person, on-campus SOAR event, scheduled in July and August

    The in-person SOAR event will include the components of orientation that are difficult to facilitate in a virtual setting: forming genuine friendships and interpersonal connections with your new peers, interactions with academic faculty and key staff members, introductions to campus resources and locations, and more.

All new students entering SVSU are required to participate in one of the SOAR programs.

If you do not have internet access or need any other accommodations to fully participate in either Flight School or SOAR, please reach out to us directly at

Please be assured that we will continue to monitor the public health guidelines and recommendations, and will fully comply with any instructions at that time to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, and staff.

2020 Orientation Dates

Flight School: (Virtual Registration Meeting)

SOAR: (In-Person, On-Campus Event)

Thursday, May 14

Tuesday, July 14

Tuesday, May 19

Friday, July 17

Thursday, May 21

Tuesday, July 21

Wednesday, May 27

Thursday, July 23

Friday, May 29

Monday, July 27

Wednesday, June 3

Friday, July 31

Friday, June 5

Tuesday, August 4

Thursday, June 11

Thursday, August 6

Tuesday, June 16 or Thursday, June 18

Tuesday, August 11

Tuesday, June 23 or Friday, June 26

Wednesday, August 12

More details regarding specific times will be finalized and shared as soon as possible. In the meantime, please continue checking your SVSU email regularly as we will be sending updates there, as will other important offices like Financial Aid and Housing.

How to Register for SOAR

Step 1

If you have not done so, activate your SVSU username and password (using the credentials received in your orientation packet).

Step 2

Submit payment for orientation fee (Those opting to defer payment, skip to Step 3).

Special Note: We know that many families are experiencing increased financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus and related regulations and business closures. To attempt to assist with this potential issue, we are offering open deferments of the $95 Orientation Fee. This means that any student can register for SOAR and either submit that fee now or defer it to be added to your bill at payment deadline in August. While financial aid dollars cannot cover this fee, we hope that the extra financial flexibility will alleviate another potential stressor during this difficult season. Please note that by registering for a SOAR date and not submitting the fee, you are accepting this deferment.

  1. Login into using your SVSU username and password
  2. Locate the "Self Service (Cardinal Direct)" box, and select the "Students" Menu
  3. Select "My Financial Account", and select "Make a Payment"
  4. Follow the prompts through the CashNet system to submit your $95 non-refundable orientation fee (e-check or credit card.Screenshots

Step 3

Select your Flight School date.

  1. From the "Students" tab, select the "New Student Next Steps" tab. Then select "Orientation Registration"Screenshots
  2. Complete this form to select your Flight School date, and note your connected SOAR date from the 2020 Orientation Dates tab.
  3. Click Submit. (You can review your confirmation details by returning to the Orientation Registration page. Current registration will be displayed at the top of the page.)


Need to Change Your Reservation?

If you need to change your Flight School or SOAR date, you can do so online. Simply log in to mySVSU and return to the "Orientation Registration" page, and select a new Flight School date. This will update your SOAR date to the connected session automatically.




Frequently Asked Questions

Why is orientation necessary?

At SVSU, we feel it is important for students to become familiar with academic requirements, important deadlines, and the University calendar. We also want to help students find their way around campus and introduce them to academic support services and extracurricular opportunities. During orientation, students will receive academic advising, schedule classes, and learn about ways to get involved on campus. We've also seen many lasting friendships begin at SOAR and have a significant impact on students.

Is orientation mandatory?

Orientation is required for all incoming students. Both Flight School and SOAR are required for incoming first-year students. Transfer students are required to complete Express Orientation.

When will I receive information about SOAR?

After you have applied and been accepted to SVSU, you should receive an Admissions Packet. Included will be information on the SOAR program, as well as instructions on how to reserve your SOAR date. To make a reservation, following the steps outlined on the Next Steps page by creating your online account and using mySVSU to sign up.

Will I get the Flight School or SOAR orientation day I want?

Orientation days are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the registration is received, a confirmation screen is displayed instantly, and confirmation materials with the assigned SOAR date will be mailed to the student.

As you plan to register for orientation, please refer to the paired dates and confirm your availability for both sessions. Registering for the Flight School dates will also automatically register you for the connected SOAR event.

Is there an orientation session for my parents?

During the SOAR events for the Fall semester, SVSU hosts a Parent & Family Conference. This program is separate from the student program, and family members or guests who attend SOAR are able to select which Conference Sessions they are most interested in attending to create their own experience.

Will I see my parents during SOAR?

No. The parent program is separate from the student program.

How many students attend each SOAR?

There are 150 students at each SOAR event.

What accommodations are made for those with special needs?

If you will need services to fully participate in orientation such as large print, interpreting services, braille, assistance filling out forms or assistance reading forms, please email SVSU is committed to provide equal access to all university services, programs, and activities. See information on policies, procedures, resources, and forms available to current students.

Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any questions, please email

Fresh Start is the second phase of your freshman orientation program at SVSU!

Save the Date: Friday, August 28, 2020

Tentative Agenda:

  • 12:30 p.m. Check-In - O'Neill Arena in the Ryder Center
  • 1:30 p.m. Convocation - O'Neill Arena in the Ryder Center
  • 3:15 p.m. Department meetings with faculty from your academic program!
  • 4:30 p.m. Ice cream social in the President's Courtyard

Fresh Start and Welcome Weekend are your kick-off to life at SVSU, and include mandatory events on Friday (see above) and Saturday -- So plan to be on campus all weekend!

NOTE: This event is required for all incoming freshmen.

SOAR+ is your third and final phase of your first-year orientation program at SVSU!

SOAR+ is for currently enrolled first-year students completing their second semester. This is an individual degree planning appointment with an Advisor that will help you create a semester-by-semester plan from now until graduation, and will provide helpful information and important reminders to assist you in preparing for your second year's Fall and Winter course registration.

Undecided on a major? No problem! Complete the Focus Assessment and bring your results. We would be happy to talk to you about possible majors and future courses to consider while you make your decision.

To complete this requirement, please schedule a SOAR+ appointment by clicking this link and completing the form. Be sure to select SOAR+ Meeting as your Appointment Type. The deadline to complete this meeting and avoid a registration hold is March 27th.

Please contact us with any questions at

Please Note: Previously scheduled group advising appointments have been canceled due to the University's suspension of face-to-face instruction and group events.

Note: SOAR+ is required for all first-year students!

Accessibility and Special Needs

If you believe you will need services to fully participate in orientation, please contact the Orientation Office by calling (989) 964-4070 or email

  • Large print
  • Interpreting services
  • Braille
  • Extended time for placement testing
  • Assistance filling out forms
  • Assistance reading forms

For more information on accessibility services offered to students, please see Accessibility Resources and Accommodations.


Wickes 117
(989) 964-4070

International Programs
Wickes 230
(989) 964-4473