Students sitting on the grass and laughing

First-Year Orientation (SOAR)

Becoming a Cardinal begins with Orientation, and we are thrilled to welcome you to SVSU. In these unique and unprecedented times, these sessions will have to look different in order to keep our whole Cardinal family safe. However, we remain committed to guiding you and assisting you in your transition to life at SVSU.

For these reasons, we have modified the format of our first-year student orientation program. All course registration components are now completed online via a virtual meeting with an Academic Advisor. We have also taken significant steps to adapt our SOAR events to be as safe and welcoming as possible. 

  1.  SOAR, the in-person, on-campus component of orientation, is strongly encouraged for all incoming first-year students, but it will not be required this year. While we strongly believe in the value of these programs and would absolutely love to see you all in person, we also understanding that some students will not feel safe or comfortable in any group setting for medical, personal, or family reasons. As a result, you will not be penalized if you choose not to attend.

  2. If you do choose to participate, we will be taking many extra precautions to keep you healthy and safe. We have modified our event’s agenda to ensure that student groups will have no more than 7-8 students each, and there will be no more than 3 groups per session or activity. Additionally, all participants (staff, students, and campus guests) will be expected to follow the Cardinal NEST Plan, including wearing face coverings in any enclosed spaces and remaining at least 6 feet apart at all times. 

  3. Finally, in order to minimize the total number of people in attendance and to allow for the meeting spaces needed to more safely disperse the student sessions, the in-person Parent and Family Conference has unfortunately been cancelled. While we are very sad that we cannot offer this programming face-to-face this year, parents/guests will be encouraged to view relevant materials online instead. We will be posting videos and presentations on a dedicated parent orientation website as soon as possible. We do also plan to offer some family-focused virtual Q&A sessions via Zoom or Facebook live later in the summer as well.

Whether you choose to attend SOAR or not, please be assured that we are here for you! Feel free to contact us at anytime, and join our Instagram page just for you at


If you need any accommodations to fully participate in 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

SOAR Session Dates:

Tuesday, July 14 FULL
Friday, July 17 FULL
Tuesday, July 21 FULL
Thursday, July 23
Monday, July 27 FULL
Friday, July 31
Tuesday, August 4
Thursday, August 6
Tuesday, August 11
Wednesday, August 12

If you did not yet complete a Flight School session or a Registration Appointment with an advisor, please email to select a date and time to register for your classes. 

Please continue checking your SVSU email regularly as we will be sending additional details and 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 the $95 orientation fee (Those opting to defer payment, please 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.

To submit your orientation fee now instead, follow these steps:

  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).

Step 3

Select your Flight School date.

  1. From the "Students" tab, select the "New Student Next Steps" tab. Then select "Orientation Registration"
  2. Complete this form to select your SOAR  date.
  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 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