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Northwest Missouri State University


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When is SOAR?

There are eight days in June to choose from. One day is designated for music majors and minors to attend, but other students may attend this day as well. Music majors and minors attend on the same day so they can complete piano and theory testing.

The days do fill up but if you register online, you will know immediately which day you are scheduled for.

After you register, you will receive a confirmation packet within a few weeks. This includes details about your SOAR date, a campus map, payment policies, and other important information. Please read it carefully so you don't miss any information.

What happens at SOAR?

Check-in for SOAR is at the Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts between 8 and 9 a.m. and the program begins at 9 a.m. It is not necessary to arrive before 8 a.m. The day usually ends around 3 p.m. unless you are doing placement testing.  

You can look forward to hearing from faculty, staff, and current students that will give you advice about transitioning to college life. We try to give you all the information incoming students need, while keeping it fun. Students and families will be together the first part of the day, then we break off into sessions specific to each of you. In the afternoon, students will have advising with their SOAR leader and faculty advisor. Look for more detailed information in your SOAR invitation.

When do I get my schedule?

You will receive your class schedule at SOAR during Advisement. During May, our team works hard to develop a schedule that’s tailor-made for each freshman. This is done using a variety of information:

  • Your major
  • Optimal course schedules – which are recommendations from faculty and department heads
  • Your ACT or SAT scores
  • Your academic profile
  • Any previous college credit
  • Former students' successful schedules
  • Your interests
  • Other pertinent information such as high school coursework, whether you are an athlete, whether you received a music scholarship, etc.
  • When you receive your schedule, you can make adjustments to all or part of it with your SOAR Leader and an advisor. We will create your schedules primarily based on when you register for SOAR. The first students to register will be placed into classes first. It does not matter which SOAR date you choose – just sign up early!

What if I cannot attend any of the SOAR Dates?

Although SOAR is highly recommended and students gain a huge advantage by attending, we do recognize that sometimes schedules just don’t work out. If you absolutely cannot attend, sign up for SOAR and mark the unable to attend option. This way we still know you are planning to attend Northwest and we can schedule your classes. We will then mail your schedule to you in July.

What is a SOAR Leader?

At SOAR, you will be placed into groups with other students based on similar majors and interests. SOAR leaders are current Northwest students who know the ins and outs of Northwest life. Your SOAR leader will guide you through the day’s activities and help you become acquainted with Northwest through a student’s perspective.

Should I bring my family?

Families are encouraged to attend SOAR with you. They have their own orientation to help them become familiar with Northwest and all the programs we offer.

What else should I bring?

You should bring a picture ID that you will need to show when you take your picture for your Bearcat card. Also, bring your completed health history forms.

Other than that, just bring an open mind and a good attitude.

Is there a charge to attend?

SOAR and several other programs are covered by your new student fee. There is no charge to you or your family to attend.

Are there places to spend the night in Maryville?

If you are driving from a long distance, there are several hotels in Maryville that can accommodate you and your family. We encourage you to make reservations early when you receive your SOAR date to ensure that you get a room.

On-campus housing is also available for a fee. Your SOAR confirmation will have more details if you would like to explore this option.

Am I required to do placement testing?

Possibly. This will depend primarily on your ACT subscores.

Northwest uses ACT subscores for English and Math placement. Your ACT Math and English scores may require you to take remedial coursework.

English Placement - If your English subscore is a 1 to 17, you will be placed in English 10-110, Introduction to College Writing, to prepare you for college-level writing courses. All students are required to complete 10-111 and 10-112 as a graduation requirement from Northwest. If you think your ACT English subscore does not reflect your writing ability, you may challenge your placement in English 10-110 by taking the Writing Challenge at SOAR or Advantage. This is the only placement test offered at SOAR.

Testing English at SOAR is done at the end of the day after Advising, so you should plan accordingly if you choose to do your testing then rather than at Advantage.

Math Placement - Math Placement is determined by ACT or overall high school GPA. If your math subscore is a 1 to 21, and you had below a 3.0 overall GPA in high school, you will be placed in a Math Skills course to prepare you for college-level math. If your subscore is in this range, you will be required to take a math placement test at Advantage to determine how many of the 10 Math Skills modules you need.

If a student scores high enough on either the writing challenge or math placement exam, they will not be required to take the English 10-110 or Math 17-080 developmental courses.

If you have already successfully passed a college-level English or math class for dual credit, this supersedes your test score and you are not required to do testing.

Language Placement - Students who have had significant experience in Spanish, French, American Sign Language, or Russian may be able to move on to advanced course work or test out of a language class for credit. Students may do this at Advantage.

If you have additional questions, please call 800.633.1175 (or 562.1951 locally) and ask for the Advisement Office.

What if I change my major or I don’t even know what it is yet?

If you need to change your major, you can do so when you register for SOAR or afterwards by calling us at at 660.562.1951. You can also change major at SOAR if you need to, although it's helpful if we have some advance notice.

If you haven’t decided on a major, that’s OK too! In fact, some students will tell you that coming to college without a declared major is a positive experience. 

To help get you on the right track and a good class schedule, when you register for SOAR, you will choose a meta major from one of four interest areas:

  • Sciences
  • Business
  • Education
  • University Studies

If one of the first three areas listed doesn't fit your interests, you should choose University Studies to allow yourself more time to explore and decide on a major while you earn general education credits. All students must take 42 hours of general education classes, so you have some time to make a final decision.

It may be helpful to see the majors that fall into each meta major to help you decide which of the four areas most suits you. You can find a list online and choose meta major map.

What else do I need to do?

Make sure to submit all final transcripts to complete your admission. Transcripts must be official; the school must send the transcript in a sealed envelope to Northwest’s Office of Admissions.

Remember to have an official transcript sent from any college through which you have completed any dual credit, AP, or college credit course.

Complete your housing application and pay your pre-payment through CatPAWS, if you have not already done so.  Housing and roommate assignments come out in mid-July and are available on CatPAWS.

Submit your Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) online at 

Make sure you are up-to-date on your immunizations, including a meningitis shot.  You need to submit the health history records provided in your acceptance packet to the Wellness Services and provide proof that you’ve received a Meningitis shot at SOAR.  We also offer the option of getting an Meningitis shot at SOAR for a fee.  You will not be able to move-in in the fall unless this is done or you sign a waiver saying you understand the risks of not receiving the shot.

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