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Summer orientation from anywhere

Queen’s is preparing incoming students for university through online programming throughout July

An aerial view of campus.
Starting July 6, Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) helps introduce incoming students to Queen's. 

Incoming students won’t be able to visit the Queen’s campus for summer orientation this year, but they will still be able to start preparing themselves for university through the new online version of Summer Orientation to Academics and Resources (SOAR) starting July 6.

“We will miss welcoming our new students and their supports to campus in person, but we have approached this year as an opportunity to make our summer orientation resources more easily available than ever before. Now, all the benefits of SOAR will be accessible online to incoming students no matter where they live,” says Meg Ferriman, director of the Student Experience Office in Student Affairs. “Starting a university education can be a big adjustment, and the resources we have developed for SOAR are designed to set our incoming students up for success.”

Once it became clear that the Queen’s campus would remain closed over the summer due to the pandemic, the university pivoted to creating online summer orientation content. Offices across Queen’s are planning live events, as well as developing online weekly modules that will be hosted on OnQ, the Queen’s learning management system.

Videos and interactive elements, such as upper year student panels, will provide information and advice to help incoming students quickly adapt to life as a Queen’s student. Among a wide range of topics, the modules address what to expect from university courses, getting involved in clubs and student groups, and how to stay healthy during the academic term.

Building connections

SOAR has also been designed to introduce students to each other, to upper-year peers, and the Queen’s community. Using an online discussion board, students will start to build community and can ask questions to be answered by peer ambassadors, who are current undergraduates. Once a week, there will be live online events where incoming students can interact in small groups over Zoom and other platforms.

“We are looking forward to continuing to connect with the Class of 2024 online this summer at SOAR,” says Mikayla Sebesta, a Master of Arts (Gender Studies) student who is working at the Student Experience Office this summer. “We know their first year will be different and we want to do all we can to make sure they feel the strength of the Queen’s spirit and start building their new community from wherever they are!”

For many students, their parents, families, and other supports will play an active role in their transition to university. With this in mind, Queen’s has created resources specifically tailored to this group. These modules cover topics such as academic accommodations and resources, and they will help supports better understand how they can help students adjust to their new learning environment. As well, Student Affairs has introduced a monthly e-newsletter for parents, families and supporters.

To learn more about SOAR and how to access its online program starting July 6, visit the SOAR website.