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The faith-filled community at SWU is comprised of students, faculty and staff who are passionate about learning and growing, both inside and outside of the classroom.

Superior Outcomes & Academic Resilience for Success (SOARS)


The Superior Outcomes & Academic Resilience for Success (SOARS) Scholar Program at Southern Wesleyan University aims to prepare entering freshmen for the academic rigors and social tasks of college by guiding and supporting the first-year university experience for increased student retention and academic success.

SOARS is a freshman year experience that addresses the academic, social, and spiritual development of participants for successful transition from high school to college. Programming begins two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester with Summer SOARS and extends throughout the freshman year with Fall & Spring SOARS. Historically, SWU students who have participated in the summer freshman experience perform better academically and have higher rates of retention than members of their freshman class who have not participated. A maximum of 20 entering freshmen are selected through competitive application to participate as SOARS Scholars each year.

Cost to Participate in SOARS

There is no cost to participate in SOARS. The participant selection process requires completion of the online SOARS application.



Summer SOARS - August 5 – 16, 2024

Important Dates — Online Orientation: July 25, 2024 | Online Instruction: August 5–8, 2024 | On-campus Instruction: August 11–16, 2024  

Summer SOARS engages participants in two weeks of activity delivered through a hybrid format (1-week online followed by 1-week on campus) that culminates with SWU’s Warrior Welcome Weekend. SOARS Scholars are enrolled in SEMR 1001: Freshman Seminar, a course that orients students to the academic, spiritual, social, and physical rigors of college while introducing the concepts of Christian liberal arts education. Course content includes:

  • Math and English preparatory instruction for college
  • Academic tutoring & study labs
  • Discovering the purpose of a liberal arts education
  • Introduction to student life and spiritual life
  • Examination of faith and learning integration
  • Career development
  • Building of college success skills
  • Exploration of student support services and resources
  • Peer mentoring
  • Networking with SWU students, faculty, staff, and administrators

Successful completion of Summer SOARS requires Scholars to:

  • Actively engage in all classes, workshops, and activities associated with the Summer SOARS program.
  • Earn a grade of “C” (2.0) or better in SEMR 1001: Freshman Seminar.


  • Successful completion of Summer SOARS
    • earns SOARS Scholars 1-hour of semester credit toward degree completion, and
    • awards SOARS Scholars a $500.00 scholarship to be applied towards their first fall semester tuition cost.
  • Summer SOARS Scholars planning to live on campus during the fall semester are allowed to move into their residence hall one week before other freshmen arrive on campus.



Fall & Spring SOARS

Fall & Spring SOARS extends participant engagement for success throughout their freshman experience to include:

  • Success Coaching: The Student Engagement & Academic Success Coordinator meets with SOARS Scholars individually throughout their freshman year to help guide advancement toward academic goals.  
  • Peer Mentoring: Upper classmen conduct weekly check-ins with SOAR participants to assist with navigation of SWU resources and opportunities for engagement while assisting them to connect with available resources as needed.
  • Study Labs: SOARS Scholars are required to gather for weekly, pre-scheduled study sessions as dedicated time to complete academic coursework. Peer tutors are on hand to provide instructional guidance.
  • Success Workshops: Success workshops are designed to assist students with broadened awareness, increased knowledge, and development of tools to support academic and professional growth. SOARS Scholars are required to attend a minimum of three Success Workshops per semester (fall and spring).

Successful completion of Fall & Spring SOARS requires Scholars to

  • Actively participate in required success coaching, peer mentoring, study lab, and success workshop sessions.
  • Complete the fall semester with
    • 12-hours (minimum) of semester credit, and
    • a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.3 or higher.
  • Complete the spring semester with
    • 24-hours (minimum) of semester credit, and
    • a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.


  • SOARS Scholars who successfully complete all SOARS requirements during their first fall semester receive a $500 scholarship to be applied towards their first spring semester tuition cost.
  • SOARS Scholars who successfully complete all SOARS requirements during their first spring semester receive a $500 scholarship to be applied towards their second fall semester tuition cost.




Applying to SOARS

Applications are being accepted online. Click here to apply through July 12, 2024. Notification of acceptance will be sent via the applicant’s SWU email no later than Friday, July 26, 2024. Applicants must be cleared for SOARS for Fall term enrollment by the Office of Financial Aid and Office of Student Accounts by end of business on Wednesday, July 31, 2024 to participate in Summer SOARS.



Contact Us

Cindy Trimmier-Lee
Manager, Student Success Center

Dr. Angelica Christie
Coordinator, Student Engagement & Success