Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources (SOAR) Program

Sophomore year means taking a lot of important steps — continuing to make connections and build your campus communities, crafting an academic and cocurricular plan, declaring a major, and so much more. The Sophomore Opportunities and Academic Resources (SOAR) guides sophomores through this process and sets them up for success during the rest of their time at Oberlin.

President Ambar engages with students in a lecture hall.
President Ambar leads a session with Oberlin sophomores at the 2019 SOAR program.
Photo credit: Dale Preston

Through SOAR, sophomores have the opportunity to connect their interests inside and outside the classroom, build lasting connections with peers and mentors, and be introduced to resources and strategies that will support their ongoing personal and academic success. They learn about the kinds of opportunities they can pursue during the rest of their time at Oberlin, and work to develop their “Sophomore Toolkit,” which will allow them to successfully do just that.

Registration & Deadlines

Registration for SOAR 2023 is now open! Please direct any registration questions to Carter Cooper, Manager of Academic Peer Advising, at

Developing a high-quality toolkit (the focus of the program) will ensure that students are prepared to take advantage of future opportunities, from pursuing internships and research opportunities to identifying courses that align with their interests and goals.

By the end of the program, students will have added the following tools to their toolkit, which will take the form of a personal website developed through a digital learning portfolio:

  • A multipurpose bio;
  • A detailed five-semester academic and cocurricular plan;
  • A thoughtful, complete resume;
  • A bank of personal narratives that can be used for personal statements, cover letters, and interview preparation;
  • A well-crafted LinkedIn profile.

Students will also be asked to complete the following:

  • Create accounts on and learn how to effectively navigate Digication, Handshake, and OberLink;
  • Schedule an appointment with a potential academic advisor to discuss major declaration (if applicable).

While the SOAR program represents a total time commitment of only 8 hours, the impact of preparing a high-quality toolkit at this critical juncture — the midpoint of the sophomore year experience — will last for the rest of a student’s time at Oberlin and beyond.

The SOAR experience will be supplemented by older students working as SOAR peer mentors. These juniors and seniors — all of whom are also trained as Peer Advising Leaders (PALs) — have a demonstrated track record of success inside and outside the classroom and across a range of academic majors and career interests. They are eager to support sophomores through their SOAR experience and beyond, and will serve as invaluable mentors for students building social networks, navigating major declaration and course planning, and exploring experiential learning opportunities. More information about the SOAR peer mentors will be shared in advance of each program component.

At the conclusion of the SOAR program components, we expect that students will have:

  • Decided which major(s) they want to declare;
  • Developed a high-quality Sophomore Toolkit, including a five-semester academic and cocurricular plan, resume, curated materials for personal statements and interviews, bio, and more;
  • Honed skills they will use inside and outside the classroom;
  • Built community with their peers and developed a network of faculty and staff support.


Carter Cooper
Manager of Academic Peer Advising