The MASS Seizing Opportunities for Achievement and Retention (SOAR) program at UCF has been selected for a national award. The SOAR program is the recipient of the Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Certificate of Merit award that will be presented at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) as part of the 2010 Annual Awards Program for Academic Advising.

The quality advising SOAR program was selected as one of three programs to be honored with this award. The Outstanding Advising Program Awards annually recognize programs that document innovated and/or exemplary practices resulting in improvement of academic advising service. The award will be presented during the NACADA Annual Conference at Disney World this fall.

NACADA’s membership consists of faculty, professional advisors, administrators, counselors and others in academic and student affairs concerned with the intellectual, personal and vocational needs of students. In addition, NACADA is the representative and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education.

SOAR is a six-week academic, on-campus, summer program for a selected group of first-time-in-college (FTIC) students. The program builds and upgrades the writing, verbal, social and study skills necessary for these students to succeed in college. Participants in this intensive program are evaluated solely by UCF’s Undergraduate Admissions Office and participation is by invitation only.

“Success is less about where you started, but more so where you end and how you got there,” says Wayne Jackson, director for Multicultural Academic and Support Services.

“Many of the SOAR students don’t have a high SAT or high school GPA, compared to the average UCF freshmen student, but they are extremely hard workers,” said Jackson. The staff, led by Coordinator Erik Range, has done a great job in preparing the SOAR students for the rigors of college life at UCF. Thus, it is one of the main reasons why our retention rates and student grade point averages are so high.

Multicultural Academic and Support Services is an office in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.