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Becky Despain

222 Knight Hall Dept. 3195 1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-2398

Fax: 307-766-2089


FAQs for Students, Faculty & Staff

SOAR is a competency-based program at UW made up of experiences that will shape, engage and prepare students to meet unpredictable and complex challenges for the future. As a participant, you will participate in high impact learning experiences in research, cross-cultural and international perspectives, internships, entrepreneurship, leadership and community service.

Completion of the SOAR program will be a clear indication to employers and graduate schools that participants have taken the time and initiative to invest in more than just their curricular requirements. Students will gain hands-on experience in the 7 competencies deemed most important by employers and will fine-tune the skills needed to effectively articulate such experiences to a range of audiences.

The SOAR program is structured by competencies: the skills that employers and graduate school committees are looking for in their new recruits. Through the SOAR program, you’ll develop your skills in these competency areas and be able to articulate them through writing prompts that are built in to the SOAR platform. This means you’ll be one step ahead when employers and others interested in you ask these same questions! The seven competencies in the SOAR program are:

  • Civic and Community Engagement (e.g. "S" for Service)

  • Cultural Competence (e.g. "O" for Opportunities)

  • Career Readiness (e.g. "A" for Acquisition)

  • Research Experience (e.g. "R" for Research)

  • Leadership and Development

  • Communication Skills

  • Critical Thinking


Great question! Each competency starts with Level 1 experiences where you are exposed to ideas and activities in that area. By the time you reach Level 4 and 5 in that same competency, you’ll have become a leader in that area. Here’s an example from our Cultural Competence area for students interested in studying abroad (note this is just one example, and there are many options at each level and in each competency area that you can choose):

  • Level 1 (Learn More!): Attend the UWYO Abroad Fair or a lecture focused on an international issue

  • Level 2 (Get Involved!): Meet with a student or staff advisor in the Education Abroad Office

  • Level 3 (Be Committed!): Do a study abroad!

  • Level 4 (Be a Leader!): Enroll in study abroad returnee workshop (through the Education Abroad Office)

  • Level 5 (Demonstrate Your Expertise - optional!): Become a Global Ambassador

SOAR is structured using seven competency areas, the four associated with the letters S-O-A-R (Service, Opportunities, Acquisition and Research), and three others (Critical Thinking, Leadership and Communication Skills). You can “double dip” with the last three competencies by doing activities in the four S-O-A-R competencies. The way you double dip is by submitting a short reflection in the SOAR platform. When you click on Leadership, for example, you can click on Level 1 or Level 2 and talk about how your volunteer hours in Colloquium helped you develop leadership skills. Or click on Communication Skills and discuss how doing a study abroad (part of “O” for opportunities) helped you develop more refined communication skills.

The SOAR program is optional for all majors. During your first year, you’ll want to focus on your Level 1 and Level 2 achievements, which often means attending events on or off campus to expose you to the different competencies, or meeting with an advisor/mentor to learn more. You’ll progress through the rest of the levels during your sophomore, junior and senior years at UW. Here’s what going through Level 5 in Research Experience might look like (this is an example):

  • Level 1: Attend a research lecture

  • Level 2: Discuss research options with your academic advisor

  • Level 3: Prepare, propose and gain approvals for your research project

  • Level 4: Conduct research or creative activity

  • Level 5: Present your work at Undergraduate Research Day or other public forum

You can monitor your progress in the SOAR program in two places: on your mobile app or within the web platform from your PC. To download the app to your smart device, search for “Suitable” (it looks like a red and white shield). You can also login to SOAR from WyoWeb (click the SOAR icon on WyoWeb's homepage). In both cases you will login using your UW email and password.

There are countless paths you can choose in SOAR to develop and refine your skills in seven different competency areas. What’s the best way to navigate the SOAR platform? Click on the “Achievements” tab to learn more about each of the competency areas, or try “Activities” to browse the many opportunities available to you each week and throughout the semester to fulfill your goals. New events are added everyday, and you can also “Think Outside the Box” to tell us about another activity you participated in that you think meets a particular competency requirement. This is just another way to Let Your Story SOAR!

The easiest way to view your data is through the interactive scorecard in the SOAR platform. Simply login to SOAR (click the SOAR icon on Wyoweb's homepage) and view your dashboard. There you will find your scorecard with a summary of every activity you have completed in each competency area, and your current level in the SOAR program. You can also click on any of these activities to view details about the activity or event, and to view any written reflections you provided. In the tabs above, you’ll also be able to view and download any documents you uploaded as part of your e-portfolio. To share this information with potential employers or others, you can copy the web URL and share it with them directly. They will also have access to the clickable feature on your scorecard, but they will not be able to explore other areas of your profile.

SOAR is a self-guided program, meaning that you choose which events you want to attend and which activities you want to participate in to meet the requirements in each level and for each competency area.

No, there are no certain activities or requirements that you must complete each semester. The SOAR program is self-guided and self-paced. We recommend that students who are engaged in the SOAR program should focus on Level 1 & 2 achievements during their first year; Level 2 & 3 achievements during their second year; Level 3 & 4 achievements during their third year, and Level 4 & 5 achievements during their final year. Students who complete all competency areas through Level 4 will complete the SOAR program and earn the SOAR distinction. Students who complete any single competency through Level 5 will earn the Master SOAR distinction, which includes additional honors and recognition. See SOAR's homepage for more details.

To complete the SOAR program and graduate with the SOAR distinction, participating students must complete all competency areas through Level 4. The points in the SOAR program are not directly indicative of completion of a level; participating students must complete the requirements in each level before advancing to the next. Students may also earn more points by participating in more activities than are required in each level. The points will contribute to the student’s leaderboard status campus-wide and demonstrate the student’s engagement at a glance to any person viewing the student’s scorecard and profile.

You can absolutely attend or participate in events that are higher than the current level in SOAR, but you won’t advance to the higher level until you have completed all stated requirements. Let’s look at an example. To achieve Level 2 status in SOAR generally, you will need to meet all of your level 2 requirements in all seven competency areas. Once you do that, you’ll advance to Level 3 in SOAR. It’s important to remember that you can still advance to a higher level in one letter (e.g. “S”) but your whole SOAR program won’t advance to the next level until you’ve met all requirements for that level in all areas. In some cases, you can also complete certain activities out of order (e.g. complete a Level 3 activity before you complete a Level 2 activity), but you won’t advance to Level 3 in that competency until you’ve completed the earlier level requirements.

Once you’re logged in to the SOAR platform, you can peruse upcoming events and activities, which are updated daily. Don’t see your event here? You can always “Think Outside the Box” and tell us about an event you attended that you think should count within one of the competency areas! Think Outside the Box options are available at every level.

To complete the SOAR program, participants must complete all requirements in all seven competency areas through Level 4. However, you can choose how you complete these requirements by selecting those events and activities that are most interesting and applicable to you and your goals. Don’t see something that interests you in a certain requirement? Remember, you can always tell us about something that you did that you think should count in a particular level towards one of the competencies. You’ll just need to upload the requested details in the “Think Outside the Box” option at any level and in all competency areas!

Contact Us


Becky Despain

222 Knight Hall Dept. 3195 1000 E. University Ave.

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: 307-766-2398

Fax: 307-766-2089


1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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