I’m like an Eagle, I’ll only SOAR away

By Elsa Schmitz, Opinion Editor

My first experience with academic advising occurred on a summer’s day, with me, a wide-eyed freshman, looking to sign up for some interesting and exciting classes like anthropology or abnormal psychology.

I sat in a large classroom at one of the computers, waiting patiently for my assigned adviser to arrive. A frazzled-looking man soon arrived and busied himself with logging students onto EagleNet, spending approximately five minutes discussing general education requirements with each person. This included asking if we had taken a foreign language in high school, determining which math class we had placed into and making sure that we chose a third class from one of the many listed in the confusing course catalogue.

Since that time I’ve become more adept at signing up for classes, but I always seem to come to a standstill when people ask me how much time I have left at school, or how many classes I have left to take.

Academic advising hasn’t really helped me very much so far in my career at EWU. Most recently I was able to find my particular major’s adviser, and speaking with her proved to be immensely helpful for me. However, she seemed to be pleasantly surprised when I came to her office with the rest of my classes planned out already.

You see, when I returned to EWU last year as a sophomore, the student online academic review — SOAR — was still a relatively new tool available to students. The course catalogue was as confusing as ever to me, despite each issue becoming more simplistic and easier to read.

When I discovered SOAR, my whole world was opened up.

SOAR is an automated record reflecting a student’s academic progress toward a particular degree completion, according to the EWU website. By logging in through EagleNet and choosing a particular major, students can see what credits have been completed and what needs to be done.

This is incredibly helpful for me, as a junior at EWU, because I am now able to see in both list and graph form what credits and obligations I need to fulfill before graduation next year. SOAR was able to tell me what my academic advisers had not.

Illustration by Elsa Schmitz
Illustration by Elsa Schmitz