SOAR Overview

What is SOAR?

SOAR, or Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration, is Illinois Tech’s new student orientation
program designed to welcome incoming undergraduate students and their families to campus. SOAR is a
one-and-a-half day, in-person event focused on providing incoming students with an opportunity to meet
classmates on campus and become familiarized with a variety of departments and campus resources.

Why is SOAR important?

There are many reasons why we believe SOAR is important to the success of our new students at Illinois
Tech. Here are a few things you can look forward to!

  • Meet with important campus departments. It's all about the relationships that help students along every step of the way from that first day to commencement.
  • Experience College. SOAR is a great time to see what campus life is all about. From learning more about student organizations, dining options, and the residential experience--there's lots to explore!
  • See the Campus. Gaining familiarity with the campus during SOAR will help students better navigate their first semester at Illinois Tech.
  • Make Connections. Some of the closest friends are the ones who meet at SOAR. Meet your peers who will share this exciting journey with you.
Who organizes SOAR at Illinois Tech?

The SOAR program is run by the Office of Undergraduate Admission You can reach us by emailing The Office of Undergraduate Admission works closely with partners from across campus to ensure that a wide range of topics and resources are covered during your program.

Who are SOAR Leaders?

Each student who attends SOAR will be assigned a SOAR leader. SOAR Leaders are current Illinois Tech
students who have been hired and trained specifically to assist incoming Illinois Tech students. They are an
integral part of SOAR and are carefully selected campus leaders who serve as mentors and friends
through the process of becoming an Illinois Tech student. They provide a real student's perspective
about what it is to be an Illinois Tech student.

Incoming students will receive communication from their SOAR leader prior to arriving on campus for their SOAR program.Got a question? Ask your SOAR leader!

Attending SOAR

Is SOAR mandatory for students?

SOAR is mandatory for all incoming undergraduate students. Students who participate in the SOAR
program will be able to meet classmates, familiarize themselves with the campus, and learn about many of
the resources available for our students.

How do I register for SOAR?

For more information about SOAR, including event dates and registration, visit our main registration page.

Will SOAR take place in person?

Yes. For undergraduate students, SOAR will take place at Illinois Tech’s Mies Campus. However, graduate students should register for a Graduate Orientation (GO) session via this link. All GO sessions will be hosted virtually.

International students not stateside should register for International SOAR sessions.

Where will I be staying during SOAR?

Students who attend SOAR will stay on campus at our Kacek residence hall. This is a chance for students to experience what it’s like to live on campus. For specific questions about accommodations, please contact the Office of Residence Life at

If you are a parent, friend, or family member also attending SOAR, off-campus accommodations are available through our Preferred Partner hotels, that offer discounted booking rates. Important: To secure your discounted rate, please follow the links on our Preferred Partner hotels webpage rather than calling the hotel directly.

What do I need to bring to SOAR?

Bedding and a pillow are provided to those staying at our residence halls during the SOAR program, but you are welcome to bring your own linens from home if you prefer.

In addition, we recommend bringing any toiletries needed for your stay, as well as a comfortable pair of walking shoes. You may also want to bring a backpack, water bottle, and something for taking notes.

What does the SOAR schedule look like?

Throughout SOAR, students and their families will meet with campus partners and learn about the various resources available at Illinois Tech. There will be plenty of fun activities, too! We look forward to having you on campus soon. For those attending in-person SOAR, the schedule can be found here.

What dining options are available during SOAR?

Hungry? Students and guests can enjoy a wide variety of cuisines and food options for free at The Commons - Illinois Tech's “all-you-care-to-eat” dining hall. From a breakfast, to fresh salad bar, or made-to-order pasta and stir-fry, you can experience a range of flavors and options. Note: On day one of SOAR, dinner is only available for students. View the SOAR schedule for more details.

For more information, including specific questions about meal plans and dietary restrictions, click here.

How can I get to campus?

Once you've arrived in Chicago, there are many options for traveling to campus, including Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) buses and trains. If driving a personal vehicle, you can park in lot A4 free of charge.

What if I haven't received any information about attending SOAR?

If you have not received any registration information, please email Keep an eye out for a
confirmation email the week before SOAR with the schedule and additional information pertaining to
orientation. Note: If you do not receive an email, we suggest checking your email's Spam/Promotions
folders and then update your email settings so we're on your safe sender list.

My Academics

Will I be able to register for courses at SOAR?

The courses you will take in your first semester at Illinois Tech are vital to setting you up on a path to success. To enable access to your academic advisor and to get you the assistance you need to register for classes early on, we are hosting a series of advising and registration sessions via Zoom between 15th and 19th.

You will be able to meet with your advisor, discuss your interests and the courses that you will be registering for in the Fall 2023 semester, get your PIN (required to register), and make sure there are no scheduling conflicts between your classes.

Please register for the appropriate advising and registration session here. Need help? Contact your admissions counselor and they will direct you to someone who can assist you with your question.

What if I am an undecided major?

If you are undecided on your major, don’t worry! Illinois Tech encourages students to take the time to
choose the major that is right for them. The Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs will present at
SOAR and provide important academic information for both students and parents/families.

Do I need to attend SOAR if I have already spoken with my academic adviser?

Yes. It is great that you have already made contact with faculty on campus! However, there is much
more than academics that goes into SOAR that we would not want you to miss.

Campus Resources

How can I get my student ID card?

At Illinois Tech, your student ID is known as a “HawkCard.” The HawkCard ID provides you with access to residence halls, meal plans, academic spaces, and more. Students participating in SOAR over the summer should submit a photo at least three (3) business days prior to their SOAR program date to ensure timely access to their Residence Hall at check-in. HawkCards for photos submitted on or after Day One of SOAR will be available for pickup at the Campus Business Services Center (MTCC 514). You will receive an email notification when your ID is ready.

We will continue to accept online photo submissions on an ongoing basis, however, students are encouraged to prioritize this task to gain timely access to the campus experience. Late photo submissions will be subject to a processing time of up to three (3) business days.

Questions? Contact the Campus Business Services Center at Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Phone: 312.567.8968

How can I get my Ventra U-Pass?

The Ventra U-Pass provides you with unlimited rides on the CTA (Chicago buses and trains) during your time as a student at Illinois Tech. Students who would like access to a U-Pass must be registered FULL-TIME (graduate students—nine billable academic hours, undergraduate students—12 billable academic hours) for fall 2023.

Additionally, all eligible full-time students who choose to participate in the program should complete the fall 2023 Ventra U-Pass opt-in form. Completing the opt-in form ensures your U-Pass will be ordered/activated and that your account will be billed the $155 U-Pass semester fee. Your Ventra card is intended to last throughout your program at Illinois Tech, unless a replacement card is required. Please note that UPass processing for new students includes ordering your Ventra UPass card from CTA. Ventra cards are typically ready for pickup within 1-2 weeks after the university orders the cards. 


Questions? Contact the Campus Business Services Center at

If I’m living in a residence hall, when can I move in?

Move-in for the Fall 2024 term begins Monday, August 12, 2024. Please keep in mind that classes start on Monday, August 19, 2024. For more information about the Office of Residence Life, please visit this webpage.

International Student Orientation

I am an international student, which session should I attend?

All undergraduate international students should attend the International SOAR session, which will take place virtually on July 11, 2023. A registration link can be found here.

International graduate students should attend one of the two Graduate Orientation (GO) sessions. For more information about GO, including the registration link, please visit this webpage.

What do I need to know about international check-in?

If you are an incoming new F-1 or J-1 student, an international check-in hold has been placed on your student account and will remain in effect until you virtually check-in with the Office of Global Services. This hold will NOT prevent you from enrolling in courses or obtaining a student ID card. This check-in is separate from both the SOAR (orientation) and housing check-ins. 

All incoming international students, including transfer-in international students are required to check-in with the Office of Global Services, within 24 hours of arriving in the United States. Check-in will take place virtually, through the ISSS Portal starting from Saturday, July 20, 2024. Students must log into the ISSS portal using their Illinois Tech (Okta Access) credentials, and submit a “New Student Check-In” request. The Office of Global Services will be open Monday–Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Required documents/information for international student check-in:

The Office of Global Services will process your request within 2 business days and remove the international check-in hold on your student account. This hold does NOT prevent a student from registering for classes. Students only need to check in ONCE with the Office of Global Services.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the Office of Global Services at


Required documents/information for check-in:

The Office of Global Services will process your request within 2 business days and remove the International Check-In Hold on your student account. The international check-in hold does NOT prevent a student from registering for classes. Students only need to check in ONCE with the Office of Global Services.

After you have submitted the check-in request in the ISSS Portal and updated your contact information, as listed above, please refer to the New International Student Checklist for a list of the next steps.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email the Office of Global Services at

English Language Services

For questions about the office of English Language Services, please contact or (312) 567-5220.

What are the important offices and departments students should know about?

For general questions, please contact the Office of Undergraduate Admission at For specific inquiries, please reach out to Gavin Waits at