University News

WIU SOAR Programs Continue

June 6, 2019

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MACOMB, IL -- The first Western Illinois University Summer Orientation and Registration (SOAR) was held Tuesday-Wednesday this week, with the second two-day overnight program taking place tomorrow (Friday)-Saturday.

"We are excited to welcome the newest members of our Leatherneck family to campus," said Drew Donahoo, associate director of undergraduate admissions and SOAR coordinator. "SOAR provides an excellent opportunity for our incoming students and their families to really get to know their University, and their new home away from home."

The initial SOAR program, held June 4-5, was filled to capacity, and other June dates are filling quickly, Donahoo added. Students who have not yet registered for the summer program may still do so at

The WIU Admissions team contacts accepted students throughout the year assisting them with their next steps to becoming a Leatherneck, including SOAR registration. This communication begins from the time a student is accepted up until they set foot on campus in the fall for their first semester of classes, said WIU Admissions Counselor Katy Gorsuch.

"Our amazing Admissions team actively recruits students from across the state, as well as our local communities," Gorsuch added. "Recruitment is all about relationships, with more than 80 percent of prospective college students deciding where to go to school based on a relationship they form with an institution. We strive every day to continue building these relationships with high schools, community colleges, students and communities."

Parents Annell and David Bach -- Dave graduated from WIU in 1992 -- traveled all the way from Loveland, OH, with their son, Cooper, for SOAR. A member of the WIU Class of 2023, Cooper will begin his collegiate career majoring in history at WIU this fall.

"I don't remember taking part in this process when I came to school here, but I think it is a great program. Watching Cooper become comfortable quickly and feel welcome here was heartwarming," David said. "We are excited for him and how his WIU experience will shape him as he transitions to adulthood. I'm proud of my school and our son."

Cooper added that SOAR was a good experience, where he was able to easily meet students who will be joining him at WIU this fall.

"I learned what is expected of me and how much I need to pay attention to time management," Cooper said. "I also learned quickly that if I need any help, I have a lot of support here so I can be a successful student."

Riley Mathews, a May 2019 Geneseo (IL) High School graduate, made the 90 mile trek to Macomb with her mom, Kristin (Drehman) Mathews. Riley participated in Experience Western, an overnight program held in April, which she said "reinforced that she made a great decision to attend WIU."

"I enjoyed my experience at SOAR and it made me even more excited about WIU," Riley added. "I'm so excited to get involved on campus with all that WIU has to offer. Summer orientation made me feel even more at home on campus and it gave me the chance to make new friends before school starts."

Kristin added the opportunities the students have at WIU are "great."

"It's evident through all the programs and guidance provided to students that faculty and staff want students to succeed," Kristin said. "I'm so glad our daughter picked WIU. I look forward to all WIU has to offer her. She'll be more than ready for college after attending SOAR."

For more information about SOAR and other WIU Admissions programs, including applying to WIU and admissions standards, contact Admissions at (309) 298-3157, email or visit

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Office of University Relations