SOAR: Student Orientation, Advisement and Orientation

Families at SOAR

Students aren’t the only ones making an adjustment to college life—family members transition, too! Our family orientation program is designed to help families of our new you understand your changing role and support your student through his or her own transition.

Helping with the transition to MSU

Parents and family members can do a great deal to help students transition. We recommend that you:

  • Let your student take the lead in registering for a SOAR session and completing checklist items in preparing for SOAR. Doing so gets your student involved in the process and encourages personal responsibility, a trait highly beneficial for new college students.
  • Encourage your student to make decisions and take an active role at SOAR. Doing so will help your student build confidence in their decision-making skills and show them that as an independent adult, they are responsible for their own decisions.
  • Ensure your student attends all SOAR activities. Each activity is designed to contribute to his or her academic, social, or personal success at college.
  • Support your student’s relationship with their academic advisor. Academic advisors play an important role in students’ success; this relationship is so essential we begin this process at SOAR. To foster this bond, family members are not permitted to attend students’ advising and registration sessions. We realize your advice is valuable, as well; you will have opportunities to receive information from your student’s advisor and share your thoughts with your student prior to his or her registration.

About the family program

Family attendance is optional but highly encouraged. Students will make reservations for their family members during their SOAR registration process.

The family orientation program runs alongside, but separately from, the student program. As a family member, you will attend some portions of the program with your student but will spend most of your time in sessions designed to meet your specific needs.

Download the Family Checklist



It is important that families are aware of the effect federal law has in accessing student information. The Family and Educational Right and Privacy Act of 1974 — FERPA — is a federal law that protects the privacy and accuracy of student’s education records, which includes their personal, academic, and financial records.

FERPA also obligates institutions that receive federal funds administered by the U.S. Secretary of Education (financial aid, veterans’ benefits, grants, etc.) to protect this privacy. Institutions that violate this law could have these federal funds withheld. Consequently, Missouri State University cannot release student records to any third party, including family members, without their consent.

Under FERPA, students attending an institution of postsecondary education may:

  • Consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education record except to the extent that FERPA authorizes closure without consent
  • Choose to suppress (i.e., keep from being disclosed) their directory information
  • Inspect and review their educational records
  • Seek amendment of their education records if believed to be inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of their privacy rights
  • File complaints with the Department of Education about alleged failures by the University to comply with the requirements of FERPA

For more information about FERPA, please visit Missouri State University’s FERPA page.

Partners In Education (PIE)

Missouri State recognizes the role family members play in the success of their students, especially in their first year as they are transitioning into university life. To help open communication lines and provide support services to improve students’ academic success, the University created the Partners in Education (PIE) program.

Students who enroll in PIE can designate third parties — such as family members and spouses — as members. Members will then be entitled to exclusive benefits, such as welcome letters, mid-semester progress reports, final grade reports and more.

Membership to students and their identified partners is limited to the student’s freshman year. Membership will not carry forward into additional years. For more information, visit our Partners in Education (PIE) page.

Both FERPA and PIE will be further discussed at SOAR. A PIE waiver form will be included in each student packet at SOAR.