Families at SOAR

Family at commencementStudents aren’t the only ones making an adjustment to college life—family members transition, too! Our family orientation program is designed to help families understand their changing role and how to best support their student through his or her own transition.

Family member attendance is optional, but we encourage those interested to register well in advance of their student's session.


Students can register up to one family member (if space allows) when they complete their own registration online. Space for family members to attend is limited; we suggest registering to attend as early as possible. Due to space limitations, we are unable to grant any exceptions!

Family members MUST be registered five business days in advance of your session in order to attend SOAR; no reservations will be accepted on the day of a session. Family members can be added (if the registration falls within the five business day before the session window listed) above to a student's registration using our Instructions for Changing Your Reservation on the Registration page.


SOAR fees cover costs associated with providing the SOAR program, including meals, refreshments, social activities, publications and materials provided to participants, services of SOAR leaders and advisors, and other administrative costs.

Fee Amount Includes...
Confirmation Fee (Includes SOAR registration for one-day session) Covered by the $150 confirmation fee Lunch and materials
Family orientation program $30 per family member lunch and materials

Learn more about the fees associated with student and family attendance at SOAR. All SOAR fees are non-refundable within five business days of your scheduled session.


Students have a checklist of tasks to complete before SOAR, and families do, too! We recommend viewing this list of tasks for family members can use to help their student prepare for his or her session.

What to Know Before Attending

SOAR is designed to help students transition into university life and continue their process growth and development. We ask for your assistance in this endeavor by agreeing to the following:

  • 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.
  • Students are required to attend ALL scheduled SOAR sessions in order to register for classes. Please refrain from encouraging students to miss required SOAR activities.
  • The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (or FERPA) protects students' privacy and grants them the right to view and share their own educational records (like grades, transcripts, disciplinary records, class schedules, etc.). Under this law, higher education institutions may not disclose education records to anyone other than the student — including parents and family members.

    These restrictions are often frustrating to family members, particularly to those paying college bills. Rather than seeing these restrictions as obstacles to helping your student, we encourage you to view them as an opportunity to have mature, important discussions with your student. We also encourage you and your student to discuss the Partners in Education program, which grants a designated partner access to students' academic progress for the first year in order to help first-year students and their families build a relationship of trust and communication.
  • Family members are not permitted to attend academic advising and registration activities with their student during SOAR. Relationships between academic advisors and students are essential to their success, and we begin the development of this relationship at SOAR. During two-day programs, family members will learn more about the General Education program, receive information from their student’s advisor, and share their thoughts with their students on Day One before students register for classes on Day Two.
  • All students attending our two-day SOAR sessions in the summer are required to reside overnight on campus, regardless of their distance from campus or whether they will reside off campus during their first semester. Their overnight stay, combined with social activities they participate in during the evening, foster bonds of friendship between students that strengthen their chances for success during their first semester.
  • On-campus accommodations are not available for family members during any of our SOAR sessions. We suggest utilizing our list of local Springfield hotels to take advantage of discounted rates.

Program schedule

Interested in sessions we offer for family members, or which sessions students and families attend together? Visit our session schedule pages for two-day programs or one-day programs.


It is important that families are aware of the effect federal law has in accessing student information. The Family Educational Rights 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 (PID) page.

Both FERPA and PIE will be further discussed at SOAR.