College Dreams Take Flight During SOAR Orientation

The Nolte family of West Palm Beach visits an info booth during SOAR.

College dreams took flight Friday for dozens of incoming Palm Beach Atlantic University students Friday as they engaged in final preparations to begin classes this fall during a traditional Student Orientation, Advising and Registration (SOAR) campus event.

The one-day SOAR events are an opportunity for new and transferring students starting in the fall semester to get fully prepared for their first year at PBA. These pre-registration sessions occur on campus in late spring through mid-summer, and are also offered online.

“Our purpose is to help you the students, and the parents as well, to transition into our community and successfully [into] your freshman and sophomore year,” said Dannemart Pierre, director of First Year & Transfer Experience.

On SOAR days, incoming students and their parents are able to meet with representatives from various PBA departments including financial aid and student accounts, campus recreation, Workship (community service), student activities, safety and security, and others.

Pierre told the more than 300 students and family members participating that her office coordinates  academic, social and spiritual programs to support new students as well as other key resources. 

Among the SOAR attendees were West Palm Beach residents Stefan and Linda Nolte and their son Nicholas, who's preparing for undergraduate studies this fall as a computer science major. He’s also keen on playing on the PBA Sailfish basketball team.

“It’s an exciting time,” dad Stefan Nolte said. “We wanted to be here to support him. We want him to succeed.” 

PBA alumnus Rod Gardiner ‘04 and his wife Beth of Stuart also attended SOAR with their son Michael, who will be pursuing a marketing degree with a focus on franchising and entrepreneurship. 

“There seems to be a lot more involved in terms of orientation when you’re an undergraduate student and if you’re going to live on campus,” said Rod Gardiner, noting the value of attending SOAR.

Michael Gardiner, 18, said he selected PBA for its central proximity to a marketing agency he runs, and for its attractive study abroad programs. 

 Lisa, Megan and Alison Sappia of Weston visit with Chick Fil-A.

For Lisa Sappia of Weston, participating in SOAR not only allowed her to celebrate “new beginnings” with her daughter Alison, but also to see and experience the campus where she’ll be living while pursuing a psychology degree. 

“I loved that it’s a Christian school and I love the surrounding downtown environment,” said Alison Sappia, of her reasons for choosing PBA. 

During the nearly eight-hour SOAR on campus program, new students got to review their class schedules, meet with academic advisors, learn about the University’s intranet, obtain PBA identification cards and tour residences halls, among other activities.

The next campus SOAR dates are June 29 and July 13, while upcoming virtual sessions are scheduled for June 20 and July 18. 

"Thank you students for selecting PBA as your university home,” said President William Fleming Jr. , in a SOAR welcome address in the school’s Rubin Arena. At PBA, he told them: “You’ll participate in this engaged learning environment where your faith will be fostered, where academic excellence and rigor is expected and where your leadership gifts and talents will be perfected.”