The Saluki Opportunities Awareness Residency (SOAR) program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale is an innovative career development program designed specifically for minority students who are entering their sophomore, junior and senior years in high school. Its primary objective is to increase the number of high school students from under-represented ethnic groups to attend college and major in accounting.
SOAR is a week-long summer camp that introduces and educates minority high school students about the expectations of college life and opportunities in accounting, finance, and business-related fields while providing the foundation of financial literacy and the development of interpersonal skills. In addition, the program serves as a motivational tool to inspire students to increase their fundamental competence in the skill sets related to employment in those fields, even while in high school.
A summer residency program, SOAR gives students the opportunity to reside in a college setting for seven (7) days and six (6) nights and attend classes on accounting and college preparation. Classroom topics are enhanced through team-building activities, professional office tours, field trips, as well as other activities. Prominent business leaders share their knowledge, provide tips for success and discuss educational opportunities. Students experience accounting first-hand through tours of local certified public accounting firms and companies in the private sector. The program concludes with a recognition luncheon for students, parents, speakers, and corporate partners. At the end of the week, students should have developed a clear understanding of the career opportunities in the accounting profession, while developing a personalized, actionable college and career plan.
Each student is assigned a counselor during the program. The counselor-to-student ratio is 1:5 in order to provide students with the best possible supervision. SOAR alumni will be left with a life-altering experience giving them greater self-esteem and a sense of responsibility for others. SOAR alumni are then challenged to continue their career preparation and leadership skills by serving as Ambassadors for future SOAR programs. Ambassadors will serve as volunteers and guides for first-year SOAR participants.
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