Frequently-Asked Questions About SOAR
(Click the "+" symbols to reveal answers)
1. What activities does SOAR offer?SOAR offers a year-round schedule of classes, field trips, special events and shared interest groups to its members.
2. When does SOAR offer classes?Fall Term: 6 weeks in October and November.
Spring Term: 6 weeks in April and May
3. Does SOAR offer programs in the winter?In February and March, SOAR offers its members two, thematically-organized, 4-week winter programs. Classes meet every Wednesday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
4. Who is considered a “SOAR member in good standing”?A SOAR member in good standing is one who has attended classes during at least one of the two SOAR class terms in a year, or who has enrolled in one or both winter programs. A member in good standing will continue to receive the SOAR Schedule for two terms following the last term they’ve attended.
5. Will I be considered a SOAR member in good standing if I register for a winter program?If you are new to SOAR, you can become a member in good standing for the winter term by registering for one or both winter programs. You will be eligible to attend field trips, special events, and shared interest groups that occur in the winter, and you will receive a SOAR Schedule for the following spring and fall terms.
6. How much does it cost to take classes at SOAR?Students pay a membership fee of $80 for each spring and fall term. This fee entitles members to enroll in 8 classes per term, plus a free class featuring speaker Jack Lessenberry. Each term offers as many as 75 classes. Most classes meet a single time for two hours, although some may extend for more than one week. Occasionally a class will require an extra fee to cover books, materials or other costs usually noted in the SOAR Schedule.
7. Must active SOAR members pay a registration fee for a winter program?Yes. Members must register and pay a fee for each of the winter programs. Fees vary based on the costs of program development.
8. Must I be a SOAR member to attend other SOAR activities?Yes. Members who pay a membership fee for a given term are also eligible to participate in special events, field trips and shared interest groups during that term. These activities usually require an extra fee to cover such costs as meals, admissions and transportation. These fees are noted in the SOAR Schedule.
9. Does SOAR offer classes in the summer?SOAR does not offer a summer term of classes. However, activities such as shared interest groups, field trips, film festival and other special events are available to members in the summer.
10. Does SOAR offer classes on weekends and evenings?No. Your local school system, community college or municipal recreation department is the best source of weekend and evening community education classes.
11. Must I be a SOAR member to attend classes?Yes, and you automatically become an active member of SOAR by registering for classes and paying your fee.
12. Can my spouse take classes or participate in other SOAR activities using my membership?No. Membership is assigned to an individual, not to a household. Your spouse will need to pay a separate membership fee in order to attend classes.
13. Can I bring a guest to SOAR classes?A member may bring a guest to one class per term IF the class is “open”. A member should contact the SOAR office by phone or email a day or two in advance of a class to confirm whether or not seats are available. Guests are not permitted to attend “closed” classes.
14. Can I bring a guest to other SOAR activities?For field trips and special events, registration materials for each activity will indicate whether or not guests can be accommodated. Shared interest groups are open to members only.
16. Can I get a refund if I cancel my reservation to a field trip or special event?No. SOAR does not offer refunds for field trips and special events once the reservation has been sent to the SOAR office.
18. Can I bring my registration form for spring or fall classes to the office?No. You must mail your class registration form to the SOAR office via U.S. mail, or register online. SOAR cannot accept registrations for classes that are brought into the office.
19. Is it possible to take more than 8 classes per term?Yes, if you take advantage of walk-in registration. Walk-in registration begins each term at 10:00 AM on the Monday of the week before classes begin. Members are able to sign-up online or in person at the SOAR office for as many additional “open” classes as they want at no additional cost. After that day and through the end of the term, members are able to sign-up for additional classes online or in person at the SOAR office.
20. I only want to register for 4 classes this term. Can I pay a reduced registration fee?No. The membership fee to take classes and enjoy other benefits of membership is $80 per term in spring and fall regardless of your level of participation.
21. Will members receive confirmation after registering and paying for classes?Yes. Those registering for classes online will receive a registration confirmation via email immediately upon completion of the registration process as well as a confirmation letter by mail. Those registering for classes by mail will also receive a confirmation letter by mail.
22. Can I reserve a place in a class before registration begins or before I pay for membership?No. You must register for classes when registration opens each term.
23. What is the difference between an “open” class and a “closed” class at SOAR?An “open” class is one that has available seating to accommodate more enrollees. Classes “close” when the room capacity has been met or when a faculty member sets an enrollment limit for a class.
24. What if the class I want to take is closed?SOAR does not keep waiting lists for closed classes. Attendance in any course that is closed is limited to those who are formally enrolled. Should seats be available, SOAR members in good standing who are not registered for the course may be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis after all formally- enrolled students have been seated. There are no guarantees that members who are not registered will be allowed into the classroom. In any case, guests are not permitted to attend closed classes and, due to fire regulations, members are not allowed to bring extra chairs into a classroom or to stand at the rear of the room or in the doorway.
25. I plan to register on-line. Can I use the same e-mail address as my spouse?No. Every account in the on-line registration system is linked to an individual, not to a household. Therefore, your spouse will need to have a separate email address and pay a separate registration fee in order to register for classes.
26. What if I want to register online but I don’t know how?An excellent step-by-step tutorial for registering online appears on the SOAR website at soarexplore.com.
27. Will members receive confirmation after registering and paying for field trips and special events?Members registering online will receive email confirmation for each field trip and special event. Members registering for field trips by mail will receive confirmation notice by telephone. Members registering for special events by mail will not receive a confirmation notice unless the SOAR Schedule notes that attendance for that program is limited.
28. What if I have to miss a class?There is no penalty for missing classes—except that you will not receive a refund and you’ll miss out on the information presented that day. If you know that you will miss a class, please notify the SOAR office so that another member can fill that place.
29. What if a class, field trip or special event is cancelled?The SOAR office will post notice of any cancellations on the SOAR website at soarexplore.com. In addition, enrollees will receive a notification of the cancellation by email or phone. For classes, efforts will be made to reschedule, based on the instructor’s schedule and the availability of classroom space. If the cancelled class cannot be rescheduled, enrollees will not receive a cancelled class refund. Instead, members have the opportunity to register for an unlimited number of additional “open” classes. Refunds will be issued for field trips and special events that are cancelled by SOAR.
30. Where are SOAR classes offered?Most SOAR classes are offered at Wayne State University Oakland Center, 33737 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48331. Occasionally, a class will be offered at another location close by, such as Birmingham Temple, 28611 W. 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI 48334.
31. Where is my classroom?After you register for classes, you will receive a confirmation by mail listing the location of each course. Classroom assignments are also posted on the calendar page of the SOAR website, and are indicated in the course catalog for any class that meets in a location other than the WSU Oakland Center.
32. Does SOAR have a system for reminding members of field trips and special events?Yes. The SOAR office send-out email reminders of upcoming field trips and special events to all members who have registered.
33. Can I record a SOAR lecture?SOAR lectures are the intellectual property of the instructor. In order to record a lecture, you must have the instructor’s express consent.
34. Can you accommodate my disability or special needs?All SOAR classes are offered in accessible locations in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please call the SOAR office at (248) 489-0005 well in advance of your class to discuss your particular needs.
36. What qualifications are required for SOAR faculty?SOAR seeks experienced speakers with in-depth knowledge of their topics.
37. Can I take SOAR classes if I have never been to college?Yes! The only prerequisite is a love of learning.
38. Can I take SOAR classes if I’m younger than age 50?Yes! SOAR is open to anyone interested in lifelong learning.
39. Will I receive college credit for SOAR classes?No. SOAR classes are for your personal enrichment. Contact Wayne State University for information about completing a degree, attending non-credit career or professional development programs, or auditing regular WSU classes as a visitor.
40. Are there tests or grades at SOAR?No. SOAR classes are for your personal enrichment.
41. I’m thinking of joining SOAR. Can I sample a class?Yes. Please contact the SOAR office at (248) 489-0005 to request a visitor pass to an “open” class.