By ALECIA FINLINSON
Multicultural high school students seeking undergraduate degrees from BYU will now `discover’ BYU through the Summer of Academic Refinement (SOAR) program starting this June.
The traditional month-long Discovery program used to orient multicultural high school students to BYU will be replaced this summer with three week-long programs called SOAR.
The program will now be specially tailored to multicultural students who have completed their junior year in high school and who are serious about attending BYU.
“If you’re serious about BYU, here are factors you need to consider to make you a better applicant for BYU,” said Kaiwi Chung-Hoon, multicultural academic coordinator.
The program has been designed to improve recruiting by allowing recruiters to groom multicultural students to come to BYU, Chung-Hoon said.
The Discovery program was changed in response to feedback from students who had participated in the program. Many wished they could have been better prepared for BYU by knowing what was required to get in before it was too late. SOAR will facilitate more students and should be more successful in preparing them for BYU, Chung-Hoon said.
The program as it will be this summer will help students better prepare for BYU through emphasis on ACT test preparation, honor code awareness, effective study skills, campus interfacing, time management, career evaluation and financial aid advisement.
The second phase of SOAR will be implemented two summers from now when multicultural students having been accepted into BYU come on scholarship for summer quarter. Students will be aided in integrating themselves into some of BYU’s large general courses through academic and peer support.
“The program will develop a support system for them. If you come from a very small town that is not only culture shock but they’re also not used to being in a class that’s that big,” Chung-Hoon said.
“The SOAR program is intended to spread the multicultural students across the campus so they can share their diversity with other departments on campus to build understanding and tolerance of differences,” said Vernon Heperi, director of Multicultural Student Services.
Students are recruited for the SOAR program based upon their academic achievements, multicultural heritage and socio-economic status, said Kate Bronstad, multicultural recruiting specialist. Forty students will be accepted for each session and will need to pay $115 for the week — if funding is a problem, BYU will issue a fee-waiver. Traditionally, Discovery has been a free program and scholarships were given out at the end of the five weeks.
The Discovery program started as an Indian education program in the early 1970s during President Kimball’s administration. The multicultural program continues to be important with the increasing diversity and flux of more multicultural members. BYU is keeping up with this by providing more opportunities for multicultural LDS and non-LDS students to attend this private religious university, Chung-Hoon said.