SOAR -- Student Orientation, Assessment & Registration

What to Expect

SOAR is a program developed and required for new students. Research shows students who participate in orientation programs are more likely to be successful in college and persist to graduation. Recent high school graduates should plan to attend even if they have taken college classes in high school. SOAR will introduce students to important campus resources and the essential tools for success while at Northland Community and Technical College (NCTC). Students will not only be able to take the required assessment during SOAR but will also have the opportunity to complete an orientation including the following:

  • tour the campus
  • learn student responsibilities
  • create an ID card
  • meet a program advisor to develop an individual course schedule
  • register for courses
  • meet a Financial Aid officer and complete FAFSA enrollment
  • discover student involvement options such as clubs and organizations, ex. Student Senate
  • learn student success tips and meet Academic Success Center (ASC) staff to learn how NCTC supports students through their entire college career from helping students study for the Accuplacer, offering free professional and peer tutoring, or ensuring access through accommodations.
  • meet other students
  • ask questions

Assessment & Placement

All Northland students take an assessment called the Accuplacer before enrolling in classes. While other schools may also use the Accuplacer, the assessment at Northland may include the following sections: Reading Comprehension, Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra and/or English as a Second Language (ESL). Because the assessment is adaptive, each student may open up different sections depending on ability. The scores will be used by advisors to ensure placement in a math and/or English course best suited to a student’s current ability. When a student registers for a course that fits their current skill levels, they greatly increase their chances of success and might save money by being successful the first attempt. Some students may not need to take an assessment.

All students must complete the Accuplacer unless exempt per the following score minimums:

AreaACTSATMCA *
Reading21ERW 4801047
English18ERW 480N/A
Mathematics22530College Algebra: 1158
Statistics: 1148
Contemporary Math: 1150

*Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment - taken by Minnesota high school students.

ACT, SAT, and MCA test scores are valid for a limited time of five (5) calendar years, inclusive of the current calendar year. With a valid score, a student will be advised about their placement options.

Accuplacer scores are valid as outlined in the table below:

AreaExpirationContinuous
Enrollment
Expiraton
Reading
Comprehension
3 years4 years
Mathematics2 years3 years

If a student has previously taken an Accuplacer assessment that has expired, they will need to retest. Northland will be transition to use of the Next-Generation Accuplacer (NGA) test in January of 2018.


SOAR Schedule

New and returning students with a current, photo ID, should register for SOAR using the online SOAR Scheduler below. Plan to attend SOAR at the campus where you are attending classes. Advisors and other staff are available immediately after the assessment to help students register for classes. If a student chooses to test on a different campus, they will need to complete orientation and registration on their home campus. If a distance student is unable to test in Minnesota, please contact the Testing Coordinator, Jennifer Borsvold.

Students may request accessible accommodations (i.e. 504 plan, IEP, Vocational Rehabilitation, disability) by contacting the Academic Success Center prior to their test date.

To register for a SOAR day through the link below, enter your Student ID (8 digits long, not your StarID), select either the East Grand Forks, MN or Thief River Falls, MN campus, then choose a date from the calendar by selecting a white circle. If preferred, stop by Student Services (the front desk area) on either campus. Call 218-793-2800 if you have questions about scheduling. Contact the Academic Success Center for further assistance. After scheduling, become familiar with the assessment and begin studying. There are study resources listed below. Students who spend take time to review materials before the assessment may see significantly higher scores.

Schedule SOAR Online »
View SOAR Schedules »

On SOAR Day

Arrive to campus early with a current, official government-issued photo ID. Students will not be allowed to test if they do not have a physical, valid copy of their ID in hand, due to Accuplacer requirements.

Acceptable forms of photo identification with current name

  • Current (unexpired) driver’s license
  • State-approved ID
  • Current passport
  • Naturalization card or certificate of citizenship
  • Current state or federal ID (military)
  • Current other state issued driver’s license/ID card
  • Middle school/high school/college photo ID
  • Tribal ID

After checking in at Student Services (the front desk area), students can complete online orientation and then will be directed to the testing area, where the testing proctor will check your required photo ID. After completing the assessment in the computer lab, academic advisors and admissions staff will be available to help finish any remaining paperwork and/or register for classes. After registering for classes, a student ID card can be issued.

The Accuplacer has no time limit, allowing you to earn the best score possible. Please allow several hours minimum to complete your assessment(s) and the registration process. The average time to complete the test 2-2.5 hours.

Retesting Students

Students who are retesting may register at their preferred campus. Please call 218-793-2800 to register.

It is highly recommended to practice in depth before testing, because students may only retest each section of the assessment twice. During a retest session, a student may choose to schedule one or more sections. Each retest session costs $10, payable on campus at the NCTC Bookstore or Business Office. A waiver to test for free may be obtained from the Academic Success Center (ASC) or Adult Basic Education (ABE) staff after providing evidence of studying. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities.


How can I study?

Accuplacer is an adaptive, internet-based assessment. As you answer each individual question, the computer will provide another question best suited to your ability. Therefore, it is important to take as much time as needed to be confident in your answer. Calculators are provided by the assessment and allowed on select questions, but students are not allowed to bring their own calculators.

Northland uses the following modules: Reading Comprehension, Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra. More information on types of problems within each of these modules is available at the Accuplacer website. If you are unsure how much math your program requires, please contact admissions staff or your academic advisor for more information.

We recommend the following FREE options to practice for the Accuplacer:

  • Official Accuplacer Study Questions: a paper-based review for each of the sections (.pdf)
  • Official Accuplacer Study App: practice retired test questions from your phone or computer.
  • Ed Ready Math: complete a diagnostic test and study problems specific to your knowledge gaps (access code required from Northland).
  • TestPrepReview.com: scroll down the page to Self-Assessment Modules to review individual math concepts and review reading comprehension under Free Accuplacer Practice Tests.
  • Adult Basic Education (ABE): offers face-to-face assistance for individuals age 17 or older who are not currently enrolled in high school. ABE is conveniently located on the EGF and TRF campuses near the Academic Success Center.