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What is SOAR Writing?

The SOAR Writing Program is a free 1-unit online summer course for incoming Stanford first year students. The SOAR writing course helps incoming first-year Stanford students develop greater confidence in their academic writing practice and prepares them for taking PWR 1, ESF, or ITALIC 95W during their first year. Through discussion, reading, and, both informal and formal writing activities with a community of your peers, we’ll understand how audience, purpose, and cultural context can shape the decisions you’ll make in your writing here at Stanford.

Program Dates

We anticipate offering several sections during summer 2024, each one hour and fifteen minutes in length.  In 2023, these were our section meeting times:

  • MWF, 8:30-9:45 A.M., Pacific Time 
  • MWF, 9:30-10:45 A.M., Pacific Time 
  • MWF, 4:00-5:15 P.M. Pacific Time

What to Expect from SOAR Writing

In your SOAR Writing Class, you’ll engage with a variety of different types of writing, from narrative to analytical essays and source-based writing. Class time will focus on hands-on exploration of the writing process through discussion and small group activities centered on critical and rhetorical analysis, style, organization, and revision, and other key composition and research strategies.

You’ll also meet with your instructors for one-to-one consultations on your writing. By the end of the course, you’ll have an opportunity to choose your final project based on the writing skills you’d most like to develop for your future. 

The course will meet 75 minutes per day three days per week in a fully synchronous (i.e. "real-time" in a video-conference) online environment with one instructor and 15 students per section. Students can expect to spend roughly 5-8 hours per week on class work in total, including section meeting times.

SOAR Writing will be a learning community of incoming first-year students who work together and with their instructors to build greater confidence in their writing practice. To achieve this goal, we expect that all SOAR writing participants will be active, regular contributors to class conversations. 

Applicants should take note that the SOAR writing program will run for five weeks; to maintain a vital learning community, they should plan to be available for the total length of the program. If you have questions or concerns about these expectations before applying, please contact

Who Can Apply to SOAR Writing

Any entering Stanford first year student is welcome to apply. We accept up to 75 students by application.

How to Apply to SOAR Writing

Applications for the 2023 SOAR Writing cohorts are now closed.  We anticipate opening applications for 2024 SOAR Writing in May 2024.

As part of your application for SOAR Writing, you'll be asked the following:

  • What interests you about participating in SOAR Writing? Explain what factors motivated you to apply to this program.
  • Describe aspects of your writing where you feel like you could benefit from more support and practice.


Please email us at if you have questions.