The SOARS Referral Form is now available through Omnivox!
The SOARS (Support Options for At-Risk Students) Referral Form is a non-urgent referral tool targeting students who are overcoming significant challenges, and who may be at risk of abandoning their studies at Dawson College. Employees at Dawson can use this Form to connect students to appropriate support services.
The SOARS Referral Form is available in Omnivox under the “Student Services” menu for Dawson employees. You must discuss the referral with the student, and obtain their consent prior to filling out the Form. As soon as the Form is completed on Omnivox, an electronic copy of the referral will be sent out to the referent, the student, and the concerned service.
You can only select one service at a time. For multiple-service referrals, please submit the Form more than once.
It is less intimidating for a student to visit a new office and ask for support when they can anticipate the responding employee to have an idea of who they are and why they presented there. You can explain to referred students that that service is now expecting them!
Services receiving a SOARS Referral also benefit from being able to identify a student presenting to their office whose needs may be more complex and require more time to address.
No! It would be confusing for services if all new referrals were received in this way. The purpose of the SOARS Form is to identify and assist students who seem reluctant to ask for support, and who may need additional accompaniment to access support services, particularly if they are overcoming significant personal or academic challenges. All other students can be informed about the existence of services at the College informally (via MIO, email, or verbally).
- Students who have not consented to a SOARS referral.
- Students presenting with minor academic difficulties who appear open to consulting the appropriate professional services at the College.
- Students who are actively seeking support to meet their needs (i.e. they take initiative and ask questions about where they can obtain financial assistance, career-related information, etc.)
- Students who pose an imminent risk to themselves or others, and who require emergency assistance. In emergency situations, please call Security if the student is on Campus, or 911 if you are unsure of their whereabouts.
Current services include:
- Academic Advising
- Academic Advising (Continuing Education)
- Academic Skills Centre
- Awards and Scholarships
- Campus Life and Leadership
- Career Resource Centre
- Counselling Centre
- Financial Aid
- First Peoples’ Centre
- First-Year Students’ Office
- Medical Services
- Nursing Services
- Ombudsperson (Independent from Student Services)
- Student AccessAbility Centre
- Student Employment
A description of each service (and possible reasons for the referral) are listed on the SOARS form.
It is at the discretion of each service to conduct outreach efforts or not. Some offices have protocols outlining that they cannot contact students who do not take other steps to access their services first. For instance, the Ombudsperson explicitly asks any students referred through the SOARS Form Referral to also complete the mandatory intake form on their website; students cannot be contacted without having completed this step.*
*These instructions will be outlined in the confirmation message provided to you on Omnivox if you have referred a student to the Ombudsperson specifically.
Not without the student’s explicit, informed, and voluntary consent. Employees do not have to provide you with updates about whether or not a student has consulted them, the content of their visits, or any other interventions completed with the student.
The First-Year Students’ Office polled Student Services employees and other employees assisting students about the name of the form in the Winter 2022 semester, and found that there was no consensus in response to this question. Some survey participants expressed their concern that omitting the “at-risk” descriptor increased the likelihood that the form would be generalized to all students, and therefore, misused by employees. The term “at-risk” as used in the SOARS Referral Form alludes primarily to the risk of students abandoning their studies due to challenging circumstances or other barriers to learning. These could include mental health concerns, financial issues, major life events (e.g. death or illness in the family), physical injuries, changes in living situation, undiagnosed conditions impacting academic performance, and any other significant stressors that are disrupting a student’s semester. Any student is susceptible to experiencing one or more of these challenges. The First-Year Students’ Office also intends to poll students during the 2022-2023 Academic Year to get their perspective on the name of the form.