The Rotunda Scholars Program aims to help first-year students achieve early success at SMU by promoting academic achievement and personal excellence. Rotunda Scholars have the opportunity to move-in early and attend the exclusive RISE Institute (Readiness, Interdependence, Success, and Excellence). The RISE Institute is a three-day pre-semester program where invited participants begin connecting to one another, valuable campus resources, and key faculty, staff, and alumni.

Upon successful completion of this one-year program, Rotunda Scholars are given exclusive access to a multitude of opportunities such as undergraduate research, campus jobs, internships, engaged learning projects and study abroad experiences, just to name a few. One critical part of the program is retaining Rotunda Scholars to serve as peer mentors for the next class of scholars. A select few who have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills are selected as Rotunda Fellows. Rotunda Fellows receive compensation, creating new programs/activities, and engage in research projects with the director in order to assess program effectiveness.

First-year students in the Rotunda Scholars program are assigned a peer counselor, which is an experience unique to our program. The peer counselor is an older student who supports the each first-year throughout his or her personal and academic transition. The peer counselor assigned to you is of the same or a similar major, meaning they can provide first-hand knowledge on how to be successful in the courses in which you enroll.

Rotunda Scholars also receive specialized academic advising, have access to a reserved study space, participate in several workshops throughout the academic year on a myriad of topics, and are invited to exclusive events at SMU and in the Dallas community.