Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation

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SMU Orientation

Orientation at SMU is a two-step process. Through Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation (AARO) & Mustang Corral, our extended orientation program, our mission is to prepare students for life at SMU. 


Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation (AARO) is part one of the two-part orientation process at SMU.

At AARO students will: 

  • Meet with their advisor both in group and one-on-one meetings
  • Register for fall classes
  • Meet other new students in small groups led by Orientation Leaders
  • Learn about connecting to the SMU Academy, Spirit, People, Campus, and Community


Below are the 2018 AARO Dates. Do not make travel arrangements until after you registered for AARO. 


 2018 Dates 

January AARO

 January 17

 Transfer AARO 1

 June 22
 First Year AARO 1  June 26-27
 First Year AARO 2  June 28-29
 First Year AARO 3  July 5-6
 Transfer AARO 2  July 9
 First Year AARO 4  July 10-11
 First Year AARO 5  July 12-13
First Year AARO 6   July 17-18
 First Year AARO 7  July 19-20
 Transfer AARO 3  July 23
 First Year AARO 8  July 24-25
 First Year AARO 9  July 26-27
 Transfer AARO 4  August 6
 International AARO  August 10-13
 Transfer AARO 5  August 14
 Mustang Corral

  August 15-19

Registration for AARO 2018 opens Monday, April 16, 2018 at 6:30pm CST. 

 Here are a couple of tips to make sure your AARO registration goes smoothly!

  • Pay your deposit - Only students who have paid their deposit can register for AARO. Note: it may take up to 48 hours for deposits to process. To see if your deposit has processed, log into your Admissions Portal with the email and password you used to apply. 
  • Know your SMU ID and password - You will use these credentials to log into my.SMU where AARO registration is housed. You can find your SMU ID and SMU email in your Admissions Portal.
  • Look at your calendar - AARO sessions fill up quickly, be sure to have backup dates 
  • Make a plan - Need to stay on campus the night before your AARO session? Food allergies? Are family members joining you? You will indicate all of these preferences in your registration. Do not make travel arrangements until after you registered for AARO. 
  • View the AARO Registration Step-by-Step - this PDF shows step-by-step instructions of the registration process

Still having trouble registering?

How Advising Works

During AARO, students will meet with their advisors three times:

  1. Group Meetings: An opportunity for families and students to meet their Academic Advisor and learn more about how advising at SMU works. 
  2. Enrollment Workshops: A student-only workshop where you will learn how to navigate the my.SMU system and enroll in fall classes. The purpose of enrollment workshops are a to familiarize yourself with my.SMU. Your fall schedule may not be perfect when you leave but your advisor can help you adjust your classes in your individual advising appointment following the workshop. 
  3. Individual Advising: A 30 minute, one-on-one meeting with the student and advisor; advisors will review and edit fall classes the students enrolled in during Enrollment Workshops.


Important Note About Advising at AARO


Please plan to bring a laptop to your AARO session. In the Enrollment Workshop, you will use your laptop to enroll for classes. 


The session I want to attend is full

Because each student meets one-on-one with their academic advisor during AARO, we have limitations on how many students can attend each session. There are enough spots in all of the AARO sessions for every new student to attend AARO. 

If you are unable to attend any of the sessions available to you, you can be placed on a waitlist. Placement on the waitlist does not guarantee we will be able to move you into your preferred session,  but we will be as accommodating as possible.

To be placed on the waitlist, fill out this form. Do not fill out this form until you have registered for an open AARO session. 

If I come to a later AARO session, will there still be classes?

Yes! We gradually release class seats throughout the summer so that students in later AARO sessions have similar opportunities to enroll as students who came to earlier AARO sessions. While you may have to be flexible with times , every student will be able to take classes in the fall that meet major and/or University Curriculum requirements.


How to Prepare for Advising at AARO


Advising and Families

Families, please visit the University Advising Center website to learn more about your role in advising at SMU!


First-Year AARO

First-year students will stay overnight in Boaz Commons in between the first and second day of AARO. Bedding is provided. If you need housing the day before your AARO session, please indicate so in your AARO registration. 

Families, we encourage you to make reservations at the AARO Host hotel - The Highland. The Highland is walking distance from campus and shopping with complimentary shuttle service available. Please identify yourself as an SMU Orientation 2018 participant when making your reservation. Make a reservation online or call (214) 520-7969. 

Transfer AARO

Because Transfer AARO sessions are one day, we do not offer housing accommodations. If you are traveling to campus, Please make accommodations with our preferred host hotel, The Highland, or another hotel near SMU's campus. 


First-Year AARO

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served Day 1. Brunch is served Day 2. The evening of Day 2, we encourage you to try a new Dallas restaurant!

Transfer AARO

Brunch is served during Transfer AARO. We encourage you to try a new Dallas restaurant for dinner while you are here!


Students' AARO fee is included in their deposit. Guest fees are added to the students' account following AARO. 

Important: Students' accounts will be charged the guest fee even if the guest does not show up. To avoid being charged a fee for someone who does not attend AARO, please update your guest registration in my.SMU three business days before your AARO session. 

First-Year AARO

The guest fee is $70 and covers meals and AARO supplies. 

Transfer AARO

 The guest fee is $30 and covers meals and AARO supplies.


AARO begins at 8:30am on Day 1 of each session and ends at 5pm on Day 2 of each session.

We encourage all our students and guests to stay for AARO in its entirety, but understand it is not always possible because of flights/travel. During AARO you will sign up for an individual advising appointment with your advisor. Many advising appointments take place from 1-5pm on the second day of AARO. If you must leave early because of travel, be sure to communicate with your advisor when you are leaving in order to get an appointment that works for your travel schedule.

Soon, you will be able to view a detailed AARO 2018 schedule here!

To-Do List Prior to Coming to AARO

[ √ ] Register

[    ] Reserve Lodging & Transportation

[    ] Take Math & Language Placement Exams in Canvas

[    ] Log into my.SMU & SMU email account

[    ] Complete FERPA Release of Education Records

[    ] Complete Academic Honesty Tutorial in Canvas

[    ] Complete University Advising Center Bio Sheet

[    ] Print AARO Parking Pass

[    ] Submit Health Forms

Packing List

[ √ ] Peruna Passport

[    ] Laptop (needed for Enrollment Workshop to register for classes)

[    ] AARO Parking Pass

[    ] Health Center Forms (if not yet submitted to the SMU Health Center)

[    ] Disability Documentation (if seeking accommodations)

[    ] Copies of AP & IB testing scores

[    ] College Transcripts for any dual credit courses

[    ] Casual clothing for 90-100 degree weather

[    ] Sweater or jacket (sessions will be cold)

[    ] Toiletries (first year AARO sessions)


All parents & family members are encouraged to attend AARO with their new student!


During AARO, there are assemblies beneficial for both students & families, but there is also family specific programming to prepare you to support your student as a Mustang. Families will have the opportunity to get all their questions answered, network with other families, & join the Mothers' & Dads' Club - a tradition for SMU Families. 

AARO is $70 for first-year families & $30 for transfer families. Students' accounts will be charged the guest fee even if the guest does not show up. To avoid being charged a fee for someone who does not attend AARO, please update your guest registration in my.SMU three business days before your AARO session. 

Families should make reservations at our AARO host hotel, The Highland or another hotel close to campus. Click here for the AARO booking link. 


These resources are dedicated to you, our first-year and transfer students. The links below are important resources & will help answer questions you may have coming to SMU. 

Starting Points


Telephone Directory 
(214) 768 - 2000

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Undergraduate Admissions Office
Phone: (214) 768-2058
High school transcript questions, campus tours

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Academic Resources

Academic Advising 
Phone: (214) 768-2291
Registration, general placement tests, advanced placement test credit, General College requirements 

Learning Enhancement Center
Phone: (214) 768-3292
Tutoring, academic workshops, skills and time-management assessment

Writing Center
Phone: (214) 768-4253
Questions Concerning: paper proofing and development

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Financial Matters

Financial Aid
Phone: (214) 768-3417
Financial aid applications, notification of aid, deferment of payment, scholarships, grants, loans, work study, emergency loans, off-campus employment

Student Financial Service
Phone: (214) 768-3417
Billing, tuition, and fees

Student Employment - Handshake
Phone: (214) 768-2414

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Opportunities for New Students

Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports
Phone: (214) 768-3374

Office of the Chaplain & Religious LIfe
Phone: (214) 768-4502

Community Engagement & Leadership

Greek Life
Phone: (214) 768-4400

Student Activities
Phone: (214) 768-4400

Office of Transfer & Transition Services
Phone: (214) 768-2703

Veteran Affairs

Women & LGBT Center
Phone: (214) 768-4792

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For Parents

Director of Parent & Family Programs
Deanie Kepler 
Phone: (214) 768-4797


Mom and Dad's Club

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Student Services

Dean of Student Life Office
Associate Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Student Life
Phone: (214) 768-4564
Student crisis issues, honor council, student code of conduct, emergency loans, general student concerns

SMU Dining Services
Phone: (214) 768-2367
Meal plan options, meal cards, cafeteria and dining areas

Disability Accommodations & Success Strategies
Phone: (214) 768-4557
Special accommodations, testing

Residence Life and Student Housing
Phone: (214) 768-2407
Residence halls, housing placement, and roommate assignments

Multicultural Student Affairs
Phone: (214) 768-4580
Ethnic minority orientation, ethnic minority councils, ethnic minority student mentors

Police Department
Phone: (214) 768-3333
Parking, public safety, after-hour escort services, educational seminars

SMU Health Center
Phone: (214) 768-2141 
Medical forms and medical clearance for registration, facilities, services, fees and charges, student group insurance plan

SMU Parking and ID Services
Phone: (214) 768-7669

SMU Information Technology Services
Phone: (214) 768-4357
Computer issues, repairs, installations, and email accounts

Substance Abuse Prevention & Education

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