Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation

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SMU Orientation

Orientation at SMU is a two-step process. Through Academic Advising, Registration, & Orientation (AARO) & Stampede, 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
  • 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 AARO 2020 dates. Because of session capacity, it is important you do not make travel plans until after you register for AARO in April. 

AARO Sessions 


Transfer AARO 1 July 6


July 7-8


July 14-15

Transfer AARO 2 July 20

July 21-22

Transfer AARO 3 July 27
AARO 4 July 28-29
International AARO

August 14-17

Transfer AARO 4 August 18

Registration for AARO 2020 opens Tuesday, April 14, 2020 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.
  • Update Personal Information - All students are required to keep their personal information current.  This information includes addresses, phone numbers, emergency contacts and some demographic data.  Incoming students must review and update, if necessary, this information before registering for AARO.   Students must first check their Tasks Tile in my.SMU to see if they have completed their “Personal Profile Update and AARO Liability – Fall” task under the To Do List.  Students will not be able to register for AARO if this task is not completed.  More information can be found in the catalog.
  • Prior to registering for AARO ALL students must enroll a mobile device to Duo. Duo is a Two-Factor Authentication platform required by all SMU students to log-on to my.SMU accounts. Please complete this before April 14th.
  • Look at your calendar - AARO sessions fill up quickly, be sure to have backup dates 
  • Make a plan - 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 (this step-by-step is being updated and will be placed on the website prior to registration).

Still having trouble registering?

How Advising Works

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


  1. 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. 
  2. Advising Seminars: Students will have the opportunity to meet with advisors in small group settings; 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 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

Students and families/guests are expected to make accommodations to stay off campus during AARO. If you are a student traveling without guests, please indicate on your 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 2020 participant when making your reservation. Make a reservation online (hyper link, "Online". Link:
International AARO
International AARO housing check-in opens on Friday, August 14th from 9am-4pm. If you arrive before this date or time you are responsible for seeking hotel stay or other overnight accommodations. Bedding is not provided. However, there will be a shopping trip with transportation coordinated by the International Student and Scholar Services Office the afternoon of August 16th. During this time you will be able to purchase bedding or other basic move-in items.
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
Please check back for updates about meals!
International AARO
Please check back for updates about meals!
Transfer AARO
Please check back for updates about meals!
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 five business days before your AARO session. 
First-Year AARO
The guest fee is $70 and covers meals and AARO supplies. 
International 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.

Please check back for updates about the AARO schedule!


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

[    ] Add an Authorized Payer to your SMU Pay Account

[    ] Complete Academic Honesty Tutorial in Canvas

[    ] Complete University Advising Center Bio Sheet

[    ] Print AARO Parking Pass

[    ] Submit Health Forms

[    ] Complete AARO Student Bio Sheet

Packing List

[ √ ] Peruna Passport

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

[    ] Water Bottle

[    ] 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 five 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. 


Please view the Residence Life & Student Housing website to learn more about the Residential Commons, move-in, decorating, & more!


International AARO is August 14-17, 2020.

While this session is called International AARO, both international and domestic students will attend the session. Below you can see how the schedule compares and contrast between domestic and international students. All events below are mandatory. Attending AARO is a requirement for all SMU students.

Schedule for International Students

Schedule for Domestic Students

International Students: Visit the International Student & Scholar Services website for questions about visas, documentation, and more!


All students attending International AARO can begin to move-in to their fall housing assignment on Friday, August 14. Check-in will be available from 9am-4pm. IMPORTANT - If you arrive before this date or time you are responsible for seeking hotel stay or other overnight accommodations on your own. Bedding is not provided when you move-in to your housing assignment. However, there will be a shopping trip with transportation provided coordinated by the International Student and Scholar Services Office the afternoon of August 16th for basic move-in items need to be purchased such as bedding.

Government Document Check-In

Government Document Check-In is only for international students and is required for all international students. There will be a specific document check-in for students attending International AARO on Saturday, August 15th. If you miss the document check-in, you must attend the make-up document check-in on Monday, August 17th. You cannot register for classes until you complete the canvas compliance course and document check-in.

AARO Assemblies

All AARO assemblies are required for both domestic and international students. In the AARO assemblies, you will hear from SMU faculty, staff, and, students leaders.

You will learn about the SMU:

Academy: Curriculum, Course Work, & Experiential Learning
Spirit: Values, History, & Traditions
People: Students, Faculty, & Staff
Campus: Involvement, Resources, & Services
Community: Opportunities, Service, & Entertainment in Dallas


All new SMU students are encouraged to attend Stampede. Because you will move-in on August 16, you will be on campus and ready to participate in our second orientation experience, Stampede. Many international students in the past have shared that they want to make more American friends and this is one of the best opportunities to do so! Stampede is the best way to make friends and acclimate to life at SMU. Stampede is August 20-23.



 Day Domestic Students
International Students
 Friday, August 14
Move-In Day
Move-In Day, Shopping Trip & International Student Dinner
 Saturday, August 15
Get Settled
Document Check-In, Advising Sign-Up, English Placement, International Student Presentation, Social Event
 Sunday, August 16
Advising Check-In, Group Advising, Enrollment Workshops, SMU People Assembly, Student Small Groups, SMU Late Night Advising, SMU People Assembly, Student Small Groups, SMU Late Night
 Monday, August 17
AARO Student Processing, Hilltop Hello, SMU Academy & Campus Assembly, SMU Spirit Assembly, Student Small Groups, Advising, Dinner AARO Student Processing, Hilltop Hello, SMU Academy & Campus Assembly, SMU Spirit Assembly, Student Small Groups, Advising, Dinner, Make-Up English Placement, Make-Up Document Check-In
 Tuesday, August 18
Resource Expo, ALEC Tours Resource Expo, ALEC Tours
Welcome to the Southern Methodist University!  To help you become acquainted with the University and your classmates, the Office of the Student Experience has started work on the annual Who’s New at SMU New Student Book. The Book serves as a valuable resource for students, parents and families, and unlike Web-based social networks, it serves as an enduring commemorative photo archive of your first year at SMU. Since the Book is an important resource for the Office of the Student Experience and for the University, please consider participating by submitting your photo to help us achieve a publication with 100% of the incoming new student class.
You may complete your listing by uploading your photo and information today online via the New Student Book 2019 Upload System at
The publication is designed and printed during the summer and mailed directly to your home address in early August (if you decide to order copies) so that you will have it prior to heading to campus for the beginning of the Fall 2019 academic semester. With this in mind, please participate today to avoid not being included in the Book.
If you would like to order your own student copy and/or parent and family copies of The 2020 Who's New at SMU New Student Book or place a Parent WELCOME TO SMU! Message, simply follow the instructions online.
SMU is once again working with Main Campus Publications to coordinate the publishing of this year's Who's New at SMU Book. If you have any questions about the Book, please don't hesitate to contact Main Campus Publications at
We look forward to meeting you during your summer AARO session as well as working with you throughout your first-year at Southern Methodist University. Again, congratulations and welcome to the Hilltop!

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

International Student and Scholar Services

Website: www.smu/international



Visa/immigration related questions, International AARO,  welcome events or programs, I20/DS2019 questions


Registrar's Office


Phone: (612) 860-6999

Explanation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) and impact on the Release of Education Records

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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

Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement 

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) 768-1470
Special accommodations, testing

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

Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement 
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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