Preferred Name & Name Change

Preferred Name

Students who wish to use a name other than their legal name can add a preferred name to their file in addition to their primary/legal name, or update a preferred name already on file, using the self-service functions in the my.SMU Student Dashboard. The University will make efforts to use the preferred name in communications and in the course of university business. However, there are situations that due to business practices, legal requirements or system limitations the use of a primary/legal name will be used.

SMU has many offices that keep records with student names and many data systems used for specific applications. In addition to updating their preferred name in my.SMU, students may need to notify some offices regarding their use of a preferred name.

A preferred name is a first, middle and/or last name that may be chosen to be used instead of legal first, middle and last name. There is no documentation required to create or change a preferred name. Students are advised that if they choose to use a preferred name, they should use it consistently and resist changing it frequently. Students also are advised that the use of a preferred last name can lead to confusion with employers and organizations in attempting to match official educational records with applications and it is recommended that students provide both their preferred and legal names on applications.

Here is a partial list of standard name usage:

Display name – my.SMU Student Dashboard Preferred name, if provided
Instructor Class Roster Preferred name, if provided
Instructor Grade Roster Preferred name, if provided
Canvas Preferred name, if provided
Global Directory of email addresses Preferred name, if provided
SMU online directory Preferred name, if provided
SMU ID Card Primary (legal) name
Financial Aid related forms and documents Primary (legal) name
Official Academic Transcript Primary (legal) name
Diploma Primary (legal) name or Degree Name
Degree Verifications Primary (legal) name
Housing / Residence Life Preferred first name, Primary last name
SEVIS Reporting (international students) Primary (legal) name

Name Change

A student who has a change in name must provide the University Registrar’s Office with their Social Security card, a valid passport or an official court order indicating the name change. Enrollment or records services for the student under a name different from the last enrollment cannot be accomplished without one of the above documents. All transcripts and diplomas are issued only under a person’s legal name as recorded by the University Registrar’s Office.