The HSP Experience

The Hilltop Scholars Program is a unique honors program for first-year students only.

The program gives high-achieving students with an interest in leadership and service an academic and social community here at SMU.  We offer select courses that HSP students can take together to form a strong academic foundation.  We also host social and cultural events and offer various information sessions from University Advising and other departments to help our students maximize their educational experience on campus.  The program will also provide opportunities for community service projects and philanthropies here in the Dallas area.

Hilltop Scholars gives some of our best and brightest incoming students the chance to shine early in their college careers and shapes them into campus leaders.

What our students say:

Read the testimonials below from former Hilltop Scholars to learn about the HSP experience and its advantages:

Elaina Abraham

“The Hilltop Scholars Program provided me with an incredible community of friends, the opportunity to serve as a mentor, as well as the resources to create my own community service project through Lead@SMU. My professors for the courses specific to the program have also made a significant impact on my writing skills and perspective on maintaining wellness in all aspects of my life.”

Matt Melcher

"The Hilltop Scholars Program (HSP) played an instrumental role in my development as a student and student leader at SMU.  As a Freshman, the program provided me with an instant community of like-minded peers who were passionate about serving other people.  Through HSP, I had the unique opportunity to be involved in the Lead@SMU program which taught me strategies for creating impactful service initiatives in the community.  Thanks to the guidance from HSP leadership, lessons learned in Lead@SMU, and incredible support from fellow Hilltop Scholars I had the opportunity to create Loyd Feeds the City.  Loyd Feeds the City is an annual sandwich making event aimed at providing meals for the homeless population in Dallas.  In addition to thousands of sandwiches prepared, the service project has created awareness about homelessness and ways SMU students can support organizations like Austin Street Center.  I’m grateful for my involvement with the Hilltop Scholars Program and the impact it bolstered in the greater SMU and Dallas community."

Nick Fontela

"The Hilltop Scholars Program was an incredible way to start my academic, service, and leadership career at SMU! I was fortunate to also serve as an HSP mentor, and I enjoyed being able to guide first year HSP students at the beginning of their collegiate journeys. HSP has not only connected me with a myriad of invaluable people and resources, but it also provided me with one of my first communities on campus. I met some of my closest friends in my Hilltop classes, and this program helped make my transition to SMU so much easier!"

Raleigh Dewan

"Reflecting on my first-year, it is incredible to understand just how much HSP affected me through friendships with peers, relationships with teachers, access to opportunities, and more. Even non-HSP groups and experiences I was fortunate enough to be part of I’ve realized we’re almost all connected to HSP through an HSP teacher's recommendation, chat with a peer over coffee, or the HSP mentors. More than anything, your communities are the most valuable thing you can possess in college and having one of the best already built in from the moment you step onto the hilltop is such an immense benefit that I can’t overstate it enough."

Elle Meneghetti

"The Hilltop Scholars Program has been a huge part of my life at SMU. Not only is HSP an honors program, but it's a group of people who have similar interests which is what makes it so different from any other program at SMU. Through HSP I have met some of my closest friends and established relationships that will last well after college is over. The meetings were always so fun, and I loved the smaller class sizes that HSP classes offer. The Hilltop Scholars Program has truly been an impactful part of my time at SMU and I am so glad I can continue to be part of the program as a student mentor."

Tiffany Lam

"Through the Hilltop Scholars Program, I've gained invaluable friendships with HSP Scholars and professors. By far, HSP Scholars and professors are the most supportive and inspiring people I've ever met and worked with. Every individual in the program is extremely driven and passionate about making an impact in the community, so it's thrilling to know that I'm surrounded by people who are going to make the world a better place."