Program Benefits and FAQ

What are the advantages of being a Rotunda Scholar?

Early Move-In

  • 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.

Peer Support

  • 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 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.

Academic Resources

  • Rotunda Scholars also receive specialized academic counseling, 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.

Ongoing Opportunities

  • Upon successful completion of the first-year requirements, 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 Counselors 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

A: Students who have shown exceptional academic prowess, leadership, service, and exhibit ideal characteristics of a true SMU Mustang. Additionally, students who are serious about doing well academically, want to be involved on campus, wish to make the most of their college experience, will utilize their peer support network, and plan to be proactive about their future.

A: The number of students has varied over the years. Of over 200 applicants, last year's cohort was comprised of 65 students from across the United States and beyond!

A: As a Rotunda Scholars, you will be a part of a community of other similarly focused SMU students, you will be able to move-in early, have access to top-notch designated study spaces, be paired with an upperclassman Peer Counselor, receive individualized and holistic academic counseling, close faculty mentorships, and participate in unique programming opportunities on and off campus.

A: No. Students invited to the program were strong academically and received to SMU prior to being invited to apply for Rotunda Scholars.

A: No. There is no specific requirement for students to represent any particular race, ethnicity or nationality.