Explore our student success initiatives, empowering all Mustangs to achieve their goals.

The Office of Student Success and Retention's initiatives are designed to provide holistic student support and empower students to succeed from their first day through graduation.

student and faculty
graduates throwing hats

Crossing the Finish Line

Working with University Decision Support, advisors, and School Records Offices, Student Success and Retention identifies students who have stopped out from SMU but have not graduated elsewhere. Students' academic records are reviewed to determine the feasibility of graduating within six years. SSR connects with these students to support their degree completion.

Finish Strong

Don't Ghost SMU

Each term, undergraduate students who are neither enrolled nor on official leave are identified and referred to as "Ghosters". The SSR team reaches out to these students three times via email and text messages to inquire about their plans to return to SMU and encourage them to re-enroll. If they decide to re-enroll, they receive support to do so.

Share Your Plans

Exit Survey Analysis

The Exit Survey is our student-oriented questionnaire that tracks external attrition, whether formal exit or for a Leave of Absence, and supports the SMU in identifying key drivers of student satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and attrition. Student Success and Retention facilitates the collection, analysis, and dissemination of findings to the campus community. 

Learn and Act

Flex for Retention

The Office of Student Success and Retention is thrilled to announce the introduction of SMU Dining flex cards, designed to enhance your engagement with students beyond the traditional classroom or office setting.

This initiative offers a fantastic opportunity for you to connect with students in a relaxed environment, foster meaningful relationships, and demonstrate your support, particularly for those who may need additional encouragement to stay on track or at SMU.


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Withdrawal, Cancelation, and Leave of Absences

Student Success and Retention helps undergraduate students explore their leave options. Each year, some SMU undergraduates interrupt their studies for various reasons. Some students will choose to take a leave of absence to take care of a health issue, pursue a professional or volunteer opportunity, attend to family matters, or reconsider academic goals.

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One-on-one Success Coaching

Success coaching provides support and resources to help students overcome challenges and achieve their goals. Students meet with Student Success and Retention staff to discuss concerns and get connected to campus resources. Common topics include navigating the college experience, learning about academic support tools, and opportunities for campus engagement.

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Progress Report Student Outreach

Following posting early and midterm progress reports, Student Success and Retention outreaches to undergraduate students. This involves sending emails and text messages to students with two or more deficient grades, providing one-on-one success coaching, and sharing academic support resources.

Find Support

Retention Alert

Faculty, staff, parents, and families can share when they learn of undergraduate students who may want to leave SMU. Please use our retention alert reporting tool.

Learn More and Report

Summer Forge

Summer Forge is an academic success support program that provides financial, academic, and social support to invited students over the summer. The program provides students with tailored support, coaching, and mentoring to develop the skills and strategies needed to excel in their studies and graduate on time.

Stay On Track

The SSR Help Desk

Student Success and Retention serves as a first point of contact for students, their families, or campus community members seeking guidance, assistance with academic leaves, potential student engagement opportunities, and more. Not sure who to call? Start with SSR!

Get in Touch

The Welcome Back Initiative

Student Success and Retention staff work with students returning from leaves of absence (LOA) to facilitate a smooth transition back to the Hilltop, ensuring a successful semester. This includes a Welcome Back! program at the start of the term and one-on-one success coaching throughout the semester.

Return Well

Transfer Student Support

Student Success and Retention welcomes incoming transfer students to campus and provides them with helpful resources and support to aid in their transition to life on the Hilltop. Students are urged to meet with SSR to share any concerns and additional needs as they acclimate socially and academically.

Find Support