Own your success

Balancing rigorous academics, a rich social life and opportunities to make the world a little better can be tough. That's why SMU and our alumni take action to help students get what they want out of their college experience.

College can be a dynamic, life-changing experience, but it can also feel like a lot: Getting ready for classes and earning your degree; trying new things and learning the life lessons that come with those opportunities; and looking for ways to become a more engaged citizen who contributes to public good.

How do you balance it all? 🤷🏽

At SMU, you’ll do it with the support of faculty, staff, alumni – and your fellow students. Mustangs have each other’s backs. We know you’ve got what it takes – and we want you to have the kind of success, during and after college, you deserve.

Get involved

Did you know that students who get involved in one or two activities outside the classroom tend to do better in the classroom? David Huntley ’80 is a SMU alumnus and trustee and the chief compliance officer with AT&T. As a member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Council for Student Success, he advocates for student success initiatives. In a video and article created for the organization, David reflects on how being an engaged student at SMU provides opportunities for success.

Visit the Student Center and Activities site to learn more about the organizations and experiences that help students discover their interests outside the classroom and find a sense of belonging. 

I have expanded my leadership skills through involvement in student organizations such as The Big Event and Student Foundation.

— Faith Daniels, ’23, majoring in biology; minoring in neuroscience and Spanish

Partners in your academic success

Academic advising

Support for your success in the classroom is easy to find on the Hilltop. Everyone receives academic advising; it is required before you enroll each term. Advisors work with you to create a comprehensive academic plan to meet your goals – and help students stay on track to graduate on time. For students who also pursue an advanced degree from the Cox School of Business, Lyle School of Engineering or Meadows School of the Arts, there is specialized academic advising in each of those schools, as well.

Photo of Fondren Library.


Did you know the SMU Libraries system houses over 3 million items in its collections? And there are many knowledgeable librarians on hand to assist students with their projects and help them navigate the vast resources available right here on campus.

Academic resources

In the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC), students find tutoring, writing assistance and more. For example, an academic counselor can help students define the strategies that work best for their individual success. Additionally, workshops teach students to hone academic skills, like taking effective notes, preparing for a test and strengthening memory.

Students also have access to the Academic Center for Excellence. Recognizing that everyone comes to college with different educational experiences, the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) sponsors programs focused on those who identify as first-generation college students, may need assistance in adjusting to an urban city, or seek assistance in fully utilizing campus resources, be they academic, financial, or social.

Our Disability Accommodations and Success Strategies (DASS) office works to make sure all students have an equal opportunity to engage with courses, programs and activities.People on laptops working around a large table. Specifically, the staff works with students impacted by conditions that are considered disabling, including learning disabilities, physical disabilities and psychiatric disorders, and others. The staff provides learning strategies, coaching, tutoring, mentoring and educational planning that can lead to good outcomes.

Within DASS, the SMU chartered student organization, Students for New Learning (SNL), offers a welcoming space for SMU students with ADHD and learning differences to learn from and support one another. SNL has so many opportunities that contribute to a student’s growth, sense of belonging, and success – it’s educational, empowering, a way to network, and a great opportunity for developing student leadership skills. Senior learning specialist David Tylicki states, “I absolutely love working with students, introducing them to new study strategies, and offering them the same guidance that gave me the opportunity to succeed as a college student.”

Many of the programs and resources listed here are housed within Student Academic Success Programs (SASP). Visit their site for more information about how to elevate your academic game. (Insider Tip: if you're short on time, they offer a 1-Minute Learning Workshop video series on topics ranging from time management and test prep to improving concentration and reducing procrastination.)

Thanks to Students for New Learning’s supportive, encouraging community, I’ve made connections with other like-minded students on campus who have shared similar life experiences.

— Simmons graduate student Melanie Peterson ’24

Supporting families and their students

Parent and Family Programs serves as a resource for parents and families concerning the experience of their student(s) from their first semester on the SMU campus through graduation. Understanding that student success is often a partnership between the student, their family and the SMU community, we want to create a strong relationship with parents and families from their first moments on campus. As students progress through SMU, there will inevitably be ups and downs normal to a student’s growth and development into adulthood. Our campus has a myriad of resources to help. Promoting these resources to students helps them become their own best advocates – both in college and in their lives after graduation.

Photo of family in front of SMU sign
Photo of family during Family Weekend

My SMU advisors have been extremely helpful and helped me lay out a plan to graduate on time. Also, SMU’s career services and network were critical in helping me secure my dream internship at a major bank.

— Manuel Castells ’23, double majoring in mechanical engineering and finance; minoring in mathematics

Related links

Begin your journey to the Hilltop today!

Learn more about our academic offerings, ways to visit and discover more about Dallas. Connect with an admission counselor and explore the opportunities that await you at SMU!