Parent and Family Resources

We consider parents and family members to be a vital part of the SMU Family, and we salute your support and involvement in your student’s success. We like to think of the relationship between students, families, and the University as a partnership. Our partnership begins with Rotunda Passage and continues throughout one’s lifetime. Your student will have many experiences while at SMU, and they will be surrounded by faculty, staff, and administrators who want the same things for your student as you do. We know that much learning and growing happens during the college years, and we hope this information will help you seek answers to questions you might have.

Important information is organized into the following over-arching categories: The Basics, Health & Safety, Academic Success, Student Engagement, and College Student Development. Inside each section, you will find information for families and specific links to more in-depth information from primary sources and offices on campus. You will also find an additional category, Family Involvement and Partnership, as SMU embraces the belief that the more parents and families know about the resources here on campus, the better they will be to help us support their students! Please check back often if you are looking for information as this site will be updated regularly. A heartfelt thank you for your confidence and trust in sending your student to SMU and becoming a part of the Mustang Family.

For an entering college student or a seasoned one, these categories provide the basis of student thriving. We know these topics are of significant interest to parents and families as well. The information provided below will answer the most commonly asked questions regarding living and dining on campus and financial issues involving financial aid, tuition payment, and payment plans available to parents and families each semester. Additional links have been provided in each category, and we encourage you to educate yourself about the intricacies of each department and office.

Offices located in Boaz Commons in the entrance off of Bishop Blvd
214-768-2407 | |


SMU hopes that your student’s Residential Commons will be AN AFFILIATION FOR LIFE! Each Residential Commons has its own personality, and they provide an opportunity for students to get involved in the Commons Council, intramurals, weekly gatherings with the Faculty-in-Residence (FIR), and to make memories that will last a lifetime!

Rising second-year students participate in room selection in the Spring semester, typically in March, for the following academic year. Rising second-year students are guaranteed housing for that year, but must apply and sign the housing agreement. Failure to complete the housing agreement during reapplication does not release a student from the housing requirement. Rising third and fourth-year students will participate in housing reapplication in the Spring on a space available basis.

Preference for a particular Residential Commons or building location is not taken into account when assigning students, and roommates are not assigned or reassigned on the basis of race, religion, creed, national origin, or sexual orientation.


  • CONTROLLED ACCESS. The exterior doors of each building are locked 24 hours a day. Friends, family, and food delivery people must contact a resident to gain access and be escorted by the host.
  • ON-CALL STAFF. A resident assistant is on duty from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily.
  • EMERGENCY CALL BOXES. Emergency call boxes located throughout the campus are automatically activated when the receiver is lifted, and a patrol car is immediately dispatched to that location.

The full list of housing policies can be found on the Housing website, including fire safety regulations for residence halls. Please remember that the housing policies are designed to keep your student safe. The following are some additional topics that are frequently of interest to families:

  • APPLIANCES. For safety reasons, the only student-owned cooking appliances allowed are hot pots and coffee makers with enclosed heating elements. Students may bring their own refrigerators or rent from SMU’s authorized provider, Mustang Refrigerator. Only one refrigerator per room so students must share! Refrigerators are limited to 3.1 cubic feet.
  • FIRE SAFETY. No open flames, candles, incense, or appliances with exposed heating coils are allowed! As a fire safety precaution, the following are also prohibited: halogen lamps, lamps with paper or plastic shades, incandescent bulbs (use compact fluorescents), extension cords, “multi-plug” adapters and any appliance with an outlet on it such as vanity mirrors. View a full list of permitted and prohibited items here.
  • STUDENTS LOVE MAIL of all kinds! Mail is not delivered directly to the residence halls. Students living on campus are assigned a post office box. Students are notified via email when packages are received, but will not be notified of mail received – students should check regularly!
Administrative Offices: 214-768-2367 | |
Follow on Social Media: | Instagram @smudining | Twitter @smudining


As part of the living-learning experience, all resident students are required to have a dining plan membership. Several options are available, depending on a student’s classification. Meal plans automatically renew for the spring semester.
  • The Works is the required plan for all first and second year residential students.
  • Residential students who are third-year and above may choose from plans: The Works or Block 150.
  • Residential students who are seniors may choose from all plans: The Works, Block 150 or Senior Block 50
  • Commuter students may purchase any meal plan.

FLEX DOLLARS. Flex Dollars are accepted at all dining locations and work like money on a debit card. Flex Dollars carry over from fall to spring, but expire at the end of the academic year. Additional Flex Dollars can be purchased easily by visiting

NUTRITIONAL COUNSELING. Students should consult the Registered Dietitian for assistance with special dietary needs and concerns. Appointments may be made by calling 214-768-4349 or emailing

Visit the SMU Dining website for more in depth information about meal plans, to add flex dollars and to see all of the places your student can eat on campus.
Blanton Building Suite 119 | 214-768-3417 | |


Talking money is rarely fun, but it is a necessity.

  • Your student should build a relationship with his/her Financial Aid advisor.
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Financial Aid Profile are required yearly.
  • If you have questions, student can contact their Financial Aid Advisor (assigned by the first letter of a student’s last name). It is to your student’s advantage to discuss any special or unusual circumstances as well as any changes in your financial status once aid is awarded.
  • On-Campus employment is a great opportunity for students. There are many on-campus jobs for which your student can apply by checking the Student Employment website.


Blanton Building Lobby | 214-768-3417 |


Your student must add a parent/family member as an Authorized Payer on their account to allow you to view bills/statements, view unbilled activity, view payment history and make a payment. See details at SMUpay.
  • TUITION PAYMENT PLAN. SMU offers payment plans for each term. To learn more about how to enroll in a payment plan, visit
  • PREPAYMENT. Yes, you can prepay two, three or four years of tuition and general student fees at this current year’s rate. Learn more information about the prepayment plan on the Bursar website.
  • The University Bursar’s office is paperless! Students and Authorized Payers receive an email invoice after enrollment each term. If there are charges during the term, a statement notification is also sent.
  • Bills are paid online through SMUpay using a personal checking account, credit card or wire transfer. A non-refundable 2.75% service fee is charged on all accepted credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. There is no service fee for e-checks. Personal checks, cashier’s check or money orders are also accepted. Payment deadlines can be found on the Bursar’s Office website.
  • Have your student set you up as an Authorized Payer sooner rather than later. View instructions on setting up an Authorized Payer.
  • For additional questions, please visit the Bursar's Office FAQ page.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) helps protect the privacy of student education records. With certain exceptions, SMU will not disclose personally identifiable information from a student’s education records to any third-party without written consent from the student. SMU understands that many undergraduate students want to allow their parents and others access to all or some of their education records. Students have the ability to provide their consent for access to their records by using the “Release of Education Records” feature in the self-service component of my.SMU. Once parents and others have been granted access, some of the student’s education records are available on-line through my.SMU. Other records are available by contacting the office holding the records.

For parent and student instructions, select the appropriate link from the FERPA website or the buttons below. Additional information is available at

Student Instructions Parent and Family Instructions


  • For questions on PIN, passwords, and locked accounts, please contact your student to reset the account. Instructions for your student to reset the account can be found on the student FERPA website under the “Reset Access” tab.
  • For questions about browser and technology issues on using my.SMU, please contact the SMU OIT helpdesk at or 214.768.4357 (8- HELP).
  • For questions about the content of a student’s education records, please contact Enrollment Services at or 214.768.3417.
Parents are encouraged to discuss the “Release of Education Records” feature with their student to establish the authorization for them to view and receive information from the student’s education records.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 107 | 214-768-7275 | | Parking Info for Parents


  • Your student’s SMU ID Card is an essential part of campus life and should be carried at all times. Students use it for everything!
  • REPLACING A CARD. It is critical that students notify the Parking and ID Card Services Office promptly if their ID is lost or stolen. Students may also manage their card after office hours by going to the Parking and ID Services website. Holes, stickers, tape and other alterations will render the card unusable. A $40.00 fee is charged for each replacement card.

Is your student bringing a car to campus?

  • Your student can order a parking permit at by logging on with their SMU ID and password and selecting “Get Permit”. SMU uses License Plate Recognition technology to validate parking permits by the license plate registered to the permit.

Not Bringing a Car – Students Must Opt-Out!

  • To “opt-out” of a parking permit, students must log on to their parking account as though they are ordering a parking permit. Select “Get Permit” when you get to the permit selection screen and then select “opt-out” from the list of options.

Alternative Options for Getting Around Campus

  • SMU EXPRESS. No car - no problem! The SMU Express bus awaits! It runs every 15 minutes Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. then every 40 minutes until 9:30 p.m. The bus departs the center of campus on Bishop Boulevard for shopping at places like Kroger, Old Town Shopping Center, and Mockingbird Station.
  • SAFETY ESCORTS. SMU’s campus security escort service offers free safe rides throughout the main campus between 7 PM and 3 AM daily when classes are in session. For a ride, students download the TapRide app from the App Store or Google Play.
  • DALLAS AREA RAPID TRANSIT(DART)/SMU TRANSIT PASS. Students ride free on DART with their SMU DART GO PASS! The SMU DART GO PASS allows unlimited access to buses and trains throughout DART’s service area.
  • ZIPCAR, an option if NOT bringing a car. Members age 18-20 can use a dedicated group of Zipcars that are parked on campus. Visit the ZIPCAR website for details.

If you cannot find the answers to your questions, don’t hesitate to email or call:
SMU Parent & Family Programs | 214-768-4797

Once the primary needs of students have been met, the focus turns to their safety and security. We know they will never be able to succeed in and out of the classroom if they don’t feel safe and secure in this “home away from home”. This Health and Safety section includes information about the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center Medical and Counseling Services, as well as information about our Police Department and Parking & ID Card Services. Important information about Alcohol and Substance Use/Abuse on the college campus as well as concerns about Violence Prevention are also addressed with resources and tips provided to parents and families.

3128 Dyer Street, Patterson Hall, 2nd floor |
Emergency Number: 214-768-3333 | Emergency Number from Campus Phones: 911 | Non-emergency number: 214-768-3388


The SMU Police Department employs state-certified uniformed and plain-clothes law enforcement officers who patrol the campus 24 hours a day. These officers are armed and have full powers of arrest. SMU police officers are responsible for enforcement of all state and local ordinances as well as the university’s policies and regulations. SMU PD frequently get asked, is SMU a relatively secure campus?  Remind your student that SMU is in a large metropolitan area. We look at security as a partnership between your student and the University. Students should exercise good crime prevention habits at all times including, but not limited to, adhering to all Residential Commons and campus security procedures, not leaving valuables unattended in rooms or campus buildings, locking their car, always walking with a group after dark and when off campus, and being ever aware of their surroundings. Other public safety services and programs include:
  • SMU AWARE APP. Students and families can download the campus safety app, SMU Aware. SMU Aware allows students to contact SMU PD and other emergency services with ease, initiate a Friend Walk, receive alerts, and more. To download the app, both iPhone and Android users can simply go to the “App Store” on their phones, search “SMU Aware,” and the app will appear as the Official SMU Safety App. Parents and families can use the app through its “guest” feature. Learn more about the safety app by clicking this link.
  • ANONYMOUS REPORTING SYSTEM. The SILENT WITNESS program allows the SMU Community two ways to anonymously report criminal activity or other police-related information.
    • The Anonymous Tips Line (214-SMU-2TIP) is an unmonitored, voice- recorded phone line. This phone line is checked daily for new information.
    • Through the online Silent Witness form community members may provide information anonymously at 
  • EMERGENCY CALL BOX SYSTEM. Emergency call boxes are strategically located throughout the campus. Most are easily recognizable by a familiar blue light on top. Once activated, the call box sends a signal to the police department via the campus 911 system. The location of the call box is identified automatically, and the caller can speak directly to the police communications officer. Call boxes are also in all elevators.
  • SECURITY ESCORTS.The police department offers security escorts to anyone on the campus to and from on-campus building and parking facilities.
Dr. Bob Smith Health Center | 214-768-2141 |
After Hours Emergency 24/7: 911 or 214-768-2141 | Tele-Health 1-855-635-1393 | Counseling 24-Hours 214-768-2277


The Dr. Bob Smith Health Center provides your SMU student with a wide range of health and wellness resources, including primary care clinical services, psychiatric and mental health services, substance abuse counseling, medical laboratory testing and diagnostic radiology, pharmacy services as well as extensive disease prevention and health promotion programs.  

Services include the treatment of acute illnesses and injuries, minor medical procedures, physical exams, STD testing, vaccinations, allergy shots, a dental clinic and specialty care in dermatology and gynecology. Clinical Support Services include on-site Laboratory and X-ray services. For appointments, students call the main number or log in to the Student Health Portal on the Health Center Web site to make an appointment. 

AFTER-HOURS CARE. Students should call 911 for immediate response to life-threatening injuries or illnesses. For non-emergency medical concerns, students may access telehealth services 24/7. For other urgent medical concerns requiring in-office attention, students should seek a local hospital or an urgent care center. A listing of several area hospital emergency rooms and after-hours urgent care facilities is provided on the Health Center website.

PHARMACY. A full-service pharmacy is conveniently located in the Dr. Bob Smith Health Center to meet students’ prescription needs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The pharmacy is in network with most insurance plans. Prescriptions and refills may be transmitted directly to the pharmacy from the physician. 

PEDIATRIC DENTAL is included until students turns 19. Optional Dental Insurance is available to be purchase for $118.00 per semester for students 19 and older. Please refer to the Insurance website or call the student health insurance office.  

CLASS ABSENCE DUE TO ILLNESS. The Health Center does not issue class excuses for illness. The faculty member makes all decisions regarding absences. Students are encouraged to talk with their professors, who each have their own attendance policies. Students may choose to fill out the Absence from Class Form and present it to their professors. The Class Excuse Policy and a link to the Absence from Class Form is available on the Current Students Medical Services page


Dr. Bob Smith Health Center | Student Health Insurance Website
Insurance Office 214-768-3408 | Academic Health Plans, Inc. 855-357-0242


SMU students are required to maintain medical insurance coverage as a condition of their enrollment. Your students must provide proof of medical coverage, whether through an individual policy or through their spouse or parent’s plan. Domestic students taking nine or more credit hours are enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) each semester unless they expressly waive coverage in my.SMU. The University offers the SMU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), administered by the Health Center’s Student Insurance Office. The plan provides extensive coverage at a reasonable cost for most on- and off-campus medical care. More information about mandatory health insurance is available on the Health Insurance website

STUDENT HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN (SHIP). For the 2020-21 academic year, the University has partnered with Academic Health Plans, Inc. (AHP) and Aetna to provide high-quality health insurance coverage to our students and their dependents. Should you have any questions, please contact the Insurance Office at the Health or Academic HealthPlans, Inc.




Dr. Bob Smith Health Center 2nd Floor
214-768-2277 | After Hours/Emergency 214-768-2277


If students are in crisis and need to be seen immediately, they should come to the center during office hours (M-F 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) or call after hours to reach the clinician on call.

Through Counseling Services at SMU, your student has access to staff psychologists and counselors who offer a wide variety of services which can be prescribed as part of an individualized treatment plan, including short-term individual counseling/clinical services. Group and crisis intervention are also available. Both individual and group counseling assist students in resolving personal conflicts, clarifying life goals, and improving communication skills. Workshops offer skill-building techniques that enable students to better manage daily academic and personal life stressors. Psychiatric evaluation, crisis intervention and individual therapy are provided.  

APPOINTMENTS. Your student can schedule an Initial Consultation appointment by calling the Health Center or by logging into the Student Health Patient Portal ( and completing the necessary paperwork. At the initial appointment, a counselor will meet individually with your student to review paperwork, go over their concerns and discuss the resources available to meet their needs. Additionally, students can opt into Teletherapy where they will receive high-quality, on-demand mental health care. SMU Teletherapy is the best way for students to see a therapist from their Residence Hall, home, or on-the-go. 

CRISIS INTERVENTION. Crisis intervention is provided during the work week for all students and after hours by on-call staff. Specialty after hours services are available for women and men dealing with any kind of gender-based harm or abuse, including sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment, domestic or relationship violence, battering and stalking. Call 214-768-2277.

REFERRALS. If the needs of the student exceed the resources of Counseling Services or if students prefer to seek service off campus, appropriate referrals are made to community professionals.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELING. Students are provided with a confidential source of help and information when confronted with alcohol or drug abuse or addiction issues. Assessments, interventions, referrals, and short-term counseling as well as ongoing support and recovery groups for students are also available.


Caring Community Connection Website


The Caring Community Connection (CCC), a signature program within the Office of Student Support, serves as a resource for any member of the SMU community, including parents, to refer students who are experiencing challenges to designated staff within the Dean of Students office. Staff will then reach out to students and help find appropriate resources to address concerns. Student concerns are normally submitted via an online submission form on the CCC website. The Office of Student Support is also available to consult about your concerns.
All offices are located in Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 205

The department of Student Support, Advocacy, and Accountability is made up of three offices under the Office of Dean of Students: Student Conduct & Community Standards, Student Support, and Violence Prevention and Support Services. The department dedicates itself to providing proactive education, expert response, and intentional collaborations to compassionately address behavioral, personal, and academic matters. The department advances the Division of Student Affairs strategic plan by empowering students to make educated and informed decisions as world changers.


Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards
214-768-4563 | |

The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards seeks to promote community, scholarship and civility by holding students accountable to the Student Code of Conduct and the Honor Code. We assist students in understanding the importance of ethical and intentional decision making within the SMU community and beyond. In doing so, we recognize when students make mistakes and assist them in bringing their actions into congruence with the expectations set forth by the University.

Policies that govern student behavior on and off campus can be found in the Student Handbook. There are opportunities for students to assist in the Conduct Review Process through participation on the University Conduct Board and/or as a member of the SMU Honor Council or by being appointed to the University Conduct Council.


Office of Student Support
214-768-4564 |

The SMU experience is a time of growth, challenge and excitement. Some facets of college life can be stressful for students, and students may find that they require assistance to navigate these challenges. The Office of Student Support is dedicated to working collaboratively to assist students in navigating challenges that impede academic and personal success. We connect students to resources, advocate, and educate the greater SMU community to create a safe, caring, and enriching environment. Caring Community Connections (CCC), a signature program within the Office of Student Support, serves as a resource for any member of the SMU community, including parents, to refer students who are experiencing challenges to designated staff within the Dean of Students office. Staff will then reach out to students and help find appropriate resources to address concerns. Student concerns are normally submitted via an online submission form at When completing the form, give as much information about the concern as possible to assist staff in identifying next steps. Staff frequently work with various members of the SMU community through the CCC program, and any information provided is useful in helping the student. In the event you are unsure about whether a referral is appropriate and want to consult about your student’s concern, you are welcome to contact staff within the Office of Student Support directly.


Office of Violence Prevention & Support Services
214-768-4512 | |

The Office of Violence Prevention and Support Services is committed to creating a safe campus, free from interpersonal and gender-based violence by providing education and outreach to students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the office engages in collaboration with both campus and community resources to ensure a survivor-centered approach to assist those affected by interpersonal and gender-based violence.
Counseling Services | Dr. Bob Smith Health Center
214-768-2277 | 


THE FACTS: Alcohol and substance abuse are serious issues at colleges and universities throughout the country. The University enforces state law and prohibits the possession and consumption of alcohol by those younger than 21 as well as the use, sale, possession or manufacturing of any controlled substance. When this policy is violated, SMU will impose sanctions including but not limited to family notification, a fine, a referral to substance abuse counselors in SMU Counseling Services, educational sanctions and a status sanction that could affect the student’s standing with the University. Sanctions can also include suspension or expulsion from the University.

BEWARE of Legal Ramifications 
In addition to violating the Student Code of Conduct, a student’s behavior may also be a violation of the law. In these cases, action by law enforcement authorities may also occur. Thus, students may be adjudicated through the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards as well as through the court system. 

  • ALCOHOL. Minors convicted in the criminal court system of possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages may be subject to fines, suspension of driver’s license, community service and a mandatory alcohol education class. Convictions for driving while intoxicated may subject individuals to fines totaling as much as $2,000 and a jail term of up to six months for a first offense. Fines and jail terms escalate after the first conviction. 
  • CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE (DRUGS). Sanctions upon conviction in the criminal court system for possession, distribution, or manufacture of controlled substances range from fines to probation to imprisonment. Amount of fines, terms of probation, or years of imprisonment generally are contingent upon the circumstances and amounts of drugs in possession, sale, distribution, or manufacture. 
  • FICTITIOUS LICENSE OR CERTIFICATE. Students under the age of 21 may not possess documentation which represents them as being 21 years of age or older. Texas law states, “A person under the age of 21 years commits an offense if the person possesses, with the intent to represent that the person is 21 years of age or older, a document that is deceptively similar to a driver’s license or a personal identification certificate unless the document displays the statement  ‘NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT’ diagonally printed clearly and indelibly on both the front and back of the document in solid red capital letters at least one-fourth inch in height.” This type of offense is a Class C misdemeanor. 

Important Conversations To Have with your Student... 
Communication between families and students about alcohol and other drugs is an important, ongoing conversation. Ultimately, it is up to students to make responsible choices, but studies show that families continue to influence college students. The opinions and guidance of families do make a difference.  

  • HAVE CLEAR EXPECTATIONS. College is a huge investment of time and money. Students and their families should set clear expectations about the student’s focus on academic work and personal development. Underage alcohol consumption, use of illicit drugs and alcohol-impaired driving are illegal. It is the University’s expectation that students will uphold both the law and the Student Code of Conduct.
  • HELP YOUR STUDENT TAKE A STAND. Every student has a right to a safe academic and living environment. Discuss ways to handle situations ranging from interrupted study time to assault or unwanted sexual advances. Help your student identify when to confront a situation directly and when to notify Residential Commons staff or law enforcement officials.
  • LISTEN. Ask your student to talk about alcohol and other drugs. Communicate calmly and clearly. Find out what concerns and fears they have.

Families Need to Stay Involved… 

  • Pay attention to your college student’s experiences and activities during the crucial first 6 weeks on campus. Call your student regularly during this time period. With new schedules and free time, some students initiate heavy drinking during these early days of college, and the potential exists for excessive alcohol consumption to interfere with successful adaptation to campus life.
  • Make sure that your son or daughter understands the penalties for underage drinking, public intoxication, using a fake ID, driving under the influence, assault, and other alcohol-related offenses. Additionally, they should understand how alcohol use can increase risk, including for violence, academic failure and other negative consequences.



Q. What actions is SMU taking to prevent substance abuse and encourage responsible choices?  
A. Alcohol and other drug abuse are serious issues at colleges and universities throughout the country. These issues call for a partnership involving the University through our programs to educate, assist and enforce; families who remain a tremendous influence on their students; and students who must be responsible for obeying laws and regulations. SMU is committed to providing its students with an educational environment in which healthy lifestyle choices can be made. Toward this end, for many years the University has had in place numerous programs, policies and resources aimed at substance abuse education, prevention, intervention, and treatment. SMU’s programs are monitored by the President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention. The Commission’s initiatives address health and medical services, enforcement, academic life, social life, partnerships with and communications with the University community.  

Q. What resources are available for my student?  
A. SMU offers extensive programs and resources to new and continuing students aimed at substance abuse prevention. As outlined on the next page, these include education, counseling, assessments, support for recovering students, peer support and special training for leaders in Residential Commons and Greek houses, as well as faculty and staff. In addition, SMU offers resources such as educational programs and counseling for students coping with eating disorders, sexual assault and depression.  

Q. What is my role as a parent or family member if my student gets “in trouble” with the University?  
A. The Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards wants the same things you do - to help students develop intellectually, emotionally, socially, and physically. We serve our students by holding them accountable and responsible for their actions. Remember, college is a place where students can make mistakes, have an opportunity to learn from them, and move on in a positive manner with their lives. It is a place where students can learn independence, responsibility and accountability. The University has an opportunity to intervene and enhance the course of a student’s life and change it for the better.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 205 | 214-768-4512 |


Sexual misconduct is prohibited by SMU’s Title IX Harassment Policy and the federal law Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. SMU’s policy is online in the University Policy Manual and on the Office of Institutional Access and Equity website.

Sexual misconduct encompasses all forms of sexual harassment, including gender-based harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sexual exploitation. In the event that a student experiences sexual misconduct, SMU has policies, procedures, and resources in place to provide support. SMU resources available to students include SMU Police, the SMU Title IX Coordinator and deputy Title IX coordinators, confidential counselors and the Office of Violence Prevention and Support Services.

A REMINDER: Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated in our University community. Students found responsible for sexual misconduct face disciplinary sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University.


The following resources must honor confidentiality and are not required to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or Police except under very limited circumstances such as an imminent threat of danger to self or others.



Learn more


Important Conversations to Have with Your Student


SMU provides a reasonably secure environment to live, learn and work. However, a person’s safety can be enhanced by taking certain precautions. Police can’t be everywhere all the time.
  • Students should lock their room doors at all times, especially when they leave their room.
  • Leave expensive jewelry at home or buy a small safe or lockbox to store valuables.
  • Students should never give strangers access to their residential commons.
  • Students should never leave cellphones or laptops unattended anywhere on campus.
  • Texas is a zero-tolerance state when it comes to alcohol. If your student is not 21 years old, you must make sure he or she knows they may not drink alcoholic beverages unless he or she is in your presence. Police officers may arrest students for possessing alcohol, having the odor of an alcoholic beverage on their breath, driving with any detectable amount of alcohol on their breath, and possessing or using a counterfeit driver's license or ID card.
  • If your student has a prescription for any controlled medication such as Adderall, Ritalin or Hydrocodone, remind him or her that selling or giving medication to another person is a crime.
  • Substances like marijuana, cocaine, and GHB are illegal in Texas and not tolerated at SMU. Anyone found in possession of an illegal drug or associated paraphernalia may be arrested and could face suspension or expulsion from the University.
  • Hazing is illegal in Texas and prohibited at SMU. If your student wants to join a fraternity or sorority, sports team or other activity and is required to do things like drink or eat anything to excess, perform acts of servitude, undergo sleep deprivation, endure beatings, or engage in criminal activity as a condition of membership, he or she is being hazed. Any suspected incidents of hazing should be reported immediately to the police or the office of the Dean of Students.
  • Tell your student to call the police immediately at 214-768-3333 should he or she become a victim of crime or witness a crime in progress. Delaying the call will make it easier for the perpetrator to get away and harder for the police to solve the crime. If you have any questions about security at SMU, please call the SMU Police Department at (214) 768-3333 or email

Students attend SMU to get an education, and their dedication to classroom success should be their top priority. This section provides tips for success in the classroom, starting with building a strong relationship with their Advisor, visiting professors during office hours, as well as taking advantage of the myriad of free academic resources on campus. Perhaps the most straightforward and critical tip which we often take for granted is, “Go to Class”.

University Advising Center (UAC)
Blanton Building Suite 408 | 214-768-2291


Academic Advising – Pre-Majors
Productive advising is built on a true partnership between the student and the advisor. The advisors in the UAC strive to educate their advisees to be fully self-sufficient and responsible for their own academic decisions. The UAC is SMU’s primary resource center for undergraduate pre-major advising. Embracing a student-centered, collaborative advising approach, the UAC advisors work together with pre-major students to create a comprehensive and meaningful academic plan while guiding students through the transition into a declared major. All entering SMU students are assigned an advisor in the UAC whom they will work with until they declare a major.


Upon declaring a major, students will be assigned a new academic advisor in their major department. Each of the five undergraduate schools has appointed faculty and staff members to advise students within their particular majors. Because of SMU’s low faculty-to-student ratio, department heads and faculty members are easily accessible to students. Faculty members serve as informal mentors, as well as official advisors. In many cases, SMU students and faculty members form friendships that can last a lifetime.


Q. Whom should I talk to if I have an academic concern about my student?
A. The initial contact you should make is with your student to discuss the concern fully. Next, encourage your student to meet with their professor and/or academic advisor.  

Q. How can I help my student succeed academically?
A. Parents and family members can be instrumental to students’ success in the classroom by encouraging them to go to class, to get to know their professors, and to seek the academic resources on campus before they are in academic difficulty. In addition, the University Advising Center website has planning strategies and further information. Students and families will find answers to most of their questions about academic programs and policies in the Peruna Passport and the Undergraduate Catalog.

The Common Curriculum (CC) (for students entering in Fall 2020 and later) is a general education framework that prepares students to be lifelong learners in a rapidly changing, interconnected world. The CC is the 21st-century reboot of the classical university education, challenging students to know the past, understand the present and build on the future. The CC is made of up two general education requirements: Foundations and Breadths. In addition, students will also complete a set of skill-based Graduation Requirements called Proficiencies & Experiences. The Foundations and Breadths require 27-38 credit hours and some requirements can be fulfilled with test and/or transfer credits.

To review more detailed information on the CC and its requirements, please check the SMU Catalog of your year of entry.


2023 - 2024 Academic Calendar

The Academic Calendar is maintained by the University Registrar and holds many important dates including University holidays, academic deadlines, final examination days, Commencement, etc.


214-768-2813 |


Entrance to the University Honors Program is by invitation. Students may also apply for Honors consideration directly to the University Honors Director after one semester of course work at SMU. Opportunities include: smaller discussion-based classes, enrollment in the two-semester Honors Humanities Seminar, enrollment in innovative seminars and labs, and special events and international study designed specifically for Honors students throughout the year.




The Office of Engaged Learning provides an institutional framework for undergraduates to heighten their SMU education through capstone-level research, service, internships, creative and entrepreneurial projects, on-campus and in local and global communities. Engaged Learning offers four funded programs: Engaged Learning Fellowship, Clinton Global Initiative University, Big Ideas, and Undergraduate Research.


214-768-3726 |


SMU’s Office of National Student Fellowships helps SMU students and faculty to apply for external, nationally-competitive fellowships, scholarships and awards such as the Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright, Truman, Goldwater, Udall, Schwarzman, and many others.
Blanton Building Suite 338 | 214-768-3657(Dallas Office) | 575-758-8322(Fort Burgwin Office) |


SMU-in-Taos at Fort Burgwin is a 423-acre campus steeped in history and located in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Range of the Rocky Mountains near Taos, New Mexico. SMU-in-Taos encourages a philosophy of a “classroom without walls” that utilizes the locale’s inspiring natural setting, rich cultural history and vibrant artistic community to create a truly unique academic experience.

COURSE OFFERINGS. SMU-in-Taos usually offers May, Summer and January course opportunities. Students on the SMU-in-Taos campus enjoy small classroom sizes, hands-on instruction, unique field trips, easily accessible SMU faculty and staff along with an abundance of academic and cultural stimulation. A wide range of courses is offered that allow students to fulfill requirements towards their major or minor interests or SMU’s University Curriculum.

CULTURAL INSTITUTE. Parents, you can study in Taos as well…this is a long weekend just for you! Each July the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute offers short, intermittent non-credit courses for adults. Explore the deep past through the archaeology of the southwest, the unique botany of the Taos area or the thrill of fly-fishing over the course of a long weekend in Taos. All courses are taught by SMU faculty or local specialists in their fields of study. Courses include social as well as educational opportunities.


Blanton Building Suite 216 | 214-768-2338 |


More than five hundred undergraduates earn credit toward graduation requirements through study abroad each year. Study abroad is more than classroom learning, and students are encouraged to pursue immersive and impactful experiences in other cultures through internships, research and service activities.

ENROLLMENT AND ACADEMICS. SMU programs are open to all undergraduates in good standing at SMU. Students are advised to start planning early and to attend fairs and information sessions offered throughout the year. Courses taken on SMU Abroad programs will count as SMU courses, can meet major, minor, and general education requirements, and grades earned abroad will count in the SMU GPA. Costs, deadlines, and payment policies are published on the SMU Abroad website.


214-768-1009 |


SMU offers additional academic sessions during the winter and summer breaks. These intensive “intersessions” are opportunities for students to accelerate their degree plan, advance their academic standing/GPA, and prepare for graduate school or their post-baccalaureate career. Students undertaking multiple majors or minors regularly use intersessions to complete high-credit degree programs on time and on budget.

Paul B. Loyd All-Sports Center Suite 202
For Student Appointments Call: 214-768-3648 |


Each year, approximately 70% of first-year students take advantage of SASP programs, courses, and services. The remaining 30% of users are upper class students who recognize the importance of seeking help and assistance before it is too late! All offerings are available at no cost to undergraduate students. Some services are available by appointment; others are available on a drop-in basis. SASP provide the following resources academic counselingtutoring services, the writing center, academic success workshop, and support for who may find adjustment to college challenging academically for any reason.
Paul B. Loyd All-Sports Center Suite 202
214-768-1470 |


The mission of the DASS team is to provide individual attention and support to students with disabilities. The staff assesses the unique needs of students with disabilities and assists them in identifying and taking advantage of all appropriate campus resources. Team members review requests for academic accommodations and provide support to students with disabilities who may need assistance with various aspects of their campus experience, including accessibility, testing, and academics. Students can qualify for classroom and other accommodations when there is evidence that their disability significantly impacts their learning or other major life activity.

Please note that it is the student’s responsibility to establish eligibility for services and accommodations through DASS.  
Students must:

  1. Request services themselves by submitting an online form (Accommodation Request Form) or request an interview, and
  2. submit appropriate, current documentation. 

For more information on the accommodation process, please visit the DASS Website.

SPECIAL NOTE: Documentation submitted to Admissions is not considered a request for services and is not forwarded to this office. Students should submit documentation directly to the DASS office to request services.

In addition to formal accommodations, individual academic support is provided for students with documented learning disabilities and AD/HD. Assistance is available in the areas of transitioning, learning strategies instruction, coaching, educational planning, and self-advocacy. Students with learning disability and AD/HD also may participate in a student-led support/ networking group (Students for New Learning), obtain individual, and course-specific tutoring. For more information regarding academic support services available for students with disabilities, please contact DASS or visit their website.

Academic Center for Excellence in Armstrong Commons
214-768-4008 | | F
GI Website


The First-Generation Initiative (FGI) was established in September 2019 to ensure academic success for first-generation college students or those who are the first in their family to attend a postsecondary institution. Being a first-generation college student is a proud accomplishment. SMU recognizes that your student will face unique experiences in college, and we look forward to supporting them! To get connected to unique programming for first-generation students, please email or call the office. Visit the First-Generation Initiative website for more information.

Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 200
214-768-2266 | |


CAREER COUNSELING. The Center provides counseling services, utilizing a variety of explorational activities and informal assessments that focus on skills, values and interests. Individual appointments with a counselor may include exploring majors, determining career goals, learning job search strategies, and building professional skills such as resumé and cover letter creation and effective interviewing.

EVENTS. The Center hosts multiple events including two campus-wide Career Fairs, alumni and industry specific panels, on-campus recruiting and information sessions to assist students with career exploration and networking. Skill-building workshops take place throughout the year on topics including career fair preparation, job and internship search strategies, networking and interviewing.

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING. Students may apply to participate in SMU Connection or Mustang Connections. SMU Connection is a one-day shadowing opportunity with an SMU alumnus in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area or their hometown over winter break. Students may apply to Mustang Connections to visit a top employer in DFW over Fall Break.

PEER MENTORS. Peer Mentors are a group of highly trained undergraduate students who engage students in career development and preparation. Peer Mentors provide assistance during drop-in hours, offering 1-on-1 assistance with resume review, job and internship searches and professional skill building. They also lead presentations for campus organizations and classes about the resources available for career success.

HEGI CAREER LEADERS PROGRAM. Hegi Career Leaders is an advanced professional development program for undergraduate students that focuses on career exploration, professional skill building, and experiential learning. Students are matched with a Career Counselor, attend professional development and employer-facing events, and have regular access to exclusive opportunities for learning and networking.

BOARD FELLOWS PROGRAM. The SMU Board Fellows Program matches undergraduate students with Dallas area nonprofit organizations after students complete a rigorous application and interview process. Through this program, students serve as non-voting members on the boards of selected local nonprofit organizations.


Q. How can families assist students in their choice of major(s) and a potential career path?
A. Encourage your student to take courses that will apply to a variety of majors, with an emphasis on academic achievement. Have students talk with people in various career fields as well as local professionals and leaders you may know. Students should also seek out a wide range of experiences -campus organizations, internships and volunteer positions.  

Q. What are the most important things parents can do related to their student’s job search strategies?
A. Encourage students to use the Hegi Family Career Development Center early and often! Reinforce the importance of career planning by asking about career action plans. Ask questions that encourage career information seeking behavior. Encourage students to pursue internships related to various career interests.  

Class attendance is both EXPECTED and REQUIRED! Policies regarding the impact of class attendance on a student’s grade are in the course syllabus. All reasons for absence should be submitted at once to the instructor. The instructor determines in all instances the extent to which absences and tardiness affect a grade.

  • CREDIT HOUR LOADS. The unit of measure for courses is the credit hour and each credit hour requires one hour of direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours per week of preparation on the part of students. A full-time load in fall and spring is 12 credit hours for undergraduates, but 15-16 hours are recommended in case a student decides to drop a course in which they would still be carrying 12 hours and run no risk of affecting their scholarships. See the Undergraduate Catalog.
  • WHAT’S YOUR MAJOR? For most students, the declaration of a major or majors occurs in the sophomore or early junior year. Students can simultaneously earn degrees from multiple schools. Students should meet with advisors in each school at an early date to prepare a plan of study.
  • #1 GOAL - STUDENTS FINDING THEIR PASSION. Students can change their academic program at any time during a term by notifying their academic dean/records office.
  • GRADES FOR REPEATED COURSES – To the Student’s Advantage! Undergraduate students may repeat up to six courses taken at SMU for which grades of D+ or lower were received. The grade from the repeated course, even if lower, will be the grade used to calculate the student’s GPA. A course may be repeated only once. Students must repeat the exact same course at SMU as originally taken to be considered a repeat. Not every course is available to be repeated.
  • TIME OUT from the University….A “Leave of Absence” may be necessary during an academic career for a variety of reasons, including 1) medical reasons, 2) family crisis or other personal situation that requires an extended absence, 3) financial issues that may take time to resolve, or 4) academic difficulties that may best be handled by taking time to refocus on college work. The Leave of Absence Form and Leave of Absence Policy are available on the University Registrar Current Students website.
WORDS OF WISDOM....From the Faculty


  • Encourage your student to take control of their education and to see themselves as a scholar.
  • Encourage your student to get to know SMU professors – they are your student’s single greatest resource! Take advantage of faculty office hours.
  • Encourage your student to be assertive, to take responsibility for the choices they make, to create their own support systems, and to seek help when needed.
  • Encourage your student to take advantage of the resources at the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) by attending a workshop, enrolling in HDEV 1110, seeking out the free tutors, making an appointment with an English Department faculty member in the Writing Center, and making an appointment with a Learning and Study Skills Strategist.
  • Encourage your student to take control of their time by planning ahead to satisfy academic obligations while making time for everything else (sleeping, eating, participating in student organizations, exercising, playing intramural sports, handling a work- study job on campus, socializing, etc.). A student’s ability to prioritize along with time management are critical skills for college success.
  • Encourage your student to enroll in at least one course that will broaden their horizons, join an interesting club or activity that may not be familiar, seek out individuals from different cultures and backgrounds, attend a Tate Lecture on campus, or a concert or production at the Meadows School.
  • Encourage your student to be thoughtful in their approach to academics. Students should take courses that interest them, not ones that merely satisfy a requirement, and they should be cautioned about dropping a course too quickly.
  • Encourage your student to think “beyond the moment” and to set goals for the semester, the year, and for their college career. Persistence and hard work do pay off!
  • Students should read and understand the class syllabus. They should put dates of quizzes, tests, papers and projects on a Semester at a Glance Calendar obtained from the A-LEC. Prepare ahead for busy weeks.
  • A Time Awareness weekly calendar can be filled out once students have registered for their classes.

Go to Class! Go to Class! Go to Class!


Students actually spend most of their time in college outside the classroom. This is why building relationships, making friends, and finding a community to be an active part of are all things that secure a student’s sense of belonging at the institution. If your student is struggling to make SMU feel like home, encourage them to get involved. Research shows that students who get involved in one or two activities outside the classroom end up doing better in the classroom than those who do not. There are a variety of ways to get involved listed in this section. These co-curricular activities provide opportunities for learning new skills and communicating effectively with other people.

Student Center and Activities
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 206 | 214-768-4400 |

Student Center and Activities’ mission is to create experiences and spaces that encourage students to discover their interests and find a sense of belonging. Joining a student organization is one of the easiest ways for your student to connect with the SMU community! There is a student organization for every interest or passion, and if there is not one, your student can create their own! SMU360 is our online platform for all things student engagement. Additionally, Student Center and Activities is home to SMU leadership programs. Premier leadership programs include Crain Leadership Launch and Summit, Emerging Leaders and the Caswell Leadership Program.

Q. Should my student get involved on campus right away or wait until he or she gets into an academic routine?
A. Of course, all students are different, but research has shown that students who are engaged in campus life do better academically. The involvement can take many different forms – membership in a campus organization, becoming active in the Residential Commons, working a campus job, or doing research with a faculty member. One of the hallmarks of an SMU education is the combination of classroom and out of classroom experiences. We pride ourselves in preparing students not only with the tools to perform specific functions in a company or organization, but also the ability to work effectively with other people.

Signature events for your student to enjoy while at SMU:

  • SMU TRADITIONS: Family Weekend, Homecoming, Celebration of Lights, and Perunapalooza
  • BIG EVENTS: Carnivals, Movie Nights, Musicals and more
  • INVOLVEMENT EVENTS: A Night at the Club (August) & Join the Club (January)

Visit SMU360 for complete listing of over 200 student organizations at SMU for your student to become engaged in.


Fraternity and Sorority Life
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 206 | 214-768-4400 | | FSL Parent and Family Website

Fraternity and Sorority Life at SMU began in 1915. Over one hundred years later we support four governing councils and 26 chapters: 10 Interfraternity Council (IFC), 3 Multicultural Greek Council (MGC), 5 National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and 8 Panhellenic Council (NPC). Fraternities and Sororities are a unique student organization experience! SMU is a deferred recruitment campus, allowing students to connect first with the institution and focus on academic success.

IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER: It is recommended that if your student is interested in joining a fraternity or sorority, it should be one of the activities they participate in, but should never be the only organization with which they are involved.

INTERFRATERNITY COUNCIL – Alpha Epsilon Pi, Beta Theta Pi, Beta Upsilon Chi, Kappa Sigma, Phi Delta Theta, Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI), Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu
MULTICULTURAL GREEK COUNCIL – Kappa Delta Chi, Omega Delta Phi, Sigma Lambda Beta, Sigma Lambda Gamma
NATIONAL PAN-HELLENIC COUNCIL – Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta
PANHELLENIC COUNCIL – Alpha Chi Omega, Chi Omega, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Gamma Phi Beta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Pi Beta Phi


Hughes-Trigg Student Center (HTSC)
3140 Dyer St. Dallas, Texas 75205 | 214-768-4400 |

Current Building Hours
Monday - Thursday: 7:30 AM - 9:00 PM
Friday: 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday: 2:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Hours will vary on University holidays and when classes are not in session.

EAT AND SHOP. Stop by HTSC for a bite at the newly renovated “Mane Course” with offerings from Chick-fil-A and Panera! The Market on the main floor features a wide selection of your favorite items including natural and organic products in addition to acai bowls, sushi, and Starbucks coffee.

MAIL AND COPY CENTRAL. Located on the main level across from The Market, Mail and Copy Central offers a wide variety of copy, postal and shipping services for the SMU community. For more information, including how to address a letter or package to your student, visit the Mail and Copy Central website

Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 218 | 214-768-4580 |


As SMU strives to foster a diverse and inclusive environment that supports the development of “world changers,” the Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement (SCIE) develops and implements programs that create student learning through personal identity development and intercultural service-learning initiatives, leadership development programs, and diversity and social justice education programs. In addition, SCIE celebrates graduating seniors through a Multicultural Senior Celebration honoring graduates and their families.

Through community engagement programs, students, as well as the city of Dallas, benefit from newly established efforts focusing on community impact and non-profit participation through the Engage Dallas initiative. There are many organizations and events at SMU that are dedicated to serving the Dallas community.

Visit SCIE’s Community Engagement website to learn more about the service organizations and programs at SMU.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 218 | 214-768-4792 |\womenandlgbtcenter


The Women and LGBT Center empowers students to increase awareness and understanding of gender equality issues and gives voice for women and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community with hopes of eliminating barriers, diminishing prejudice, and creating a supportive climate for all.

A few of the programs offered through the Center include the AAUW Salary Negotiation Workshop: Start Smart, Elect Her, the LGBTQ Symposium and the 50+ year old Women’s Symposium. Student involvement opportunities include Feminist Equality Movement (FEM), LGBT Mentorship Program, the allies community group Spectrum, and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE). 

Visit the Women and LGBT Center website to view all the programs and resources offered.
Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports
214-768-3374 |


The Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports is the university’s 175,000 sq.ft. recreation center including basketball courts, indoor soccer court, racquetball/squash courts, indoor track, weight room, indoor pool, climbing wall, sand volleyball courts, classrooms, and 4 unique studios. SMU has one of the finest facilities in the area with two pools and classes at all times of the day lead by seasoned professionals! Campus recreation is more than just a facility, though, the department also coordinate intramural sports and advises club sports teams. Nearly half of the undergraduate population participates in either intramural or club sports!


The Dedman Center is also home to SMU’s spirit squads and the handling of SMU’s mascot, Peruna, which makes a perfect “next door neighbor” to the Mustang Band, known to all as the Hub of SMU Spirit. Outdoor Adventure, featuring recreational trips, outdoor equipment rental and the indoor climbing walls, is also housed in the Dedman Center which, incidentally, provides part-time jobs for over 300 students each year.

Students living in our Residential Commons find the cohesiveness and intimacy that comes from living in small communities, yet drawing on the cultural and challenging opportunities of a larger university and a vibrant city like Dallas. The Commons work together with their residents to promote a healthy spirit of allegiance always striving for that all-important sense of community on the Hilltop. Each Commons has its own traditions and meaningful activities that bond all residents. A Residential Community Director (RCD), a Faculty-in-Residence (FiR) and a variety of student leaders lead each Commons and provide support for students both in and out of the classroom.


Everyone has a commons affiliation!


First-year students are assigned to 1 of our 11 Residential Commons, and students are affiliated with this Commons throughout their years at SMU. Commuter students and transfer students not living on campus will automatically be affiliated with Boaz Commons or Ware Commons, respectively.

Residential Commons Crests

To learn more about each of the Commons, visit the Residential Commons website.
Hughes-Trigg Student Center Suite 208 | 214-768-4502 |


The Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life promotes moral and ethical leadership development. They also provide pastoral care and hospitality for SMU’s religiously diverse community. The Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life contributes to a transformative university experience by encouraging the pursuit of goodness with all students, faculty, staff, and administration. A vibrant Chapel service, Wednesday Worship, is hosted weekly at Noon for students, faculty, and staff., and the office oversees multiple campus ministries for many different faiths represented at SMU. Through the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life, the Cooper McElvaney Peace and Justice Fellowships and the Faith and Learning Scholarships provide unique opportunities for students to receive financial support for research-based projects or service as well as ongoing readings, reflection and small group interaction with faculty.

Visit the Chaplain and Religious Life website to learn more about the ministries, and programs offered at SMU. 
A legacy of spirit, tradition and pride...


The way we welcome new Mustangs, the way we celebrate our most important times of the year, and the way we let loose and have a blast – it's all part of what's so great about SMU. We're big on tradition and spirit here on the Hilltop, and we take a lot of pride in our community and the rich, century-long history the University has built.

Each of the milestones throughout the year is marked with its own special festivities. From the hectic bustle of Move-in Day and your student’s first introduction to their fellow classmates during Stampede, to the excitement of Boulevarding on game day, the joy of Celebration of Lights, to the hopefulness of Commencement, the Hilltop's legacy of spirit, tradition and pride shines as bright as the Texas sun in the Dallas sky.

From your first Family Weekend to your fiftieth Homecoming game, you're always a part of the Mustang family.


Why the "Hilltop?" Dallas may be pretty flat compared to plenty of other areas in the country. However, more than a century ago, when our founders set out to find the place to lay the cornerstone of Dallas Hall, they chose the highest point on campus. The founders chose this spot so one could look out upon our beautiful city, toward downtown and the prosperous future that was to come. From there, the nickname of the "the Hilltop" was born, and it's the name by which we still refer to our tree-lines, 237-acre campus in the heart of one of the nation's economic and culture powerhouses, Dallas, Texas.

Hail to the Red and the Blue...we're the Mustangs of SMU! They're not just the words of our fight song, the Pony Battle Cry, but also the colors to which we remain loyal and true. If you want to get technical, they're known as PMS 186 and 286, but we just call them SMU Red and SMU Blue. Today's colors are actually variations on those chosen by SMU's first president, Robert S. Hyer which were Harvard Crimson and Yale Blue.

Veritas Liberabit Vos is the SMU motto, translated from Latin means "The truth will make you free." Chosen by SMU's first president, it was adopted in 1912 and has been featured in several prominent locations across campus and incorporated into traditional symbols, such as the Official SMU Seal, which is cast into the rotunda floor of SMU's first building, Dallas Hall.

A Mascot with a Kick. SMU's mascot is a lively black stallion Shetland pony, named Peruna after a lively Prohibition-era tonic that was said to pack quite a "kick." Since 1932, the SMU Mustangs have been proudly represented by the spirited, feisty Peruna I (the original) through the current Peruna IX. When not appearing at Mustang events, Peruna runs free in a super top-secret location, even unknown to his loyal, energetic Peruna Handlers.

The SMU Alma Mater, written by an SMU theology student in 1916 and set to words by SMU's first band director in 1929, Varsity has been proudly sung at University events from Opening Convocation to Commencement to sporting events ever since.

Setting goals and achieving those goals are important to the college experience, as are opportunities to develop self-esteem, a genuine respect for others, and building confidence through the mastery of scholarly materials and ever-changing circumstances. Helping students realize their full potential upon graduation is all part of the SMU experience. We want to celebrate with you and your students as they grow and develop during their college years. We know that there will be the inevitable “ups and downs” that go along with anyone’s college experiences, and SMU is fully prepared to support your student through both the good times and the tough times. Building resilience during the college years may be one of their best “take-aways” on this journey to find their passion. We care about students, we understand students, and we believe students are what makes SMU such a great place!

There are a number of theory-based models that student affairs professionals at Southern Methodist University use to explain developmental issues faced by undergraduates studying in colleges and universities today. Arthur Chickering’s and Linda Reisser’s 1993 work entitled Education and Identity focuses on developmental tasks, or vectors as they call them, and has been widely used and applied by theorists for the past twenty-five years. Their theory proposes that college students experience seven levels of development and growth during their college years and beyond. The vectors are experienced at different times and at different levels, but are all part of the growth process that takes place on the college campus through the classroom and out-of-classroom activities in which students participate.

Chickering’s and Reisser’s vectors are as follows:

  • Developing Confidence:
    Through certain skills attained, the student learns to cope effectively to meet intellectual and personal challenges.
  • Moving Through Autonomy Toward Independence:
    The capacity to carry on life activities and solve problems without constant reassurance, assistance, and external approval.
  • Managing Emotions:
    Awareness of and appropriate control of diverse emotional responses.
  • Establishing Identity:
    Realizing an accurate understanding of self as well as a positive, stable self-image.
  • Developing Mature Interpersonal Relationships:
    The ability to develop safe, healthy, and long-lasting relationships.
  • Developing Purpose:
    Clarifying and developing plans to reach educational, career, and life goals.
  • Developing Integrity:
    Articulating personal values and creating a consistent belief system.

As Chickering and Reisser say in the book, “It should be recognized that students are entering college at different levels of competence in addressing the tasks associated with these vectors. In addition to one’s competency level, the priorities attached to these tasks by students and their parents may be influenced by the immediacy of challenges and opportunities presented to the student as well as the interests of the student. Finally, it is important to recognize that students may be simultaneously expending energy on a variety of vectors but at different levels of intensity.”

As your student prepares to come to SMU, and once they are here, parents and families often go through some adjustments and transitions themselves. With that in mind, the following suggestions have been compiled to help make your student’s experiences in college smooth and healthy.

LISTEN. Allow your student to share expectations and feelings about all the experiences college will or is providing. Encourage your student to share both concerns and excitement openly with you by reserving judgment.

INQUIRE. Your student may be hesitant to share fears or certain experiences during the first year of college, or during the later years as well. It is important to ask your student about those subjects that may be uncomfortable to discuss. You may easily ask about academics, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask about other aspects of college life. Inquire about the relationships your student is developing, their weekend activities and the choices they are making concerning alcohol and other drugs. Your student may not share everything with you, but it will help to know that you are willing to discuss these and other topics if the need arises.

SUPPORT. Although they may not always say it, most students need parental support, and studies show that parents continue to have influence on their college-aged students. Let your student know that you have confidence in their abilities. If your student knows that you believe they will be academically and socially successful in college, it will greatly enhance your student’s self-confidence. Email, cards, phone calls, and care packages are great ways to stay connected. 

SUGGEST. Learn about the resources available at SMU. Regardless of the problem your student may be facing, there is someone on campus that can help. It is important for students to begin to solve problems for themselves, but sometimes they need a little nudge in the right direction.

SHARE. Share your thoughts and feelings about the experiences your student will have in college. Share expectations you may have about your student’s behavior and academic performance. This is best done before he or she leaves for college because it can help prevent problems in the future.

ACCEPT. College is a time of change for many students. Your student will continue to develop opinions and thoughts on a variety of topics. Accept your student’s emerging independence. Your student may choose a major different from the one you recommended or may adopt political views that differ from your own. Engaging in constructive conversations about areas where your opinions may differ will strengthen your relationship, rather than weaken it.

UNDERSTAND. Understand that everyone makes mistakes. Your student may certainly make a few wrong steps during the college years. Over-reacting to these situations may push your student away and discourage them from sharing with you in the future. By reacting calmly to adverse situations and supporting your student through any early pitfalls as they are held responsible for choices they make, you will set a good precedent for communication throughout their college career.

Used with permission from the Center for the Advancement of Public Health, School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, George Mason University “Healthy Expectations Project.”


Transitions Students Make

The Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) is a great resource for students as well as parents and families when making transitions throughout their time at SMU. Take a look at the Transitioning to Life at SMU page for tips that might spark important conversations you can have with your student as they go throughout their college career. The page is geared toward first year and transfer students, but the information can hold true for all students.

Refer to the following tips to help you partner with your student to ensure a successful academic SMU experience:

  1. Deadlines are strictly enforced. It will be useful for you and your student to know the deadlines to:
    A) enroll for a term
    B) add courses without financial penalty
    C) drop courses with a full refund
    D) take a course as Pass/Fail or Credit/No credit
    E) drop a course with a non-punitive W
    F) withdraw from the University with W’s
    G) file for graduation

    Deadlines can be found on the Academic Calendar.

  2. Ask your student to update their Emergency Contact information in my.SMU and provide a cell phone number. SMU has a state-of-the-art emergency notification system that can be effective only if the necessary and most current information is on file.
  3. Parents of first and second-year student, ask your student if they received an Early Term Deficiency Report (sent out about the 4th week of classes) or a Mid-Term Deficiency Report (sent out about the 10th week of classes). If so, encourage a visit to their advisor to learn about resources on campus offering strategies to improve the deficiencies. The Althshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) is a good place to start!
  4. Pay close attention to the deadline to drop a course with a non-punitive W. Once this deadline passes, a student who is doing failing work may end up with a punitive grade of F. An F can severely damage your student’s GPA.
  5. SMU uses a 4.000 Grade Point Scale. GPA’s are truncated at three decimal places; example: a 3.4997687 becomes a 3.499.
  6. The Official Degree Honors cutoffs are announced each year in October. Cutoffs are determined by pooling all graduates from the previous three academic years and determining the GPAs that represent the top 5 percent, 10 percent, and 15 percent. First-year students can check this year’s cutoffs and have a good indication of the minimum GPA needed to graduate with honors.
  7. A minimum of 12 credit hours of enrollment per term is required for full-time status. Exceptions are made for students participating in Engineering Co-op and Student Teaching. For enrollment certifications, status is typically determined on the day of the certification. An undergraduate student who drops below 12 hours is no longer considered a full-time student and financial aid may be affected. Student may also take advantage of the policy that students are allowed to repeat up to six classes during their SMU career....they should use this opportunity to their advantage!
  8. Be sure your student takes advantage of their academic advisor! Advisors are seasoned professionals who know policies and procedures, degree plans, resources on campus, etc.
  9. SMU makes great efforts to protect the confidentiality of your student’s information. All students are issued an SMU ID number and password that they will use to access their information and to make transactions. The ID number is not confidential but like any account number it should be handled carefully. The SMU Password should be kept strictly confidential and never disclosed to anyone, not even a parent.
  10. At SMU, it is comparatively easy to earn additional majors, minors and degrees. Often, just a few courses are all that are needed. Have your student check with their advisor.

“Families are Our Partners” and just as we stress the importance of involvement to your student, we encourage parents and family members participation as well, regardless of whether you live near or far! First, we ask you to partner with us to encourage student success both in and out of the classroom. Secondly, we invite you to be an active participant in our parent-focused organizations. The SMU Mothers’ & Dads’ Clubs stay busy providing weekly newsletters and sponsoring activities for parents and families during Family Weekend and football game Boulevards. A Multicultural Family Network supports students’ unique needs and outreach as well. The Parent Leadership Council is another organization that plays a vital role by strengthening ties between the University and parents by increasing gifts to the SMU Parent Fund. Parent volunteers are also recruited each year to host and attend events in their communities.


September 29th and September 30th 

SMU vs.  UNC - Charlotte, Saturday, September 30th

Student Foundation Family Weekend Website

Advice From One Parent to Another
  • Attend Family Weekend
  • Make sure that your address and contact information are updated and correct with the university by sending an e-mail to
  • Make sure that your student gets a flu shot that will be offered in the Fall through the SMU Health Center.
  • Encourage your student to really get to know his/her Resident Assistant (RA) – that individual will be able to provide a wealth of resources and information.
  • Even though it may seem as though your student has tuned you out, continue to emphasize the importance of GOING TO CLASS.
  • Getting involved is a key element to students’ overall success at SMU. Encourage your student to find something in addition to academic work. The students who get involved have shown that they do better academically and are happier and more content.
  • SMU faculty members are incredible. Encourage your student to get to know his or her faculty members. If a faculty member offers to meet after class for a cup of coffee, they should JUMP on that opportunity. That is what this place is all about!
  • The A-LEC (Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center) is one of SMU’s greatest academic resources…but only if it is utilized!
  • Students will miss out on some of the greatest opportunities at SMU if they fail to READ…their SMU e-mails, the SMU Campus Weekly, flyers on bulletin boards, banners in Hughes-Trigg, stake signs in the Main Quad, etc.
  • If it is a possibility for your family, students should consider one of SMU’s Education Abroad programs or SMU-in-Taos. It can be a life-changing experience.
  • What is put on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or online should be something that students would want their grandmother to read.
  • Eat… sleep…exercise. When our student does these things, the world is a much better place.
  • Students should live on campus for as long as they can. Living on campus makes it easier for students to stay engaged in the life of the university.



Q. What is our role as parents and family members in our student’s college education?  
A. The University’s challenge is getting students to use the services, to participate in the programs and activities, and to take proactive measures on their own behalf. Parents and family members can help by being informed about the programs, services, and activities SMU offers and encouraging your student to use them. It’s a student’s responsibility to seek out services they need and take advantage of all the opportunities here. We need parents and family members to help in this regard.

Q. What can parents and families do to help their student if they are having difficulty? 
A. One of the best things families can do for their students, whether it’s homesickness, academic problems or roommate difficulties, is to ask them, “What are you doing to resolve the situation?” and to encourage them to try to handle it. Learning to do this builds self-confidence and is an important part of learning the skills one needs to be an adult. Another way parents and families can support students is to contact the staff in Student Support, Advocacy, and Accountability for assistance. We understand that college can be a challenging time for students and that they may not always know who or where to turn for help. Caring Community Connections, a program that operates through the Office of Student Support, addresses concerns by identifying and linking students to appropriate resources. Parents and families can utilize this program and support the University’s efforts in helping students take responsibility for resolving any concerns. We know that parents and families want to support students in their growth and development, and this is the goal of the University as well. We look forward to this partnership on behalf of our students.

Moms and Dads Clubs Logo


MOTHERS’ AND DADS’ CLUBS…Celebrating 97 years of supporting students and families on the SMU campus!


On behalf of the SMU Mothers' and Dads' Clubs, it is our pleasure to welcome you as new or returning members of the SMU family!

2023 marks the 97th year that the SMU Mothers' Club has had the privilege of serving the students and parents of the SMU community. The SMU Dads' Club has a long-standing tradition of involvement as well. Our goal is to foster a spirit of community on the Hilltop, serving as a link between parents, families, and the University. We provide support for students, families, faculty and staff and promote parent and family involvement. Through annual events and by serving as goodwill ambassadors, the Mothers' and Dads' Clubs strive to make everyone feel at home at SMU.

Your membership enables us to provide ongoing communication between parents, to support our endowed scholarship funds, and to sponsor important activities benefitting students and their families throughout the year.

What the SMU Mothers' and Dads' Clubs do to support students and parents:

  • Email Updates
  • Thirst Aid Stations and Move-in (August)
  • Mustang Cookout (August)
  • Boulevard Tents at all home football games
  • Mothers' Club Tea
  • Family Weekend Welcome Reception and BLVD Tent
  • Annual Gift Campaign Student Organization Interviews/Funding
  • HEGI Center Career Fairs (September/February)
  • Lyle Engineering Career Fairs (September/February)
  • Socials (Fall and Spring events)
  • Selection/Recognition of SMU’s Outstanding Seniors
  • Spring Gift Campaign Supporting Student Initiatives
  • Campus Food Pantry Funding & Volunteers
  • Campus Initiatives – Intramural Scoreboards, Peruna Plaza, Benches for Laura Bush Plaza
  • Furniture for Veterans Center, Hegi Career Ctr Waiting Room, Caswell Endowment Lead Gift
  • Ongoing support for the Student Emergency Fund
  • Annual donations to Mothers’ & Dads’ Clubs Endowed Scholarship Funds
  • Spirit of Peruna statue in All-Purpose Center (APC)

All made possible through your membership support!




You support us so we can support students and their families…
Yearly Activities & Involvement! Whether you live near or far…

Join Today!