Congratulations on your choice to join our academic community. It may seem trite, but it is true and merits noting: If you play your cards right, your time at SMU can be among the best years of your life and the springboard to things imagined and currently unknown. Playing those cards right, though, requires a great deal from you. You are no longer in high school, and the academic transition you are about to make will require you to bear down, refocus, and rededicate yourself to your studies.
You have been accepted to SMU, but you are a high school student taking a first step. It is on you to learn to be a college student. To do this successfully, you need to understand the surface differences between high school and college and know the expectations your faculty have for you.
Superficially, the classroom part of college looks a lot like high school. Though you arent scheduled all day, you go to a specific room on a regular basis and listen to and occasionally discuss with a teacher. However, beneath the surface similarities swim the sharks of academic distress.
SMU will open an enormous range of opportunities to you; the onus, though, is on you to take advantage of them. In a very real sense, you now are responsible for constructing your academic life for yourself. The professors with whom you take your class work have expectations for you that may be different from those you've experienced before.
To have academic success in college, and to keep the vistas of your evolving life as broad as you want them to be, you need to take the skills you practiced successfully as a high school student and build on them to become a successful college student. This process – reinventing yourself as a college student – needs to be done over the course of your first year of studies, and you need to start on it now.
SMU provides abundant sources of academic support, from the regular meetings with your Academic Adviser, to the Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center, to the Central University Library System, to your professors and peers. The responsibility for your education, however, rests ultimately on you. Two, three, or four years after you step on campus for the first time, it is too late in the day to begin to seize that responsibility. Hit the ground running: use AARO, Academic Advisers, Mustang Corral, and the facilities we provide to you to begin your college career in a way that will allow you to end it in the manner you wish.
Academics are central to why you are here ... who we think you are ... and who you want to be. You have four years. Make the most of them. We will give you a tremendous amount of support, but you have to take advantage of it. We expect you to do so. Now your success is on you.