Smart Start @ GSU: Get Started and Get Ahead

What is Smart Start?

Smart Start is a highly individualized program with personal attention of faculty and peer mentors in an intensive and nurturing environment that begins two weeks ahead of the fall semester. Smart Start students have an excellent opportunity to strengthen their academic skills, develop a peer support network and to familiarize themselves with GSU and its resources.

Smart Start students are enrolled in an English program and/or a mathematics program. Smart Start students who are enrolled in both English and math programs will also be enrolled in a Mastering College course. The English and mathematics programs are designed to provide essential academic preparation in support of coursework that will begin in the first year at GSU. Smart Start students are assigned an academic advisor who will serve as their permanent guide during their first year at GSU providing direction on course selection, academic success, and progress toward college goals.

When is Smart Start?

Smart Start for freshmen students admitted in Spring, 2018 begins on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 and will conclude on Friday, January 12, 2018.

Smart Start for freshmen students admitted for Fall, 2018 begins on Monday, August 13, 2018 and concludes on Friday, August 24, 2018 with the annual GSU Convocation.

There are optional activities (fun!) activities planned throughout Smart Start. These activities are free for Smart Start students.

Can I work while participating in Smart Start?

Class activities with faculty and peer mentors, supplemental assistance from tutors, doing assigned homework and attending social events will keep students on campus all day Monday-Friday. Evenings will provide time for homework and social activity. To successfully complete Smart Start, and meet your admissions requirements, students will find it tremendously challenging to balance work amongst the academic requirements and other responsibilities of Smart Start.

How was I selected for participation?

Faculty selected students who had a combination of GPA, ACT scores and/or high school grades that suggested Smart Start would serve as the perfect way to get started in college. While some participants are required to participate, the opportunity is open to any interested incoming freshman student.

How will I know if I am selected for Smart Start?

The student’s letter of admission will state if a student has been selected to participate in the Smart Start program.

How much does Smart Start cost?

There is no tuition or course fee associated with the mathematics and English Smart Start program. The required Mastering College course is one credit hour that is a part of the student’s fall semester registration; so, there is a cost associated with that course. There will be expenses related to the purchase of books, supplies and daily costs for dining on campus. 

Can I live in Prairie Place (GSUs Residence Hall) during Smart Start?

Yes. Students interested in extending their contract to move into their residence hall room for Smart Start should contact University Housing at or 708.235.7110. 


Is participation in Smart Start mandatory?

Yes. If selected to participate in Smart Start, students are required to successfully complete the program. However, students are encouraged to complete placement assessments. These assessments are NOT tests. They are ways for students to showcase their proficiency in math and/or writing. If students score at certain levels on the assessment(s), they will no longer be required to attend Smart Start.

Students who are enrolled in Smart Start math are invited to illustrate their proficiency in math by completing the ALEKS placement assessment. Smart Start math students will take ALEKS during ROAR New Student Orientation. Students may take ALEKS up to 5 times before August 3, 2018.

Students who are enrolled in Smart Start English are invited to illustrate their proficiency in writing by taking a writing assessment on Blackboard. Smart Start English students will attend a preparation session for the writing assessment during ROAR New Student Orientation. Since students may only take the writing assessment once, they are encouraged to postpone taking the writing assessment until after they attend ROAR.

When do fall semester classes begin?

Fall semester classes begin on Monday, August 27, 2018.

What happens if I don't complete the Smart Start requirements?

Successful completion of Smart Start is expected and part of a student’s admission to Governors State University, for that reason Smart Start is a graded experience earning a passing or failing grade. In the event a student earns a failing grade, they will begin the fall semester on academic warning and will be required to participate in an ACHIEVE program sponsored by the Academic Resource Center in order to continue their enrollment in their fall courses.

Also, if a Smart Start math or Smart Start English student does not pass the program, they will be enrolled into the Mastering College course. 

Please note: Admission to GSU may be rescinded if a student fails to show up for Smart Start or does not participate in the majority of classes.