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. 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 Fall 2020 begins on Monday, August 17, 2020 and concludes on Friday, August 28, 2020. Smart Start will be entirely remote for Fall 2020. 

How was I selected for participation?

Faculty selected students who had a combination of GPA, SAT (or 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. There may 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. For Smart Start students, their contract time includes Smart Start participation, as such there is no additional cost for resident students to live in Prairie Place during Smart Start. For housing or move-in questions, please 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 required 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 Mathematics and illustrate their proficiency in math by completing the ALEKS placement assessment. Smart Start math students will take ALEKS during ROAR New Student Orientation.

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 31, 2020.

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 could begin the fall semester on academic warning and could be required to re-submit an application for continued admission in order to continue their enrollment in their fall courses.

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.