Supporting students during final exams

With the end of the fall term quickly approaching, Deanie Kepler, the Director of Parent and Family Programs, and Christi Contreras, the Director of Parent Giving, share information from SMU resources about ways to support students during final exams and as they prepare for the spring semester:

Learning specialists at SMU’s Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center (A-LEC) encourage students to develop a plan for the end of the term, including setting realistic short-term goals, creating a daily study schedule, using library resources and meeting with professors during office hours.

If parents would like to show support for students during exams, the A-LEC suggests sending encouraging messages and a reminder of your student’s strengths and past successes. At the A-LEC, students can obtain free tutoring, take workshops and review essays with English faculty members.

Winter break is a good time to plan for learning experiences beyond the classroom, such as Engaged Learning projects, internships through the Hegi Family Career Development Center and SMU Abroad programs. The winter and summer breaks also offer opportunities to earn credits through SMU JanTerm, MayTerm and other Summer Studies courses, both on the main Dallas campus and at SMU-in-Taos. The University Advising Center can help students plan ahead.

Find more information from campus resources below:

At SMU Counseling Services, students can obtain confidential help with stress and other concerns. Dr. Cathey Soutter, director of SMU Counseling Services, encourages parents to be aware of signs of depression or other emotional problems, and to remind students of counseling resources. For students who are able to come home, winter break allows families time to observe any changes in appearance or behavior that may indicate a health issue.

Two serious health and safety issues on campuses across the country are sexual misconduct, particularly among acquaintances, and alcohol and substance abuse. On SMU’s health and safety website – – you can find information about SMU policies, campus and community resources, education and prevention. All students are expected to “live responsibly,” upholding high standards of behavior and respecting the rights of others.

Parents may be aware that at SMU this fall, students and others have been engaged in discussions about instances of racial insensitivity and intolerance within our community. Two letters from President R. Gerald Turner regarding these incidents and SMU’s commitment to diversity are posted online, here and here. The Office of the Dean of Student Life (214-768-4564) and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (214-768-4580) are among the resources that can address questions and concerns.

We’d like parents also to be aware of the Dean of Student’s “Caring Community Connections,” a system for faculty, staff, students and family members to provide confidential information in order to support students who may need help. A form is online at Please check with your student that his or her emergency contact information is kept up to date in

Finally, parents are asked to please remind your student to get a free flu shot at the Student Health Center if he or she has not yet done so.

If you have any questions, please contact Deanie Kepler, direct of Parent and Family Programs, at 214-768-4797 or

Academic Resources

Altshuler Learning Enhancement Center

University Advising Center

General Resources

Parent and Family Programs

Office of the Dean of Student Life

Chaplain’s Office

Residence Life and Student Housing

Health and Safety

Student Health Center

Counseling Services
(services include confidential counseling and substance abuse counseling)

Office of Institutional Access and Equity
Title IX Coordinator
(for support with internal grievance reporting regarding sexual misconduct)

SMU Police

Caring Community Connections
(to share concerns about students)