Student Success & Retention

The first cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program graduated this spring

To help more students graduate from SMU within six years, University Decision Support, academic advisors, and school record offices partnered with the Office of Student Success and Retention (SSR) to identify undergraduate students who have left SMU close to graduation based on credit hours but have not graduated from another university. Branded as Crossing the Finish Line, the new program sought to re-engage students to complete their SMU degree.  

Once identified, SSR invited select students to participate in a cohort who received academic and financial support to complete their undergraduate degrees at SMU. During the Spring of 2023, 2 out of the 11 students that received invitations from SSR decided to return to SMU and complete their degrees. Both students in the first cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program graduated in May. 

SSR Success Counselor Ivy Phillips closely monitored these students’ academic progress throughout the semester. Additionally, Phillips met with them every two weeks to check in and address any student issues or concerns.  

Thanks to the Crossing the Finish Line program, one student earned her degree and received a job offer from her dream company. She began working for the company in May. Another student shared: 

I can whole-heartedly say that Ivy played a massive role in my success in completing my final semester. She helped me set deadlines, schedule out time to complete my assignments amidst my busy work schedule, monitored my grades, and also urged me to get involved with SMU’s student and career/ financial literacy programs… Ivy, alongside the wonderful Janet Stephens and my Meadows professors, all gave me the push I needed to finally get this degree done. Couldn’t have done it without them!”

The SSR team is currently identifying and inviting students to join the second cohort of the Crossing the Finish Line program. We look forward to re-engaging more students and helping them cross the finish line of graduation!