Smart Start Program

Smart Start Participation Criteria

The Smart Start program uses a high-touch model of tracking, communication, and support for student participants. In order for students to participate in the Smart Start Program, students must meet all “seven” of the following criteria listed below:

  • You must be first, in your immediate family, to attend and graduate from a four-year university.
  • You must be eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant award, or demonstrate a financial hardship.
  • You must demonstrate at least moderate to high need for academic support during the admission/matriculation process.
  • You must submit a completed Smart Start Participation Agreement by the 10thday of Classes in the Fall.
  • You must successfully complete a Smart Start Workshop 101 session by the 10th day of classes in the Fall.
  • You must receive a satisfactory rating for meeting (SSP) Core Values Expectations at the end of the Fall semester.
  • You must maintain good standing with the Washington State University, Office of Student Standards and Accountability Office.  

NOTE: In the event a student does not meet “all” criteria, a student may be nominated by both a WSU academic advisor and student affairs representative, and will be considered based upon space availability. In addition, consideration will be made for those students demonstrating extreme academic hardship, and a need for intervention, remediation, and/or academic enrichment. Students may be asked to submit a personal statement, if further clarification is needed. Contact the Smart Start administration director, Stephen Bischoff, for more information at  

Smart Start Application Process

We require a three-part process involving the following:

1.   Complete the Interest Form here:  /future-students/

2.   Sign up for “one” of the Smart Start 101 Workshops here:/smart-start-101-workshop/

3.   Attend the Fall Smart Start Retreat, to be held the weekend of September 6th-7th ….. sign-ups will be held during the Smart Start 101 Workshops.

Smart Start Retreat - Purpose

The Smart Start Retreat serves as the “Corner Stone” in the building and implementation of the Smart Start program & community, every year! The process of trust, rapport, and the shared responsibility of student-success amongst all members of the Smart Start community comes into fruition through this foundational event. The Smart Start Retreat is conducted over a 24-hour period, including a one-night stay at a local retreat site. We anticipate staff and students will establish strong working relationships, that will impact the academic success of all students, in a special way. Participants will hear from guest speakers, take part in team-building exercises, and have fun learning new things and meeting new people!

Services Offered

Smart Start Workshop 101 – Purpose

The Smart Start 101 Workshops are designed to completely acquaint new participants with the teaching, counseling, and learning framework of the Smart Start Program. New members will have a chance to have all their questions answered, meet peers and staff, as well as complete important paperwork concerning participation expectations and scholarship contract. Students will also learn about all academic enrichment, support, and resources offered through Smart Start programming.