SMART Program Frequently Asked Questions

About the Program and Eligibility

1. What is the purpose of the SMART Program?

The purpose of the SMART program is to expose students who are underrepresented in higher education to graduate education. The program offers participants an in-depth research experience with a faculty mentor, and workshops that prepare them for graduate school.

2. What groups are considered underrepresented in science?

The SMART program receives federal funding and the federal government defines underrepresented minorities as African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. SMART is open to all applicants, but the program is intended for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, including students from any race or ethnicity who are disabled, among the first generation in their families to attend college and are Pell grant eligible, or have overcome extraordinary challenges.

3. Is the program open to international students?

No, students must be US citizens or permanent residents. Proof of citizenship or permanent residency is required by Colorado state law in order to receive payments.

4. I am currently a first year undergraduate, but I came to college with enough AP credits that I will finish this year with over 60 hours of credit. Am I eligible to apply to SMART?

Regardless of AP credits, SMART participants must have completed two years of college and be at least 18 years of age. We encourage first year undergraduates to apply the following year. It is important for students to have sufficient coursework in their areas of interest.

5. I’ve already earned a bachelor’s degree but I am pursuing another bachelor’s degree in a STEM field. Am I still eligible?

As long as you are considered an undergraduate degree-seeking student, meaning that you're not just taking courses you need as pre-requisites, but are actually earning a STEM bachelor's degree, then you can apply. Please e-mail if you have further questions about this.

6. I am graduating the December after the SMART program, am I still eligible?

Yes, students graduating in December after the program may participate. Students graduating in August, immediately at the end of the program, or in May, before the program, are ineligible.

7. I understand that in order to be eligible as a first-generation student I will need to submit the FAFSA upon applying. Since the application is due before my family or I can have this year’s taxes completed, would the previous year’s taxes be acceptable?

Yes, please submit your previous year’s FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR).

8. My school is on the quarter system and will not be done with finals until after the second week of June. Can I still participate in the program?

A late start due to your academic schedule will not affect the way in which your application is reviewed; students on the quarter system participate every year. If accepted, your participation will be individually accommodated.

Application Information

9. There is only one way to apply to the SMART Program in 2018: through the Leadership Alliance SR-EIP. The deadline for the SR-EIP registration and application is February 1st. More information here.


Application Completion/Decision Notification

10. When will I be notified of admissions decision?

The application review will begin in March and may extend until mid-April. Faculty members that volunteer to mentor SMART students individually select their students, and this happens on a rolling basis. Once a decision is made, the applicant is contacted by email.

Please note that an acquaintance of yours may receive an offer of admission weeks before you do. This does not mean that your acquaintance is more highly qualified than you; it means that a faculty member reviewing that application responded sooner than a faculty member reading your application. Applications often get passed around. A faculty member may review your application and see a good fit between you and another faculty member. Because faculty members individually select participants, the matches are typically highly successful.

If you have accepted an offer for a placement in another program, please let us know so that we can remove your application from those being circulated.

11. Will you send an email only if I am accepted?

No, you will receive an email if you are offered or denied admission. You might also receive an email indicating that you are on a waiting list, and you will be asked if you wish to remain on this list. There is no rank order placement on the waiting list; as openings arise in one department, only students from that department are considered. Several students are admitted from the wait list each year.

Post-Acceptance Questions

12. Where will SMART participants live?

Students will live in a residence hall on the Boulder campus.

113. How is the travel arranged? Do I make my own flight reservation and then get reimbursed? How will I get from the airport in Denver to the Boulder campus?

The SMART program handles all logistics for participants, and travel arrangements will be made based upon airport and time preference information they provide.

Students will be met by graduate student peer mentors at Denver International Airport and delivered to the campus residence hall in University vans.

14. Will I need a car in Boulder?

No. Boulder has an excellent public transportation system, and you will receive a bus pass that will enable you to ride for free in Boulder and Denver metro area.

If you choose to bring a car, you will have to purchase a campus parking permit for the 10 weeks at your own expense. tudents will live in a residence hall on the Boulder campus.

15. Should I bring or ship a bicycle?

Boulder is a city full of enthusiastic cyclists and bicycle routes! CU-Boulder has a bicycle program that allows students, staff, and faculty to check out bicycles and use them for free. You can check out a bicycle for a week, or rent one for the entire summer for $30. The bicycles include locks, but not helmets. Be sure to bring a helmet!