About the Program and Eligibility

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.

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.

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.

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. Students must have sufficient coursework in their areas of interest to be competitive.

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 smart@colorado.edu if you have further questions about this.

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.

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

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.

Application Completion/Decision Notification

When will I be notified of admissions decision?

The application review will begin in February and will extend through March. 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.

Will you send an email only if I am accepted?

Yes. Ongoing status for all applications can be viewed through your SR-EIP portal.

Post-Acceptance Questions

Where will SMART participants live?

You will be living on the CU Boulder campus in a residence hall, and each of you will be assigned to a double room. You will be provided with a bed, closet space, drawers, study desk, bookshelf, micro-fridge, fan and lamp. Bedding (linens, blanket and pillow) and towels ARE NOT provided.  Laundry facilities are located in the building.  The entire campus has Internet access.

Your meals will be served at a premium dining hall on the CU campus, offering 3 meals a day Monday through Friday and 2 meals on Saturdays and Sundays. Vegetarian and vegan selections are available at every meal, and a salad bar is always available for lunch and dinner. All prepared foods are labeled so that diners can avoid restricted ingredients. If you have severe dining restrictions, please let us know BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL.

The residence hall is centrally located on campus. It is within walking distance to “the Hill,” an area of Boulder with restaurants, coffeehouses and boutiques that cater to the student population. The residence hall is also within walking distance or a short bus ride to downtown Boulder. Local and regional (to Denver) bus lines run within a block of most areas of the campus, and your student bus pass allows free access.

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 will purchase airline tickets for students living outside of Colorado. Once you accept our offer, we will provide a Google doc where we can collect your preferences for travel on Sunday, June 3rd, and Friday, August 10th (accommodations will be made for students on the quarter system). Out-of-state students who plan to drive to Boulder will be reimbursed for the equivalent cost of an airline ticket. Students who drive are responsible for purchasing a campus parking permit. If you plan to drive to Boulder, please let us know your expected arrival time. If you need directions to the university, please contact us. We ask that all SMART interns check into the residence hall by the evening of Sunday, June 3rd.  

SMART graduate student mentors will pick up students at Denver International Airport and bring them to the CU residence hall. The SMART program will provide ground transportation back to the airport on Friday morning, August 10th. 

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.

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!

What is Boulder like?

The City of Boulder, home to about 100,000 residents, lies in a valley against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  The average summer temperature reaches 80 to 90 degrees during the day, but it tends to cool off most nights. It can get as hot as 100 degrees, but the low humidity makes it bearable. If you are coming from a humid climate, you may need to drink lots of water as you get used to the arid climate.

Boulder’s elevation is 5,430 feet above sea level. Those of you coming from sea level may feel tired during your first few days here as you adapt to the high altitude.  Our advice is to take it easy, drink water, and avoid alcohol. Because of the high altitude, the sunshine can also be very intense.  Even if you’re not prone to sunburn, you may need to use sunscreen in Colorado.

The nearest big city is Denver, which is approximately 30 miles from Boulder. The art museum, natural science museum, zoo, and the Colorado Rockies baseball stadium are easily accessible by bus.


What are the academic expectations?

The SMART program introduces undergraduates to research and graduate education. Each of you will be working in a lab under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and alongside graduate and other undergraduate students.  You are expected to work full-time while you’re here, and you may not participate in any other academic or work-related activity, such as attending classes or holding a part-time job. While working in the lab, we ask that you respect lab member and your faculty mentor and use the time wisely. Using cell phones, text messaging services and online social networking sites (i.e. Facebook is strongly) discouraged, if not forbidden in the lab!

Student schedules vary, and it will be up to you and your mentor to determine when you need to be in the lab or elsewhere. While most students follow a regular workday schedule, others must plan around the nature of the research. Students engaged in field work will likely have different schedules.

In addition to your research, you will be required to actively participate in weekly workshops throughout the summer. Workshops will focus on scientific writing, oral and poster presentations, GRE preparation, and the application process for graduate school. There will also be one evening group meeting each week for both graduate student staff and students.

You will be registered for 1 hour of independent study credit, and will earn a letter grade for your efforts.  Your faculty mentor will assign your grade.  At the end of the summer, your credit and letter grade will be sent to your home institution.

Is there a program orientation?

Yes!  There will be a mandatory program orientation held on Monday, June 4th at 9:00 am. The location will be included in the information materials that you will receive when you arrive. The orientation will provide an overview of the program and an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

What else?

Your CU student ID (aka “BuffOne Card”) will allow you access to libraries, computer labs, student health services, and the recreation center on campus. Your BuffOne Card will also allow you to ride the city and regional (to Denver) buses for free.

Boulder offers many recreational opportunities.  If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the recreation center has camping and other equipment that you can rent for a small fee. The rec. center also has a great swimming pool, racquetball and squash courts, weight rooms, saunas, and an ice rink--and most equipment (such as racquets and balls) can be checked out at no cost.

What about whitewater rafting?

Whitewater rafting? This is an ACADEMIC internship! Well, OK, we’ll have some fun, too.  We’ve arranged a day-long whitewater rafting trip on the Arkansas River through Brown's Canyon for late June (near the town of Buena Vista, if you want to pull out your atlas). We’ll have some other field trips, too, including Rocky Mountain National Park. You’ll get the chance to see some of “Colorful Colorado” while you’re here.

What about all of my other questions?

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, please don't hesitate to contact us. We want you to be as prepared as possible for the summer ahead.  You can call us or email us at smart@colorado.edu.  

See you soon!

Barbara Kraus (303) 492-5779
Kristin Lopez (303)-735-1706
Amahl Turczyn (303-492-4607)
SMART 2018