About College Now/START Program

College Now/ START Program

College Now/START

The College Now/START program helps students turn a dream of college into a reality. It's for those students who need a non-traditional route into college--students who are indeed able to do college work, but for various reasons, feel they aren't "college material." Perhaps they haven't done well academically, because of certain social or personal difficulties. Maybe they don't know about financial aid and believe they can't afford college. Maybe they've been discouraged by others about even applying to college.

Yet hundreds of students who once ruled out a college education for themselves are now UMass Dartmouth graduates, thanks to College Now/START. Through counseling, instruction, and individualized attention, the program helped them become admitted to UMass Dartmouth, and supported them through their time here.

College Now/START was there for these students--it can be there for you.

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What is College Now Program?

College Now is an alternative admissions program. It provides access to academically disadvantaged students and gives them strong support while they are enrolled. 

Those wishing to apply for admission to the College Now Program should indicate this on the UMass Dartmouth application form.  Applicants must have a minimum of a 2.0 high school GPA to be eligible for admissions.  Enrollment is limited, and the program is offered only to those entering the University in September. A personal interview and placement tests are required. Both are integral to the application process, and must be given special attention due to the limited enrollment. The interview and placements tests do not guarantee acceptance.  If an acceptance is offered, it is a "conditional acceptance."  This means that the student must complete the Fall Academic Program successfully in order to secure their matriculation into the University.

A special Fall Academic Program prepares students to perform to their fullest at the University. Counselors aid each student in goal-setting, course selection, academic achievement, and short- and long-range program planning.

College Now students are full-time students, with the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of other UMass Dartmouth students. Upon satisfactory completion of the fall academic program (maintaining a "C" average or higher in each class), they may become degree candidates and can major in the University's full range of academic programs. College Now students may require five years to complete the work for their baccalaureate degree unless they accelerate their progress by taking extra courses.

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Who is eligible for College Now Program?

The program is for any major, but students must meet certain eligibility criteria. Every applicant must live in Massachusetts, and be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident.

Applicants must satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • Be of low-income status (as defined by federal guidelines).
  • Be the first generation to complete a 4-year degree.

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What is START?

START (Steps Toward Abstract Reasoning and Thinking) is a program for students who are considering a calculus based major but who lack the necessary foundation at the beginning of their college careers. 

Women and students of color, as members of groups traditionally under-represented in the scientific and technical fields, such as engineering and computer information sciences, are especially encouraged to apply for START.

During the application process, some students are referred to the START program.  Applicants must have a minimum of a 2.0 high school GPA to be eligible for admissions.  Students are also required to complete the placement test and interview for an admission decision.

The four “steps” of START include:

  • a mathematic course which includes algebra through an introduction to calculus;
  • a laboratory-based science course that assists students in understanding, analyzing, and problem solving in chemistry and physics;
  •  a course that teaches effective reasoning and computer skills in the areas of math and science;
  •  counseling and tutoring aid which help students develop good study habits in demanding technical programs, and assists them in adjusting to University life.

At the end of the academic year, upon successful completion of the program (2.0 grade point average), the student continues at UMass Dartmouth.  Students who begin at the University in START can expect to spend five years pursuing a degree in a technical program unless they accelerate their progress by taking extra courses.

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Finding the "Master Student" in you through College Now/START

College Now/START students benefit from a special academic program and counseling that is aimed at insuring their success at UMass Dartmouth.

After being accepted, the students participate in a "skill-building" academic program during their first semester, and a freshman seminar that helps with topics such as time management, note-taking, and other study skills techniques.

Each student is also assigned a College Now/START counselor who can give answers and advice about all aspects of college life. The counselors help students determine, and reach, both their short-term and long-term goals. Peer counselors--other students--lend support and guidance to those in College Now/START.

After successfully completing that fall semester, the College Now/START students continue at the University in the same way as all other students. They become degree candidates and select their major from any of the University's programs. (More often than not, College Now/SMART students take five years to receive their degrees.)

An average of 120 students enroll at the University through College Now/START every year. Because of all they have in common, the College Now/START students become a close group, and a source of encouragement and support for one another throughout their stay at the University.

Enrollment is limited, and the program is offered only to students who enter the University in September.

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