SAEO Scholars Transition Program 

The SAEO Scholars program at VCU is designed to prepare incoming students for the transition to university life through various academic, social, and campus resources and support. Students who enroll in SAEO Scholars will participate in four different components; Smart Start, UNIV 191, Learning Specialist Support, and Empower Hour. This program is free and open to incoming VCU freshmen registering with SAEO.

The application to become a 2024 SAEO Scholar is open and be available here: 


Smart Start: 

Smart Start is a dedicated transition program that occurs prior to move-in. SAEO Scholars will meet and get to know other new and returning students, as well as many VCU faculty and staff members during one virtual meet-and-greet during the summer and two half-day sessions just prior to move in. There will be workshops for students and families on understanding the differences between accommodations in high school and college, as well as individual sessions on topics including getting to know campus resources and working with faculty members. Students can also attend workshops on a variety of topics, including developing self-advocacy skills, utilizing accommodations, and assistive technology. 

UNIV 191: 

SAEO Scholars will be enrolled in 1-credit course during their first semester. UNIV 191 will provide a setting in which participants will, through direction and feedback, continue to hone their unique skills as new members of the VCU community. We will focus on the development and growth of various skills related to academics, social interactions, how to utilize accommodations, and self-advocacy. The course will also help students develop a support system of resources and techniques that aid in reducing the barriers that are often common in traditional learning programs. 

Learning Support Program: 

SAEO Scholars will also have access to individualized meetings with our learning specialists. Learning Specialists are specifically trained to work with students on a variety of academic skills that are essential to success, including effective organization, goal setting, time management, and meeting course expectations. 

Empower Hour: 

Students will have the opportunity to meet in a group setting twice a month with peers and a dedicated member of the SAEO team. These meetings will focus on specific topics relating to student needs/interests. SAEO Scholars will have the opportunity to craft this experience together.