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Student Access and Retention Initiative

The Women’s Resource Center has been sponsoring students for over 10 years as a part of our initiative to recruit, retain and graduate underserved students. The Women’s Resource Center specializes in supporting first generation students, students of color, refugee and immigrant students, survivors of violence, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. U START collaborates with the Gender Studies Department, University College, Bryant Middle School and various other entities on campus, in order to support students in a holistic way.

Through a two-year cohort model, the U START Gender Justice Scholars program provides a solid start for students who need specialized support as they begin their student career. The program is designed to provide access, continuity, options for major exploration and to keep students on target for graduation. We do this through individual mentorship, University College academic advising, and a service-learning component through the Gender Studies Department, all in the first year. By co-constructing a space where students can effectively connect to campus and begin formulating what their next steps will be, we ensure the tools from the first year are continued in the students second year at the U. 

In the second year students participate in a hybrid classroom that integrates & effectively connects students with their futures at the U. In the course students take interest and career inventories, participate in educational values assessments, engage in career/major research, and continue service learning opportunities. 

In addition, the program is coordinated by a Women’s Resource Center staff who also serves as a student advocate & liaison in case other needs may arise. Every year we support students with additional resources such as access to individual counseling, tutoring vouchers, book stipends, connections to food pantries, etc. in addition to non-traditional student’s support that has included child-care assistance, among other things. If you are seeking sponsorship by the Women’s Resource Center and have been denied admittance in to the University of Utah, please refer to the University of Utah’s Admissions website to apply for an appeal.

If you have submitted an appeal and would like to set up an interview with the Women’s Resource Center, please Contact Flor Olivo to schedule an interview or call 801-581-8030.

Program Requirements

Q & A

Program Requirements
U START Gender Justic Scholars  2016-2018

As a Women’s Resource Center U START Gender Justice Scholar student, we take very seriously your personal success at The University of Utah. We are invested in the students we serve and seek to provide a variety of services to ensure your success at The University of Utah. 


  • You are responsible for checking your UMAIL email account provided to you by The University of Utah. This is the most consistent way of tracking anyone who is affiliated with The University of Utah and will be the primary way in which you will be contacted by the Women’s Resource Center with information concerning educational, scholarship or financial opportunities.
  • We also expect that you will respond to any information that requires a response in a timely manner. Should you not communicate in the time frame indicated, we will assume that you are not interested in working with the WRC and will inform Admissions that while you are attending the University, we are not actively supporting you and your admission may be reovoked or suspended. For more information on your UMAIL account, please visit
  • You are responsible for keeping your contact information current with Flor Olivo, her email is Flor will be working with you directly and you are encouraged to contact her for any assistance needed.

GPA Requirements:

  • Now that you are admitted to The University of Utah you are expected to maintain the same GPA that all students are expected to maintain. We expect you to notify us of your semester GPA. This will allow us to help you if you find yourself struggling academically.
  • There are tutoring opportunities available to you through the WRC. Check in with us to determine whether tutoring will aid you in your class performance. We will assist you with finding a tutor.
  • The U START students will be required to sign a contract agreeing to meet all of the WRC Program Guidelines.

Attend General Orientation and U START Orientation:

Academic Advising through University College:

We have made specific arrangements with University College to have all of our students be advised by assigned advisors. DO NOT declare a major your first year at The University of Utah. The University College Advisors are aware of your sponsored student status and that you are working with the WRC. Again, this is our effort to keep you surrounded by support here at The University of Utah. You will be assigned to an academic advisor and be notified at the U START Orientation of your advisor assignmentYou are required to schedule and attend one-on-one advising meetings three times each semester. 

Attend Required Classes

  • GNDR 2500 “Here I Stand: An Intro to Gender Studies”: Fall 2016, T/Th 10:45a-12:05p
      • This course is an interdisciplinary investigation of the social, political, economic, and historical context of schooling for students in U.S. K-12 and higher educational systems who are/have been minoritized due to their gender and/or sexuality. Students will be introduced to concepts, theories, and skills that will provide opportunities to consider the educational experiences and realities of women and LGBTQ students. The class will also take up experiences of women and LGBTQ people in social institutions that are connected to educational systems such as healthcare, family, politics, media, and work. A vital component of the course will be to consider the way that intersectionality unfolds in the lives of women and LGBTQ people, therefore, race, class, age, ability, religion, and citizenship status will be considered throughout the course. **This course meets The University of Utah general education diversity requirement.
  • GNDR 3500 “Where We Stand: Social Science on Gender and Youth”: Spring 2017, T/Th 10:45a-12:05p
      • In this course, we will draw from a wide variety of texts to critically examine and reflect on the social, political, economic, and historic context of young people's lives. We will pay particular attention to the ways that young people's lives are shaped by their gender, race, class, sexuality, gender identity, immigration status, and abilities. We will read, use, and think critically about social science theory, methods, and research findings, and apply this learning to a community engaged learning project. In this project you will facilitate workshops with kids participating in afterschool programming at Neighborhood House. With them, we will critically examine and work to thoughtfully respond to inequities, challenges, and opportunities that the kids face in their daily lives.
  • UGS 3001 Establish a Plan for Success + Completion: Fall 2017, T/Th 10:45a-12:05p
    • This course is designed for students who are participating in the UStart Program. It is an opportunity for students to explore themselves, their curricular and extra-curricular options at the University of Utah to establish a plan for degree completion and personal success. Students will engage in a decision making process and planning activities that includes self assessment, evaluation of majors and careers, and consideration of extra-curricular opportunities. The course will conclude with each student presenting their independent degree plan and a timeline for accomplishing various goals.


U START seeks to provide its’ students with holistic support as you are experiencing The University of Utah. You will be paired up with a Women’s Resource Center mentor at Orientation that you will connect with regularly, and participate in monthly meetings to talk about your University experience and get support in a variety of ways.  You are required to meet with your Mentor weekly the first year and monthly the second year. 

Program Requirements Summary:

  • Enroll and participate in the gender justice scholars program.
  • Schedule and attend regular one-on-one advising meetings with an assigned University College Academic Advisor to track progress and ensure success. (3 every semester)
  • Meet regularly with an assigned WRC mentor. (weekly for 1st year, monthly for 2nd year)
  • Attend UStart/Gender Justice Scholars orientation in the fall.
  • Enroll and participate in three mandatory courses associated with the program: Gender Studies 2500 (Fall), Gender Studies 3500 (Spring) & UGS 3001 (2nd Year, Fall)
  • Enroll and participate in the gender justice scholars program fall.
  • Participate in a year-long service learning experience associated with the program.
  • Meet regularly with faculty associated with the program.
  • Access to scheduled tutoring (optional)

Q & A

Does the Women’s Resource Center Sponsor men?

Yes we do!

What does it mean to be sponsored?

Sponsored students are admitted under the University’s 5% policy, which allows for 5% of any incoming class to be comprised of students who do not meet the initial admission criteria.

Can two departments sponsor me?

No, two offices cannot sponsor you.

Can I participate in only part of the U START Program?

No. You are required to commit to the whole program. Each aspect of U START is integral to your success.

What are the requirements of the U START Program?

You can learn more about our requirements by visiting our Program Requirements section.

Do I qualify for sponsorship through U START?

Many factors contribute to our decision when sponsoring students, please be as detailed as possible when completing your appeal application. The more information we have, the easier it is for us to make a decision.  

How can I increase my chances of being sponsored by U START?

In your appeal, it is important to present yourself professionally. Start by typing up your responses rather than turning in hand-written work. You should list any life experiences that may have impacted your educational performance and anything else you would like us to know about you.

Does U START Sponsor students for Spring Semester?

Because we are a 2 year cohort program, we only sponsor transfer students in spring semester, with 60 or more units.

How do I ensure that the Women’s Resource Center will receive my file for sponsorship consideration?

On the appeal application you will be able to select up to three Sponsoring Departments. Make sure to list the Women’s Resource Center, and if we are your # 1 choice, please mark it as so.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the appeal process?

You can contact Flor Olivo at or 801-581-8030 for program specific information, or you can contact Admissions directly at or 801-581-8761.

How do I check on the status of my application or appeal?

Each day, you should check the email you listed on your appeal application. Be sure to check your spam and junk mail files as well. The Office of Admissions will send out important emails regarding your appeal and will notify you if you have any missing information or incomplete files. You can track the status of your appeals online at or by calling the admission office directly at 801.581.7281.


Contact Us

A. Ray Olpin Union
200 S. Central Campus Dr
Room 411
Salt Lake City, UT 84112



Monday - Friday 8:00am–5:00pm
Closed Tuesday 9:00am–11:00am (Fall/Spring Semester)
Closed Tuesday 10:00am-12:00pm (Summer Semester)

Closed in observance of all state and federal holidays.


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Last Updated: 5/8/18