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Online Experiences for Smith Scholars (ONEXSS) participants receive access to a wealth of online content, including videos, real-time discussions with other ONEXSS students, advice and mentoring from the current Smith students who serve as ONEXSS coaches, and a variety of problem sets, quizzes and other assessments to help them enhance their transition to Smith in the fall. The quantitative concepts and skills covered in ONEXSS are utilized across disciplines in Smith’s curriculum—ranging from economics to chemistry.

The ONEXSS Experience

ONEXSS provides a cohort of incoming Smith students with the opportunity to prepare for quantitative study at Smith and get an inside scoop about on-campus living before arriving on campus in the fall.

Students in any of the fields listed below are required or recommended to take calculus at Smith. ONEXSS introduces students to the academic rigor and methods of quantitative study in college. The ONEXSS experience is completely online, with all content at your fingertips once the program launches. Additionally, you will be able to access ONEXSS material during your first semester at Smith.

Majors that require or recommend calculus at Smith:

  • Astronomy
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Environmental Science and Policy
  • Geology
  • Math
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Statistical and Data Science

Regardless of their major, students preparing for medical professions are required to take calculus.

ONEXSS allows students to chart their progress in a risk-free, learning-oriented environment by collecting badges for various accomplishments—there are no grades. A student’s performance on the quizzes and problem sets in ONEXSS will have no impact on their academic standing at Smith, and serves purely as a way to evaluate and improve their preparation for the for-credit courses they will take in the fall. The results will not be evaluated for course placement; you should consult a math professor at Smith to figure out the best math course for you.

Below is a preview of the types of lectures you can expect to encounter throughout the ONEXSS program.

ONEXSS is not only an academic program, but also a social one. Your coach will have group meetings where you can interact with your peers online before you get to campus. ONEXSS participants will have access to their coaches to ask those burning Smith questions before the semester kicks off. Some of your questions may include the best ‘tips and tricks’ at Smith, or even a “What I wish I knew when I started Smith” discussion with your coaches.

How Does it Work?

ONEXSS will begin in late-June and conclude by mid-August. It will include both synchronous and asynchronous elements; content videos and modules will be available for consumption at a student’s own pace, but will be supplemented by pre-arranged, real-time discussions with coaches and other students via video conferencing platforms. ONEXSS students can expect to devote between 5 and 10 hours a week to the program while it is underway, but should feel comfortable registering for the program while pursuing other responsibilities such as summer jobs, research, and athletic competitions.


Your coaches will provide insight into their own Smith experiences, both academically and socially, and answer all your burning questions in the two-week lead-up to the program’s official start date. You’ll also have a chance to get to know your small group members and discuss everything from your house assignments to how to use office hours before the math component of the course begins!

Sample Week

Every module in ONEXSS will be different, depending on the content taught and your relationship with your small group and coaches, but you should expect to do the following over the course of each week:

  • Watch short, content-based videos created by Professor Jim Rolf
  • Complete short online quizzes/problem sets to assess your understanding of the videos
  • Communicate with your team and coach as a group
  • Discuss concepts with your peers
  • Communicate with your coaches one-on-one (as needed)
  • Work on challenging problems involving math in physics, economics, biology, chemistry, etc. with your peers and coaches

Although some elements—such as the videos and quizzes—will be regular features and can be completed at your own individual pace, you and your teammates will be responsible for creating your own meeting schedule and team culture, and can communicate whenever and as frequently as the group decides.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ONEXSS?
Online Experiences for Smith Scholars (ONEXSS) is an online summer program that provides quantitative instruction for incoming first-year students. ONEXSS allows students to prepare for the rigors of quantitative study without leaving their homes or giving up valuable summer jobs, research opportunities, athletic competitions, or other pursuits. It is an experimental, cutting-edge program designed for experimental, cutting-edge scholars, and will accelerate your academic transition to Smith and provide you with access to a supportive group of peers and mentors before you ever set foot on campus!

What will I learn in ONEXSS?
You will learn some math, that’s for sure. But you are going to learn more than that. You are going to be talking to people starting at Smith, just like yourself. You will be talking to coaches who understand what it takes to succeed at Smith. And you will have the chance to interact with some Smith professors. The bottom line is that you are going to learn a lot about yourself and how to make it at Smith. It’s more than just math!

How is the program structured?
Every week you will be watching videos that will introduce a different topic. These topics may be something you’ve seen before. After the video, you will practice what you saw by doing some problems online. These problems will be similar to what you might see when you take introductory chemistry, physics, or economics course. We’re going to challenge you! But we’re also going to provide a lot of support. We will have a network of coaches that will meet with you every week online and work to help you out when you get stuck.

Where does ONEXSS meet? Do I need to travel?
ONEXSS participants and coaches meet online! From the kickoff event all the way to the last module, you will be meeting with your coaches and peers online in the tools and platforms Smith provides to you. There is no travel involved, and you can complete this program right from your kitchen table, favorite spot at the library or wherever you have internet access!

When does the class meet?
Your ONEXSS coach will schedule your meeting time when it is most convenient for your group.

Will I receive academic credit for ONEXSS?
Nope. This is play purely for the “love of the game.”

What are the technical requirements?
Internet access and a computer or tablet with a webcam.

When does ONEXSS start and end?
We will start informally in mid-June. But things will heat up end of June when we unveil the first piece of math content. We will wrap things up by mid-August. ONEXSS students can expect to devote between 5 and 10 hours a week to the program while it is underway.

How much does ONEXSS cost?
Smith is completely covering the cost so ONEXSS is free for you—you just need a computer and internet access to engage with your professor and peers!

Contact Spinelli Center for Quantitative Learning

Seelye Hall 207
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063