What is the Start Smart Program?

Negotiating salaries is a challenge for all students, at all stages of their careers, especially women, since women are less likely than men to ask for what they deserve. The Start Smart campus program of the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education and equity for women in the workforce.

At the University of South Carolina, the Student Success Center & Graduate School have partnered to offer workshops to the Undergraduate, Graduate, and Faculty/Staff community. Workshops are available by request for special organizations, programs or events. Additionally, there will be at least 1 workshop each semester open to any attendees. 

Start Smart Workshop Description

Start Smart salary negotiation workshops empower college women who are starting their careers to overcome the gender wage gap.  These workshops can be tailored to a broader audience as well, to provide men and women, graduate and undergraduate students who are approaching the job market knowledge and skills to negotiate salaries and benefits so that they receive fair and realistic compensation.

Start Smart covers the following topics in a two-hour workshop:

  • The personal consequences of the gender wage gap and what a $1 million loss means over one’s working life
  • Resources for benchmarking reasonable salaries and benefits, including salary ranges, the impact of market realities on salaries, and how to compare skills and accomplishments to target a realistic salary range
  • Negotiation skills that teach women how to aim high and be realistic, including practice through role play
  • Recognizing your bottom line by developing a bare-bones budget to pay rent, buy groceries, repay student loans, and other basic expenses