Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP)

The Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) is an initiative of the Center for Culture, Equity, and Empowerment (CCEE) created to enhance the recruitment, engagement, and retention of first-generation college students accepted to George Mason University. Our mission is to empower students through academic skills, access to resources, community building, self-discovery, and the global citizenship needed to compete in today’s college environment and beyond.

To participate, students must be Virginia residents accepted and committed to attending George Mason University until graduation.

STEP is divided into two key components: STEP Summer and STEP Academic Year and Beyond.

STEP Summer

Traditionally, STEP Summer is a six week residential program from mid-June to until the late July (of the summer prior to the student’s first fall semester) for selected, first-year George Mason University students. STEP students live on campus during the program (including weekends!), earn three college credits (one class), and build a support network of peers, faculty, and staff prior to the start of their freshman school year.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, STEP 2020 successfully pivoted to an all virtual experience. If summer instruction for Summer 2021 will be administered virtually, STEP Summer 2021 will be virtual in nature and will take place during SUMMER SESSION C (June 14th – July 29th)

STEP Academic Year and Beyond

STEP students who successfully transition from the summer portion continue on as STEP Scholars. STEP Scholars take University (UNIV) 100 together in the fall and participate in ongoing support and programmatic initiatives throughout their time at Mason. Completion of the program allows students to be eligible to apply for the STEP Scholarship

What are the benefits of participating in STEP?

STEP provides students with assistance in their transition to college including, academic preparation, retention, career exploration and empowerment. Once admitted, students receive continuous support through various activities and services.

  1. Students will be divided into groups according to their majors and/or interests. They will be matched with Mentors who will serve as their social coordinator, tutor, and residence hall advisor— during the summer portion of the program.
  2. Students will meet with their assigned Faculty Advisor (Mason faculty/staff) for scheduled one-on-one appointments. They will discuss their academic/interpersonal goals and challenges.
  3. Students will have the opportunity to attend a number of career exploration
    workshops, network, and build their resumé.
  4. Students will take one 3-credit course during the STEP Summer Program, which will help them jumpstart their college career and get acclimated to the rigor of college classes.
  5. Students will benefit from workshops on topics such as financial aid, leadership, study skills, time management, diversity, and community service.
  6. Because STEP is a multi-year program, students will establish a wide network of friends, staff, mentors and future associates.
  7. The numerous components of STEP will give students a head-start in the university community and provide essential resources to build upon their future endeavors.
  8. The memories that you build in the summer portion of STEP will leave a lasting impression during your time here at Mason and beyond.

What are the benefits of participating in STEP?

STEP provides students with assistance in their transition to college including, academic preparation, retention, career exploration and empowerment. Once admitted, students receive continuous support through various activities and services.

  1. Students will be divided into groups according to their majors and/or interests. They will be matched with Mentors who will serve as their social coordinator, tutor, and residence hall advisor— during the summer portion of the program.
  2. Students will meet with their assigned Faculty Advisor (Mason faculty/staff) for scheduled one-on-one appointments. They will discuss their academic/interpersonal goals and challenges.
  3. Students will have the opportunity to attend a number of career exploration
    workshops, network, and build their resumé.
  4. Students will take one 3-credit course during the STEP Summer Program, which will help them jumpstart their college career and get acclimated to the rigor of college classes.
  5. Students will benefit from workshops on topics such as financial aid, leadership, study skills, time management, diversity, and community service.
  6. Because STEP is a multi-year program, students will establish a wide network of friends, staff, mentors and future associates.
  7. The numerous components of STEP will give students a head-start in the university community and provide essential resources to build upon their future endeavors.
  8. The memories that you build in the summer portion of STEP will leave a lasting impression during your time here at Mason and beyond.

Have questions? Contact step@gmu.edu