Student Transition Empowerment Program

The Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) is an initiative in the Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education office 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 includes two key components–STEP Summer and STEP Academic Year. STEP Summer is a six and a half week residential program from Wednesday, June 21st to Saturday, August 5th (including weekends) for selected, first-year George Mason University students. STEP students earn six credits (two classes), have exposure to living on campus, and build a support network of peers, faculty, and staff prior to the start of their freshman school year.

STEP students who successfully transition from the summer portion continue on as STEP Scholars. STEP Scholars take UNIV 100 together in the fall and participate in ongoing support and programmatic initiatives throughout their time at Mason.


Application Process

First-generation college students who have been accepted to Mason are strongly encouraged to apply to STEP.
Before completing the application, please read the the items below:

Please read the Expectations of Commitment by clicking here.

Essay Questions
In the application form you will be asked to upload one document that answers the questions below. Please answer all four questions completely, with a minimum of 250 words for each question . You are not able to save the application and return to upload your document. We recommend that you complete the essay questions in a Word (doc., docx) or PDF document prior to beginning the application.

  1. Why do you want to attend George Mason University?
  2. If selected, how would you benefit from the STEP program, and how will it help you succeed in college – academically, socially, and as an individual at Mason?
  3. Give an examples of how you achieved an (1) academic goal and a (2) personal goal. Describe how you motivated yourself to accomplish these goals?
  4. What does diversity and social justice mean to you?

As a part of the application process, we require two recommendations. Recommendation forms are considered a part of the student application. Only complete applications will be considered. All forms must be submitted online below. You must submit two (2) recommendations.


Priority Deadline: Friday, April 14th; Students who apply by this deadline receive priority consideration.

Final Deadline: Sunday, April 30th by 11:59pm; No applications or recommendations will be accepted after this date.

Applications are now closed & in review.

Updated on Friday, November 4th, 2016

STEP Promotional Video