Student Transition Empowerment Program

Student Transition Empowerment Program

The Student Transition Empowerment Program (STEP) is an initiative in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education (ODIME) + Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Resources 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:

  1. STEP Summer: STEP Summer is a six week residential program from Sunday June 16th to Saturday July 27th, 2019 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; and
  2. STEP Academic Year: STEP students who successfully transition from the summer portion continue on as STEP Scholars. STEP Scholars take University (UNIV) 100 togetherin the fall and participate in ongoing support and programmatic initiatives throughout their time at Mason.

Application Requirements:

Students are eligible to apply to STEP if they meet the following criteria:

  • Be accepted into and plan to attend George Mason University as a Freshman for Fall 2019;
  • Be a Virginia resident;
  • Qualify for in-state tuition;
  • Be a first‐time first‐year student;
  • Be a first-generation college student, meaning your parent(s)/guardian(s): (1) did not receive or complete any level of post‐secondary education, (2) enrolled at or earned a two‐year degree from a community college, and/or (3) earned any level of post‐secondary education outside the United States. These students may have older siblings who have completed a degree; and
  • Earned a 2.75 GPA or higher in high school

Application Process

To apply, students should follow these steps:

  • Read, understand, and agree to the Program Requirements, which can be found here.
  • Complete the application form
  • Complete one letter of recommendation. The form can be found here


*Please note: The application will include the following essay questions.  It is recommended that you prepare your responses prior to beginning the application.  Please keep the responses to each question under 500 words.

  1. Why is obtaining a college degree important to you? How can the STEP program be beneficial to you in achieving this and other personal goals?
  2. Give an example of how you achieved an academic goal. Describe how you motivated yourself to accomplish this goal.
  3. In your own words, what does social justice mean to you?
  4. Is there anything else you would like for us to consider in your application?


Application Deadlines

Priority Deadline:       Monday, April 15th,  2019 by 11:59 pm; Students who apply by this deadline receive priority consideration.

Final Deadline:           Monday, May 6th, 2019 by 12:00 pm; No applications or recommendations will be accepted after this date.


Updated on Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

STEP Promotional Video