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 STEP Frequently Asked Questions

About STEP

The Summer Transition Enrichment Program is a seven-week residential academy for select multicultural and first-generation incoming first-year students. While the entire campus is involved with STEP, the Center for Diversity & Inclusion manages the program. STEP introduces students to the AU community and helps them transition into college life.

Participation in STEP is determined by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The Admissions staff recommends students for STEP based on the indications within a student's application that they can succeed at AU. They require that these students undergo supplemental instruction to prepare them for the transition to college. 

The typical size of a STEP cohort is between 30 and 40 students.

Participation in STEP is by invitation from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. The Admissions staff invites students for STEP based on the indications within a student's application that they can succeed at AU.

We strongly suggest students not to work during STEP. The program is academic in nature and demands much attention. Taking on more commitments would present a challenge for students. Over the course of the program, students will be connected to potential on-campus employers for the school year.

Cost of Program

Each STEP student receives financial support to cover most costs during the seven weeks of the program. Covered costs include: 

  • tuition for summer classes (up to three credits after meeting with your academic advisor) 
  • books 
  • housing (on-campus housing is mandatory for all participants, visit the Housing, Dining, & Transportation section to learn more) 
  • meal plan (meal swipes and EagleBucks)  
  • on-campus tutoring and access to other campus academic support services workshops and university-sponsored extracurricular activities use of AU's academic, athletic, and recreational facilities

Students will be responsible for some meals, transportation, and pesonal expenses while attending STEP.

Students are encouraged to resolve any outstanding issues with a Financial Aid counselor before arriving at AU for STEP. STEP students will have time to connect with the Financial Aid Office to discuss their aid packages for the year if necessay. Email with any questions that you may have about that process.

Arrival & Departure

All requests must be submitted to the Center for Diversity & Inclusion via e-mail at or phone (202-885-3651).

All health insurance and immunization forms should be submitted to the Student Health Center prior to arriving to campus for STEP.

You must have health insurance to participate in STEP. You may either enroll in the AU STudent Health Insurance Plan or use a plan of your choice. Students with non-AU insurance should bring a copy of their insurance card. Click here to learn more about student insurance requirements and contact with any questions or concerns.

Housing, Dining, & Transportation

Students are required to live in university residence halls during STEP. Undergraduate STEP Assistants also live in the halls to assist students in their transition to AU and to safely create a living and learning environment comparable to what students will encounter during the academic year.

Rooms are equipped with standard twin sized bed, desk with chair, bookcase, Ethernet hookup, and built-in storage cabinets and closets. Rooms are equipped with telephone connections for on-campus service, cable television, and internet access (both wired and wireless). Most residence halls have kitchens on each floor.

Roommates are paired based on interests, hobbies, sleeping habits, and extracurricular activities, which students share on the STEP Registration Form. You will receive your room assignment by early June along with other important check-in information.

Students should bring personal items, such as an alarm clock, a desk lamp, hangers, an iron, linens, pillows, a radio, toiletries, towels, and shower shoes.

Students will be provided with EagleBucks for the seven weeks of the program. EagleBucks are credit on the student's ID card, which can be used at various on-campus dining facilities, as well as at several off-campus dining vendors. Visit Dining Programs for more information on campus dining options.

The AU shuttle offers free, easy access to Metro (the Washington Metropolitan Area subway system) and nearby grocery stores and restaurants.

Schedule & Activities

AU’s student orientation is designed to welcome new students and their families to AU. In addition to meeting with your advisor and finalizing your course schedule, you will become familiar with the campus, learn more about the programs offered, and build friendships with other incoming AU students.

Students will complete two courses during the summer program. Each student will take Writing 025: Pre-College Writing, a 0-Credit pass/fail course. Each student will also take an additional graded 3-credit course. Many students take a mathematics course, depending on availability and placement scores. Students will work with their academic advisor to register for courses. Textbooks will be distributed after all students have registered for their summer coursework.

In addition to the math (or other) courses/s, dependingon your academic advising appointment, STEP students will take a mandatory college writing seminar. This class is a crucial bridge between high school and college-level writing. It is a supplement to the two-course College Writing sequence that all incoming first-year students at AU must take to meet the university writing requirements. Past STEP participants say that this seminar was "eye-opening;" it helped them to learn about writing expectations in college.

STEP students will also participate in various workshops and seminars. These sessions will connect students to resources at AU, build a stronger community among the STEP cohort, and help students to develop strategies for their academic, personal, and career development.

STEP students participate in a community service project and a variety of activities, some of which they develop and implement themselves. Past cohorts have staged talent showcases, visited DC landmarks (such as the Newseum and Capitol Hill), hosted a community dinner, and more. There will be occasional weekend and evening programs. We hope that the students will take advantage of these opportunities as they help to build a strong and supportive community that lasts well beyond the seven-week program.

You can look over one schedule from July 2023 as a sample.  Please note that dates, events, and programs of this year's program will vary. More information will be sent to STEP students.

More Questions?

If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please contact the Center for Diversity & Inclusion at We look forward to welcoming you to campus and getting to know you this summer. Congratulations once again on your admission to American University!