Office of Student Life : Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience


STEP Selection Process:

Is there an application?

No. Current first-year students will automatically be signed up for STEP if they complete a housing contract for the 2015/2016 academic year. Students will have the option to opt-out of STEP on the housing contract if they are not interested in participating in the program. Current first-year students who choose to live in a partnering sorority or fraternity house will need to complete the STEP interest form that will be attached to their lease. Current first-year students who choose to live with a parent or close relative will need to contact STEP at or (614) 247-STEP (7837) to request an interest form.

Is it first-come-first-served for the sign-up process?

No. At the end of the contract renewal process participants will be randomly selected from all those who signed up to participate in the program.

Are there minimum requirements for second-year students to participate in STEP?

The only requirements for expressing interest in STEP are committing to live in the residence halls, a partnering sorority and fraternity house or with a parent or close relative for their entire second year (fall and spring semesters) and being in good standing with the university (requires a GPA of 2.0 or higher). For more information on the residence halls, please go to the following link:

How many students will get to participate in STEP next year?

This year we have 1,300 participants, and we definitely intend to increase participation next year, but we are still working on the final number.

When will I find out if I am selected to participate?

We expect to confirm participation by mid-March.

For those not selected, will there be a waiting list in case a previously selected student decides to no longer participate?

A waiting list will be created for those not initially selected to participate in the program. As positions come available, they will be offered according to the randomly sorted waiting list.

What if I have applied to be a Resident Advisor (RA)?

RAs are eligible to participate in STEP. University Housing will contact all RA applicants via e-mail to explain the process for expressing interest in STEP.

Can transfer and campus change students participate in STEP?

Yes. Transfer and campus change students who are entering their second year of college and are within a year of their high school graduation are eligible to participate in STEP.

What qualifies someone as a second year student?

A second year student is considered to be entering their second year of college and is within a year of their high school graduation.

When can I sign up for the program?

Current first-year students will automatically be signed up for STEP if they complete a housing contract for the 2015/2016 academic-year. Students will have the option to opt-out of STEP on the housing contract if they are not interested in participating in the program. The housing renewal period will begin on January 31, 2015, and will end on February 13, 2015.

Who do I contact if I want to cancel my housing contract?

If you need to cancel your housing contract you can contact University Housing at or 614-292-8266.

If I participate in STEP, are there any halls that I cannot live in?

There are no restrictions to where you can live in University Housing with this program except for standard University Housing regulations (i.e. freshman-only buildings).

If I participate in STEP, can I live with my roommate of choice?

You may live with the roommate of choice as long as you both select one another on the housing contract as a preferred roommate. Both/all roommates in a room are not required to participate in STEP.

Program Overview:

What is STEP?

A partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Life, Ohio State’s Second-year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) was developed as a continuation of the university’s effort to redefine the student experience. STEP is designed to focus on student success and development and allows students the opportunity to engage in activities that cater to their individual interests and needs. A central feature of STEP is giving participants the opportunity to engage with faculty outside of the classroom in one-on-one meetings as well as in group settings. During their time together, STEP Faculty Members help students explore unique, education-enriching experiences. Students are also exposed to developmental opportunities that assist in their professional and personal growth, including financial wellness programming. In the 2013/2014 academic year, the program was piloted with 1,000 second-year students who lived in the residence halls and volunteered to be a part of the inaugural class. In the 2014/2015 academic year, the pilot continued with 1,300 second-year students who lived in the residence halls or with a partnering sorority or fraternity. Recruitment for the 2015/2016 STEP class has begun. Click here for a schedule of information sessions.

What are the benefits of this program?

This program is part of the university’s ongoing commitment to redefine the student experience and has been developed to enhance student success, improve student engagement and satisfaction and contribute to post-graduation success.

What will students do all year?

Throughout fall semester, STEP participants meet with their STEP Faculty Member in their “cohort” of approximately twenty students to set personal goals and explore the six educational experiences (Study Abroad, Internships, Undergraduate Research, Service Learning, Leadership, and Artistic and Creative Endeavors). In addition to meeting as a cohort, some faculty will occasionally have their cohort meet in a “house” setting, which is comprised of approximately five cohorts. Furthermore, students have the opportunity to engage in developmental opportunities throughout the year in the areas of financial literacy, information literacy, global citizenship, career preparation and health and wellness. During spring semester, students will work independently and one-on-one with faculty members to create an experience and budget proposal for using the fellowship.

Can you estimate the total amount of time participating in this pilot will take?

In total, students will probably spend about one to two hours per week in STEP activities. During autumn semester, the meeting schedule is determined by the STEP Faculty Member. These meetings can be quite informal and will be opportunities to come to know your STEP faculty and your fellow students well and to have deeper discussions about the progress of your college career and your STEP experience. During spring semester, your meetings will be more flexibly scheduled and may be one-on-one with your STEP Faculty Member, in small groups, or in full cohort.

What are the requirements?

STEP participants are required to meet with their STEP Faculty Member and attend specified meetings and sessions both autumn and spring semesters. In addition, students are required to attend one financial literacy program and three additional developmental programs within the following categories: global citizenship, career exploration/preparation, academic success/information literacy and health and wellness. Students must also successfully complete an experience and a budget proposal that details their use of the fellowship for one of the six educational experiences, which is then subject for review and STEP Faculty approval.

STEP Faculty Members:

Who are the faculty members?

The STEP Faculty Members are part of a specially recruited and selected group who have shown significant commitment to student development and success. For a complete list of the 2014/2015 STEP Faculty, please visit our STEP Faculty page.

Can students choose their faculty member?

No. Students and faculty will be matched based on location and schedule availability.

Will the faculty member be someone affiliated with a student’s major?

Not necessarily. STEP is designed to help students become more comfortable with faculty interaction, in general, and to create networks across disciplines and areas of expertise.

The Six Educational Experiences & Fellowship Funding:

When will students decide on an educational experience and who can help them make a decision?

Students explore the six educational experiences with their STEP Faculty Member throughout fall semester and will work on their proposals in spring. STEP Faculty Members will support students throughout this process.

After a student makes a decision, is there any possibility of changing the chosen activity?

Once their proposal has been submitted, students should work directly with Vicki Pitstick in the STEP Office if they want to make a change. Students can reach Vicki at or (614) 292-5732.

When am I eligible to use my STEP funds?

The funds are available to you to support the completion of your project during the year after your STEP participation, beginning on the day after the end of spring semester and continuing until classes begin fifteen months later (approximately August 15). You are not eligible to receive STEP funds if you graduate immediately after completing your STEP participation. If you graduate during the year following your STEP participation, your project must be completed, the funds must be expended, and you must have reported back to the OSU community before you graduate. Otherwise, the money provided to you will be billed to you and must be paid back before you receive your diploma.

How much funding will I receive for completing this program?

Students who fully complete the program requirements will receive a fellowship of up to $2,000 to use toward their chosen educational experience, pending Student Financial Aid review and STEP Faculty approval.

Are there rules with how I can spend the money?

Students should apply the fellowship toward the costs of their chosen and proposed educational experience.

Will the fellowship affect my financial aid package?

In most cases, the fellowship should not affect a student’s financial aid package. Exceptions would be for students who receive fully funded scholarship packages. Students with questions about their financial aid situation should contact the STEP team at

Two-Year On-Campus Residency Requirement:

When will the two-year on-campus residency requirement go into effect?

Ohio State’s two-year live-in requirement will go into effect in Autumn 2016 (this will affect students who will be second-year students as of Autumn 2016).

Will all second-year students live on north campus?

No. Peer interaction among students is important to a residential community, so second-year students will reside on all areas of campus.