What is STEP?
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.
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. Recruitment for the 2014/2015 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 twenty students as well as their “house”, which is comprised of five cohorts, 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 with faculty members and in larger groups, students 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 of each house (group of five or six faculty). Some meetings will be full house meetings, comprising five or six faculty and the students of each of their cohorts. These meetings will be opportunities to deliver information to you as efficiently as possible. At other times, the meetings will be of your cohort alone. 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, 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. 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 2013/2014 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?
Students should work directly with their STEP Faculty Member if they want to make a change.
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 email@example.com.
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 class ranks is important to a residential community, so STEP will be active on all areas of campus.