The Academic component of STEP is designed to orient students to university-level coursework in writing. Additionally, students learn how to use the GauchoSpace system that is used by professors to disseminate assignments and course information during the academic year. STEP writing instructors are from the UCSB Writing Program and also teach the Academic Communities for Excellence (ACE) Writing courses during the academic year. 

Campus Community

Campus community programming serves to introduce our students to various campus resources that are necessary and advantageous to visit throughout the duration of their UCSB careers, such as: the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Billing Accounts Receivable/Cashiers Office (BARC), UCSB Student Health, The Recreation Center, Career Services, College of Letters & Science, College of Engineering, and more. By the time school starts, STEP participants not only know where these departments are, they will have met staff members from these offices and feel more comfortable visiting during the academic year.


Experience group living in an on-campus residence hall with other students, led by the STEP Resident Assistants (RA’s). STEP RA’s are current students that have gone through the residence hall experience. Do you have questions about sharing a room? What is the experience related to showering in the residence halls and dining in the dining halls?! STEP provides a safe space for students to ask these questions and many more related to on-campus living. 

STEP is a closed-cohort program, which means that during the week of STEP, all 175 participants are part of a cohort (or group) that attends all STEP activities either as an entire group or in small groups comprised of other STEP students. This ensures the success and safety of the program as outside visitors are not permitted. This cohort model aids in relationship building as students transition into UCSB life and are building their networks of support. All STEP activities are monitored by EOP staff to ensure the safety of our participants and to make sure this program is a positive experience for all. Due to the closed-cohort nature of the program, it is very common for life-long bonds to be formed during STEP. For example, many participants find their future roommates and close friends at STEP! It is common for STEP students to become leaders on campus and in their residence halls as they are able to share their knowledge and experiences with other students when the fall quarter begins.  


STEP social programming provides an alternative to the typical college social scene. Participants take part in fun, relaxing, and informative activities in which life-long bonds are formed. Continue to build your network of support at such events as: evening spa, beach day, group capture the flag, a UCSB Recreation Center visit, the STEP Showcase (talent show), the STEP Dance, and other events.

STEP 2017 Dance 

STEP Dance 2017

A STEP Transitions Section

STEP Transitions Section

STEP 2017 Beach Hike

STEP Beach Walk

STEP 2016 Residential 

RA Activities

​​​STEP 2014 Welcome

STEP Icebreakers

STEP 2016 exploring new home!

STEPpers at Sunset

STEP 2015 Game Night

Game Night

STEP 2015 soccer match

STEPpers playing soccer